Circling the Sun

Circling the Sun

by Paula McClain

Overview: Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating womanóBeryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of natureís delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But itís the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Berylís truest self and her fate: to fly.

Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLainís powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

Faith Bowers (09/14/18): I really enjoyed this fictional biography on Beryl Markham. Paula McLain made her come alive with her challenges and strengths by sharing both her triumphs and mistakes. Most of the mistakes were in the man department because she really did not follow convention and typically paid for it in the small world of white Kenya. Her sex life was too detailed for me but the point was she did what she wanted and we in the 21st century donít think there is any big deal. That was not so in the early 20th century.

Her triumphs in horse training came from both her father and from being a part of the African tribe that lived on her fatherís farm. She struggled to be the first female trainer and then she learned to make a living on her own successfully training horses for races.

I liked this book because it adds more to the Karen Bixen/ Dennis Finch Hatton story of Out of Africa. You see more of these two characters and they become more dimensional. I am planning to read Beryl Markhamís own memoir.
Rating: ***

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