Author: Ariel Lawhon

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Book Review: Flight of Dreams

February 22, 2016 Book Review, reviews 5

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Book Review: Flight of DreamsFlight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon
Published by Doubleday on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Mystery
Pages: 336
Source: complimentary review copy
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four-half-stars

 

In Flight of Dreams, Lawhon takes us on a journey with a re-imagining of the final voyage of the Hindenburg. The Zeppelin flight has always been a source of fascination for me – what really happened? was it a bomb? or the highly flammable hydrogen used as a fuel source? or something entirely different?

The quite plausible scenarios laid out by Lawhon take us on an opulent and mysterious ride through history.

We were first introduced to Ariel Lawhon in her re-imagining of the disappearance of Judge Joseph Crater in The Wife, The Maid, and the Mistress. It’s one of those books I distinctly recall flying through, trying to solve the mystery of how and why this NYC Judge disappeared.  Lawhon created dynamic characters and a plot that encouraged reading straight through the night.

In the beginning of Flight of Dreams we are introduced to a handful of characters. It’s almost like playing a game of Clue – there’s The Stewardess: the first woman to work on board a Zeppelin, a true honor for the time period; The Journalist: forced to join the flight while leaving her 3-month old son behind; The Navigator: a handsome young man in love with The Stewardess; The American: with questionable behavior from his first introduction; and finally, The Cabin Boy: low ‘man’ on the staff desperate for recognition while earning money needed by his impoverished family. Told in the alternating point of view of these 5 characters we get an intimate look behind the scenes of travel aboard the Hindenburg.

Although the introduction of characters, life aboard the airship and multiple story threads takes the first few chapters to build, it is worth the slow progress. We get to see the incredible views from the large windows Taste the whiskey and smoke in the only smoking area on board { can you believe smoking was allowed?!? with hydrogen as fuel??? }. and feel the coolness of the altitude. . . .

But where the author truly shines is in her characterizations of the real lives aboard the Hindenburg. The Cabin Boy, in particular, such a minor character and yet so fully developed. We are allowed into the lives of the characters – their motivations and desires become clearly known to the reader. It’s obvious this author takes her role as author and creator quite seriously.

[Tweet “An intriguing re-imagining of the Hindenburg tragedy as told by @ariellawhon”]

The tragedy becomes all the more real by the final closing of the book because we have journeyed across an ocean with the travelers. We’ve been along as The Navigator attempts to impress The Stewardess with the spectacular view on a mail drop (such a fascinating historical fact!). We are with The Cabin Boy as he is taken under The Navigator’s wing and we are with each person as the fire erupts and envelopes The Hindenburg in 34 seconds.

While I went into Flight of Dreams knowing the tragic end to the Hindenburg, I came away with the sense of each very real person on this airship of dreams. They had hopes, desires, dreams – a full life ahead of them. That the author took a vague historical event and turned it into one of real human drama is a testament to Lawhon’s staying power as a top-notch novelist. Highly recommended. 

Side note ~ isn’t that cover gorgeous?!?

About the Author Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus).

To connect with Ariel Lawhon visit Website | Facebook | Twitter

Flight of Dreams will especially appeal to readers of: The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress; The Aviator’s Wife or The Paris Wife

four-half-stars

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Book Review: The Wife, The Maid and The Mistress

February 27, 2014 Book Review, reviews 12

Book Review:  The Wife, The Maid and The MistressThe Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon
Published by Random House LLC on January, 2014
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Thriller
Pages: 320
Source: complimentary review copy
AmazonBarnes & Noble
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Every now and then a book comes along that just blows me away. I remember finishing this one and researching the facts of Justice Joseph Crater’s disappearance in 1930. Reading the novel only worked at piquing my interest ~ I was like a mad dog on the trail of a tasty bone. And it took me forever to write a review because I got caught up in googling the case once again!

If you’re not familiar with the case, Judge Joseph Crater disappeared in New York City after withdrawing over $5000 {a much larger sum in 1930 than in 2014}. The Wife, The Maid & The Mistress takes that case and looks at it from the viewpoint of the three women who knew him best ~ Stella, the Wife; Maria, the Maid and Ritzi, the Mistress and showgirl. The story begins 39 years after the Judge’s disappearance. Stella is sitting in the same smoky underground bar that her husband used to haunt. She’s there with two whiskeys on the table ~ one for her and one for her missing husband – a tradition she started the year after his disappearance.

We learn of the Judge’s not so great business dealings and his ties to notorious gangster Owney “The Killer” Madden. We learn how each of the three women in his life are indebted to Justice Crater and we learn how the list is quite long of individuals who would like to see the Judge gone for good.

Justice Joseph Crater

Photo Credit: New York Times

A whodunit based on an actual case and one that will keep you breathless til the very last page. The writing is engaging, the characters are very humanly flawed, and the pacing is spot on. I haven’t read many historical fiction accounts based on the ’20s but this one has me ready to read more. The whiskey flows, the smokey bars disguise, the clothes, the mannerisms, even the gangsters – The Wife, The Maid and The Mistress left me eager to read anything by Ariel Lawhon.  Her ability to make characters and situations seem so real is astounding. I was in that smokey bar with Ritzi and Judge Crater sitting across from Owen Madden and I was at that dinner party at the Crater’s home that had Maria working late and Stella being hostess and I was in that dressing room with all the showgirls when the Judge came walking in the room.  A gem of a novel and one that should not be missed. Highly, highly recommended.

About the Author  Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of the popular online book club, She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus).

To connect with Ariel Lawhon visit Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

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