About this book: (from the publisher) On the evening of May 3rd, 1937, ninety-seven people board the Hindenburg for its final, doomed flight to Lakehurst, New Jersey. Among them are a frightened stewardess who is not what she seems; the steadfast navigator determined to win her heart; a naive cabin boy eager to earn a permanent spot on the world’s largest airship; an impetuous journalist who has been blacklisted in her native Germany; and an enigmatic American businessman with a score to settle. Over the course of three hazy, champagne-soaked days their lies, fears, agendas, and hopes for the future are revealed.
Flight of Dreams is a fiercely intimate portrait of the real people on board the last flight of the Hindenburg. Behind them is the gathering storm in Europe and before them is looming disaster. But for the moment they float over the Atlantic, unaware of the inexorable, tragic fate that awaits them.
Brilliantly exploring one of the most enduring mysteries of the twentieth century, Flight of Dreams is that rare novel with spellbinding plotting that keeps you guessing till the last page and breathtaking emotional intensity that stays with you long after.
About the author: (from her website) Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She’s the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (Doubleday, 2014) and FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016). She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus) and a black lab who is, thankfully, a girl.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: PG-13 for some profanity (much of it in German) and mature themes.
Content advisory: Non-explicit, married sex. Graphic but not gratuitous description of the explosion and its aftermath.
Recommended for: The perfect read for a long flight, especially–ahem–a transatlantic one. Guaranteed to while away the hours–even more so if you’re able to enjoy a Maybach 12 while you’re at it.
[Tweet “#unputdownable from first page to last. #FlightOfDreams @ArielLawhon @doubledaypub”]
Reflection: I didn’t plan to review this novel. I was the fortunate receiver of an early copy but not obligated to review, so thought I’d just enjoy the gift and save myself some trouble.
But I can’t. This book is just too good, and my joy will not be complete until I share it with you.
Smart and sophisticated, I relished every. single. tension-filled. page. Altogether #unputdownable, and when life got in the way and forced me to, I longingly looked forward to my return–until I finally stayed up past my bedtime to finish it in one last, breathtaking gulp.
What was so good about it? You mean, besides the gripping context, spellbinding prose, and polished dialogue? The characters. Oh, the characters! Under Ariel Lawhon’s skillful hand, they lived and breathed. They made this story, every last one of them. But some of them broke my heart too, because Lawhon stayed true to history. If a person lived, she lived in the story. If he died, he died. Of course, unless you’re already familiar with the story, you won’t know their fates until you read them. I will say that Lawhon’s end notes helped me to come to peace with the book’s bittersweet conclusion.
Weeks later, I continue to reflect on the people I met in this imagined portrayal of the Hindenburg’s last flight, am still touched by all that was lost…and won. This story enthralled me from first page to last and left me with but one regret: that I will never again have Flight of Dreams to read for the very first time.
Thanks to Doubleday for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: What was the last novel you read that was so good you HAD to tell someone?