Monday, March 7, 2016

Julie's Review: Flight of Dreams

Author: Ariel Lawhon
Series: None
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 336
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Perfect blend of fiction and historical disaster
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: 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.

Review: Flight of Dreams is part historical fiction and part mystery but all fantastic! We all know about the Hindenburg disaster but they never solved it. Ms. Lawhon takes liberty with that to come up with her own fictionalized tale of what might have happened. It is her focus on the people aboard that brings this disaster from the history books to life.

The passengers and crew of the Hindenburg all have secrets but some are more deadly than others. Each of the passengers is interesting and engaging. There is one man who is particularly intriguing and totally up to something. He has peeked the interest of journalist, Gertrud Adelt and her husband Leonhard. Gertrud is my kind of lady. She's outspoken, driven, determined and curious. Her outspoken nature is what got her journalist pass revoked by the Nazis. It is also why they are on the Hindenburg and not at home with their young son. They need to pay retribution to the Reich by going on a US tour for her husband's new novel. Her mind is always working and there is something about this mysterious passenger that has her mind working.

Then there is Emilie Imhoff who is the first female stewardess aboard a Nazi airship. Her position was quite touted in the papers and therefore her secret must be kept extra close to her heart. It doesn't help that she's struggling with a budding love affair with Max Zabel.

Max is desperate to get Emilie to admit to her feelings and marry him. He spends most of his time aboard the ship, when he's not navigating, trying to convince her. That is until he finds out that she's hiding something from him. Being a man, his pride is hurt and he turns his back to her.

What Flight of Dreams really is, is a study of human behavior in confined spaces. How we interact with each other when we are forced to because of circumstances. It is about the things we hold closest to ourselves for survival both physical and emotional.

If you love conspiracy theories, then you will love Ms. Lawhon's take on what caused the airship to come down: revenge. It is extremely evident that Ms. Lawhon did her research. I can only imagine the hours and the hard work that went into make sure the specs of the Hindenburg were correct.



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