Thursday, December 29, 2016

Circling the Sun

Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis:  This powerful novel transports readers to the breathtaking world of Out of Africa-1920s Kenya-and reveals the extraordinary adventures of Beryl Markham, a woman before her time.  Brought to Kenya from England by pioneering parents dreaming of a new life on an African farm, Beryl is raised unconventionally, developing a fierce will and a love of all things wild.  But after everything she knows and trusts dissolves, headstrong young Beryl is flung into a string of disastrous relationships, then becomes caught up in a passionate love triangle with the irresistible safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and the writer Baroness Karen Blixen.  Brave and audacious and contradictory, Beryl will risk everything to have Denys's love, but it's ultimately her own heart she must conquer to embrace her true calling and her destiny: to fly.
from the back of the book

Review:  At the beginning of this story I was caught up in Beryl's early life in Africa in the colony of Kenya.  The description of what life was like and the experiences that Beryl had were intriguing and so different from other things that I have read.  I did not realize the Beryl Markham was a real person and that this book is based on her real experiences.  The story slowed down for me when she started to train horses and got caught up in society which seemed to be who was sleeping with who.  I found it hard to keep track of the characters when I was listening to the audio version.  I had the book at the same time so I would go back and reread sections to try to figure out who was married to who and who they were sleeping with (which was not the same!)  Then the story picked up again and things seemed to move very quickly through her second marriage and her desire to start flying.  I wish that there was more of a connection between the prologue/epilogue which is about her historic flight and the rest of the book.  We hardly hear about her learning to fly and what made her want to be the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean from east to west.  I did enjoy learning about life in Kenya but I wish the story had been more captivating.

Rating: 3.5 stars

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