2016 Reviews · historical fiction · Uncategorized

Book review: Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon


Book blurb:

On the evening of May 3rd, 1937, Emilie Imhoff boards the Hindenburg. The much celebrated only female crew member, Emilie has access to the entire airship and hears everything, including rumours of bomb threats. But Emilie is focused on hiding a secret she can’t afford to share with anyone. Her life depends on it.

Everyone on board seems to be hiding something, from handsome navigator Max who is madly in love with Emilie to the enigmatic German officer with everything to lose. Gertrud, a feisty journalist blacklisted in her native Germany, has stumbled onto the scoop of a lifetime, and a brash American and an enterprising cabin boy are not the only ones racing to discover what she’s found before it’s too late.

A spellbinding flight of imagination, romance and suspense already hailed as ‘Titanic in the air’, Flight of Dreams will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page.

3 stars

Flight of Dreams takes a fascinating slice of history – the fatal crash of the passenger airship the Hindenburg across the Atlantic and recreates it for the modern day reader. Ariel Lawhon fills in the gaps of the final voyage of the Hindenburg, with the contrasting viewpoints of five principal characters that embarked on the fateful flight. Lawhon provides a good cross section in her choice of the characters she places in her novel, from a female stewardess, a cabin boy, a journalist, a mysterious American businessman and the ship’s navigator. Lawhon also presents her reader with a possible scenario as to the cause of the demise of the Hindenburg, which is both plausible and compelling to read. Intertwined with this re-enactment of history is a love story that plays out on the Hindenburg between a stewardess and the Hindenburg’s navigator.

As much as I adored the cover of this book, I also loved the concept of this book. It is brave to take on a piece of history as a big as the Hindenburg crash. What I found quite fascinating about this book was the realisation that the flight itself prior to the crash was supposedly uneventful. Therefore, Lawhon has had to work hard at filling in the gaps with her characters and love story. Flight of Dreams does come off to a fairly slow start but the second half of the book picked up in pace, capturing the manic scenes aboard the ship in its final moments. I did read Flight of Dreams with a sense of dread knowing what was ahead, having read a little historical literature about the crash in the past. In general, I liked this story but I didn’t love it. I did however enjoy reading the afterward of this novel, which explained the amount of historical research that went into the book. I also found it interesting to discover that the book’s historical detail and characters came inspired from a website formed by Patrick Russell called “Faces of the Hindenburg”. This project is designed to give a voice to the forgotten victims of the Hindenburg disaster.

Although Flight of Dreams did not quite live up to my initial expectations, I am glad I had the opportunity to read it. Flight of Dreams is well worth reading if you are a fan of historical fiction based in the World War II era.

Flight of Dreams was published by Affirm Press in 2016 http://affirmpress.com.au/publishing/flight-of-dreams/


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