|Hodder & Stoughton
4 May 2017
What's it all about..
In Edwardian England, aeroplanes are a new, magical invention, while female pilots are rare indeed.
When shy Della Dobbs meets her mother's aunt, her life changes forever. Great Auntie Betty has come home from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, across whose windswept dunes the Wright Brothers tested their historic flying machines. Della develops a burning ambition to fly and Betty is determined to help her
But the Great War is coming and it threatens to destroy everything - and everyone - Della loves.
Uplifting and page-turning, THE WILD AIR is a story about love, loss and following your dreams against all odds.
What did I think about it ..
In our modern world we rarely notice aeroplanes perhaps, barely, even looking up as they flutter across the sky above our heads. Just occasionally when the noise intrudes do I look up to catch a glimpse of a meandering contrail and wonder where in the world the plane is going to or coming from. To imagine a world where the concept of flight was so unbelievable that to bear witness to the early pioneering days of flight must have been both the strangest and scariest thing imaginable.
In The Wild Air we are taken back in time to the Edwardian days of early aviation and to the prejudice which existed for those fearless women who dared to be different and who wanted more than anything on earth to extend their knowledge of this wonderful invention. For teenager, Della Dobbs, her dream started when she, together with her great aunt Betty, learned to fly home made box kites along the beach at Cleethorpes. This overwhelming passion for flight started Della’s obsession with the newly developed aeroplanes and her first flight in a Farman Biplane with the legendary female aviatrix Hélène Dutrieu is described in such breath-taking detail that I felt like I too was experiencing the wonder of flight for the very first time. To picture the earth falling away filled Della with heightened emotions, fear most certainly, but there was also an astonishing exhilaration and a fascination for flight which made Della feel more comfortable in the air than she ever did on land.
Beautifully written from start to finish, The Wild Air gives us a story which is rich in character and alive with all the passionate fervour that is so reminiscent of this author’s fine writing. From the exhilaration of Della’s first flight, through to her, at times, rather frustrating days as a trainee aviatrix when she confronted male prejudice head-on, and then beyond to the dark days of terror during the First World War, the story truly comes alive. Strong on historical detail and passionate in its pursuit of mixing fiction with factual detail, I learned more about the pioneering bravery of the early days of aviation than I ever thought possible. I never knew that there were so many courageous aviatrixes who pioneered and fought so hard to be recognised. I also developed a strong emotional bond with Della in whose footsteps I so eagerly followed as the story progressed.
This is now the third book that I have read by this talented author and each time she has surprised me by giving me the gift of a story about a subject I never knew I wanted to read. And by the time the story ended I felt like I had learned so much, not just about the early days of aviation but also about strength and courage , truth and promise, love and loss, and most of all about the bravery of the human spirit and the endless possibility of living out your dreams.
Best Read With...Succulent pork pies, spicy haslet sandwiches and crisp green apples
Rebecca Mascull is the author of THE VISITORS and SONG OF THE SEA MAID. She works in education and lives by the sea in the east of England.
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Huge thanks to the author for sharing her book with me.