Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain
published by Ballantine Books
July 28, 2015
I received this book as an advance review copy from the publisher through net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
I loved McLains’ The Paris Wife so much and I was so happy to receive Circling The Sun from the publishers. I was not disappointed! First- this makes me want to read, and then watch Out of Africa, which I never have. Then I want to read Markham’s own memoir West with the Night. The author has presented an amazing description of aAfrica in the early 20th century, as well as one of the Europeans who either treated it as a part of heaven, or a playground for the wealthy and bored.
Beryl Markham lived an amazing life. She grew up on a farm in Kenya, raised only by her somewhat neglectful father after her mother leaves them to return to England. She was permitted to run wild, learning how to hunt and shoot with the native boys. When her father tries to send her to school in her teens, she repeatedly runs away until she is kicked out. She lived her life in such an unconventional way, at at time when there weren’t many choices for women living on their own. She did marry two times- both were very unhappy and ended quickly. Markham had many affairs, but was only made truly happy but three things- horses, Denys Finch- Hatton, and flying.
This might be one of my favorite books of the year so far. The writing was wonderful and the author obviously did a meticulous job with her research. My favorite part of the book is the descriptions of Africa, and the obvious love Markham had for it. I would definitely recommend this book. A big thank you to Ballantine Books and Net Galley for sharing it with me!
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 woman—Beryl 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 nature’s 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 it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.
Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain’s 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.
To learn more about Beryl Markham, check out some of these site-