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Grand Ambition

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  323 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Lisa Michaels enthralling novel weaves the tale of two young newlyweds, Glen and Bessie Hyde, who set out in 1928 to run the rapids of the Grand Canyon. The pair hope to set a record: Bessie would be the first woman to negotiate the treacherous stretch of the Colorado River. When they failed to appear at their destination on time, Glen's father mounted a desperate search t ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 18th 2002 by Sceptre (first published June 1st 2001)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Imagined last days of a real life water rafting couple, husband and wife, the build up to the terror is well-done.

This is a novel based on a real young, married couple who wanted to go down the entire grand canyon before the damn was built--and she was the first woman to ever attempt to go through this. There are two main POVs--one is the man's dad and the other is the couple's (sometimes each of them, so in a sense you could say 3 POVs). The writing is quite good--I liked the one for the couple's better, but I wish I had done a bit more checking on the real couple first. That said, if you are looking for a
Steven Howes
Not exactly the page-turner I expected it to be; but an interesting read nonetheless. This historical novel is based on the true story of Glen and Bessie Hyde, a newly-wed couple who attempted to traverse the Green and Colorado Rivers through the Grand Canyon during the fall and winter of 1928. Those who are familiar with the story know they disappeared and their bodies were never found although their homemade sweep scow was found intact along with their supplies. As typical with events not easi ...more
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon?

We visited it several years ago. It’s just so … huge, and yes …. grand. All formed by water rushing through over years and years. WAY down, at the bottom of the canyon, is a river. The Colorado River doesn’t look like much from up on the rim, but it is quite tempestuous in spots. Over the years, people have tried to make a journey along the Colorado. Apparently, it’s not exactly a lazy river.

Back in 1928, Glen and Bessie Hyde were just married. As a honeymo
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing amount of research by the daughter of hippies (“Split: a counterculture childhood”) produced the amazing story of Glen and Bessie Hyde, honeymooners who floated down the Grand Canyon in 1928. It’s an adventure story and a love story. It excels as both in the hands of Lisa Michaels.

Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middling
One of the first things that struck me about this book was the massive changes that have taken place in our society since 1928. When it comes to adventuring we have instant communication, sophisticated transport, space age clothing and tools and things such as GPS and locator beacons for when things go awry. How different things were in raw and real things become when death is so close.

I appreciated the authors ability to describe time and relationships. I especially liked her descrip
Pamela ciccolini
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still enthralled with the Grand Canyon after a recent visit I have searched for all kinds of information about this Great Natural wonder and discovered this historical fiction which I thoroughly enjoyed! I felt as if I was there on the Colorado River traversing the rapids with them. I couldn't imagine the courage, strength and trust this couple must have had in each other to begin such an undertaking. Told as in the view point of the couple themselves, Glen and Bessie Hyde who leave on their hon ...more
Gail Kittleson
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adventure seekers
Recommended to Gail by: a friend
This story takes us deep into the heart of the untamed Grand Canyon, and also into the turmoil of youth. The heroine, young Bessie, has a risk-taking nature we both applaud and mourn. Like the writer of Ecclesiastes, this author reveals the joys and dire consequences of "seizing the day." But through it all, she stays true to what remains of the historical record. ...more
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! My book club read this although I didn't want to read it, I ended up being quite pleasantly surprised! We also read "Sunk Without A Sound" (a non-fiction 're-enactment' of the same trip. Great companions! ...more
Lori Borg
I really enjoyed this book. The author wove character development, adventure and suspense within a great story. I recommend it!
In November of 1928, newlyweds Glen and Bessie Hyde began their grand adventure rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. In their homemade 'scow' they fought the rapids, the weather, the cold temperatures but were singularly minded to accomplish their ambitious task. Arriving in Needles, California, at the end of their journey would make Bessie the first woman to run the rapids through the canyon. At that time in America the press was ravenous to have stories of 'firsts'. Lindbergh w ...more
Miechelle Van kampen
I picked this up in a charity shop and had fairly low expectations. What a surprise. Based on the true story of a young couple attempting to run the entirety of the Grand Canyon on a home-made boat, it effectively uses flashbacks to round out the characters. Really well written, with attention to detail and suspense.
Angie Cory
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Adventure with No End

This book is beautifully written with memorable passages. The character structure leads the reader to befriend Bessie and Glen. The description of the rapids, canyon and camps paint the picture Bessie didn't.
Merry Rassman
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pleasantly surprised. This was a good read. Good history. Good perspective on women’s issues in the 1920’s. Adventure, romance, builds tension to the conclusion. The story is created around the true story of Glen and Bessie Hyde’s adventure running the rapids in the Grand Canyon.
Fascinating slice of historical fiction, especially if you have experience or an interest in river expeditions.
Denise Henry
Aug 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story. Kindle version needs a bit of editing for punctuation.
Sep 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read! Borrowed from a friend, who hasn't even yet read it herself. I told her she needs too!

Based on a true story with a few known facts of two young newlywed's attempt to run the rapids of the Grand Canyon on their honeymoon in 1928. Bessie Hyde was to be the first woman to ever attempt the expedition.

The author does a wonderful job of adding and filling in so effortlessly with believable accounts to the rest of what wasn't written in Bessie's journal, and from her research of their
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In 1928, a young couple sets off on a wooden boat down the Green and Colorado River, in an effort to set a record - Bessie would be the first woman to run that stretch of river at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Esp for the times, Bessie had an action packed life in her short twenty odd years. She eloped w/ her high school sweetheart. She left him to enroll in art school in San Francisco. He sent her money for an "operation" (why would this be part of public record? Did Earl tell the press? Was i
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story of fiction written about the actual historical true events surrounding Bessie and Glen Hyde's 1928 attempt at running the rapids of the Grand Canyon as their honeymoon trip. They set out to set records for the first women to make the run of the rapids and even at a record speed as well. The story is interwoven with the search for the two by Glen's father Reith Hyde, the search by a military airplane, searchers on foot and two in a boat running the river as well. It has a couple of pictur ...more
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Until I read this book, I had never heard of Glen and Bessie Hyde. Now, I feel as though they were my very good friends whose mysterious departure from this life leaves me deeply saddened.

Although the book "Grand Ambition" is a work of fiction, it is built upon the actual adventure of these two young people who undertook an incredible journey - to travel the Colorado River in a home-made boat, i.e. a scow. They never finished the journey alive, although all their possessions were later discover
Aug 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
This is a fictional account of a real couple's honeymoon adventure down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in the late 1920s. Their names were Glen & Bessie Hyde. I Googled their names and discovered that the author, Lisa Michaels, was quite accurate in her story with the facts that are out there. It would be very easy to give away too much information here and spoil the book for other readers, so I won't. I'll just say that I couldn't put the book down...I really wanted to know what ha ...more
Mar 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: past-great-reads
I read this book some time ago, but it has stuck with me for several years. This is a fictionalized account of the real life couple, Glen and Bessie Hyde, who on their honeymoon in 1928, began a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. I don't want to give the story away, but Bessie was the first woman to attempt this trip. I found this book mesmerizing, with the rich detail about the roaring rapids, the twists and turns of the river, the canyon walls, and the nightly campfir ...more
I liked the interweaving of stories, of Bessie and Glen's journey, of Bessie's past, and Reith's attempt to find them. I like that Michaels has taken the bare bones of history and made a novel out of them. But her style is too languid, too literary, maybe, for my liking. The descriptions are lovely, but they feel more like pastel paintings on a wall rather than the visceral Colorado River. The characters likewise seem like people in a book, not people whose blood pounds and whose breath catches ...more
Feb 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. The author took a real-life unsolved mystery and ran with it. The descriptions of the canyon and shooting the rapids were just great. I also liked the two photos included. The one at the beginning, as they were just about to launch their scow showed them as somewhat cocky, adventurous. The last photo, taken by the last person to see them alive, is quite telling, especially the look on Bessie's face. ...more
Read this book for book club and loved it. Sad because you know the ending. At this point well likely never know what happened to them. I remember this story from the old Unsolved Mysteries show. This book is a fictionalized account of their story.
"Glen and Bessie Hyde were newlyweds who disappeared while attempting to run the rapids of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon, Arizona in 1928. Had they succeeded, Bessie would have been the first documented woman in history to do so."
Melissa Jill
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great mysterious adventure story about a couple who rafted the Grand Canyon in the 20s for their honeymoon in an attempt to set a record. I enjoyed how the book went back and forth between the couples' viewpoint and Glen's father's as he searched for them. Well written and engaging. I only wish we knew what happened! ...more
Charles M.
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Based on the real life adventure of Gus and Bessie Hyde, who sought to become the frirst couple to travel down the Coloardo River through the Grand Canyon during 1928. The Hyde's boat was recovered near the end of the river, but the couple's whereabouts were never found. fast paced and edge of your seat story; makes for great reading! ...more
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Loved this book -- found myself thinking about it during the day & looked forward to getting back to it at night. I will be rafting the Grand Canyon this summer, and found myself imagining the journey though the Hydes eyes. Will read it again after my trip!
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well-written account of a harrowing trip through the Grand Canyon in the 1920's. The author constructs a fluid and richly detailed narrative of the life of two young people seeking to find themselves. ...more
Ann Warner
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story that stuck with me long after I finished it, about newlyweds who go down the Grand Canyon and disappear. That part is based on fact. Michaels re-imagines that story and presents it as compelling fiction. Wonderful writing.
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Play Book Tag: (Poll Ballot) Grand Ambition by Lisa Michaels - 4 stars 1 7 Feb 29, 2020 10:42AM  

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