If you're a regular reader of Top Shelf Text, then you know that I recently took a quick trip to the Hamptons. If you're a follower of my Instagram, then you may have seen me apologize to my bookworm friends for being a bad listener.
Here's the scoop: while packing, I asked my Instagram followers whether I should bring Flight of Dreams or Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. I like to pick a few reads from different genres when traveling, and I was looking for a quality historical fiction novel to bring along to the beach. While the majority of responses were in favor of the latter, I received a few enthusiastic votes for Flight of Dreams, with the qualifier that this was a suspenseful and quick historical fiction read.
Those few votes won me over, and I am so glad they did because Flight of Dreams was one of those reading experiences that, after finishing, I wish I could experience for the first time again. (And not to worry, friends -- I fully plan to read The Nightingale this summer.)
I had Flight of Dreams on my shelf since reading The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress earlier in the year after the MMD Book Clubwas lucky enough to chat with Ariel Lawhon herself for an author event. I was instantly smitten with the way that Lawhon talked about the art of writing, the immense research she does in preparation for her books, and the way that ideas spring up in her life. (Psst! Lawhon has a new novel coming out in February of 2018 and I am already impatient to read it.)
Flight of Dreams is Lawhon's imagining of the events that took place leading up to the explosion of the infamous Hindenburg. The story takes place over the course of three days, as the passengers and crew on the Hindenburg journey from Germany to New Jersey. While historical record claims that the flight was uneventful, Lawhon imagines the journey to be much more interesting -- rife with tension, a love story, and revenge. Under the surface, people are nervous about Hitler's rise to power, and while many of the people on board seem to be there for pure enjoyment, all of them harbor secrets about their true reasons for taking flight.
The story is told from multiple perspectives -- from the real people who were actually on the flight, so it's one that I recommend you read distraction-free. (The beach was a perfect setting for me to get lost in the story.) I don't normally get so emotionally invested in characters, but I had full-on heart palpitations when it came to the defining moment in this journey.
Here's what sealed the deal for me at the end, and why I love historical fiction in general and Lawhon's approach in particular. In the author's note, she writes:
"They said it was an uneventful flight...But here's the problem: I don't believe them...I've taken enough transatlantic flights to know you can't place that many people in such a small space for any length of time and not have tension brewing beneath the surface. But if you're going to call bullshit on historical events, you'd best have a good theory to offer as an alternative. This novel is my attempt at a theory."
Because I loved this book so much, I want to share it with you.
To win a copy of your own, comment below and tell me a favorite historical fiction read - I'm always looking to add to my to-read list!
Note: This giveaway is open to U.S. applicants only and not sponsored in any way.
One winner will receive a copy of Flight of Dreams.
Giveaway entries valid through Wednesday, July 19th.