NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR, BOOKPAGE, AND SHELF AWARENESS • “Paula McLain is considered the new star of historical fiction, and for good reason. Fans of The Paris Wife will be captivated by Circling the Sun, which . . . is both beautifully written and utterly engrossing.”—Ann Patchett, Country Living
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.
Praise for Circling the Sun
“In McLain’s confident hands, Beryl Markham crackles to life, and we readers truly understand what made a woman so far ahead of her time believe she had the power to soar.”—Jodi Picoult, author of Leaving Time
“Enchanting . . . a worthy heir to [Isak] Dinesen . . . Like Africa as it’s so gorgeously depicted here, this novel will never let you go.”—The Boston Globe
“Famed aviator Beryl Markham is a novelist’s dream. . . . [A] wonderful portrait of a complex woman who lived—defiantly—on her own terms.”—People (Book of the Week)
“Circling the Sun soars.”—Newsday
“Captivating . . . [an] irresistible novel.”—The Seattle Times
“Like its high-flying subject, Circling the Sun is audacious and glamorous and hard not to be drawn in by. Beryl Markham may have married more than once, but she was nobody’s wife.”—Entertainment Weekly
“[An] eloquent evocation of Beryl’s daring life.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Circling the Sun is one of those thrilling books that engages all your senses and makes you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action. Set in Africa in the early 20th century, the novel’s based on the real-life story of Beryl Markham, an adventurer and aviator known for flying solo across the Atlantic in 1936. Author Paula McLain (The Paris Wife) really captures her heroine’s exhilarating journey, from her wild upbringing in the Kenyan highlands to her fiery love affair with Denys Finch Hatton, who was also involved with Out of Africa's Karen Blixen.
McLain's (The Paris Wife) latest showcases her immersive command of setting and character, fictionalizing the exploits of real-life aviator and author Beryl Markham in British Kenya in the early 20th century. Beryl marries young when her father's fortunes fall, but is determined to strike out independently as a horse trainer, even though there are no female horse trainers and she's only in her late teens. She succeeds, though her marriage suffers, and finds herself drawn into a love triangle with famed hunter Denys Finch Hatton and writer Karen Blixen. While her successes in the horse-racing business increase, the scandal around her makes her flee to England for a while. Upon her return to Kenya, her need for freedom has further personal consequences, but also leaves her as the first professional female pilot in the world at a time when flying was exceptionally dangerous, and a record-setter for crossing the Atlantic. McLain paints an intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants. Markham's true life was incredibly adventurous, and it's easy for readers to identify with this woman who refused to be pigeonholed by her gender. Readers will enjoy taking in the rich world McLain has created.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A role model for young women
This book takes the reader to unfamiliar lands at time when women had few choices. The main character, Beryl, takes us on her journey from childhood to being a young woman. She bucks tradition and becomes a racehorse trainer and later, a pilot. Along the way she makes some bad choices but does not regret them because they help her to grow and learn and become an even stronger person. I enjoyed reading about an adventurous woman and learning about life in Africa at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Completely whisked me away
I devoured this book! I loved every word and every description. Another fantastic work by McLain!
Fascinating and Captivating
Unfortunately finished this last night....want to read more about Beryl!