29 November 2016

Today's Read: Maiden Flight by Harry Haskell

All about Maiden Flight by Harry HaskellSuppose you had devoted your entire life to helping your brothers achieve fame, supporting them in multiple spheres: domestic, professional, legal, and social. Now suppose that as you faced your later years you fell in love. Which would you chose? Family or passion? This is story of Katharine Wright, sister to the Wright Brothers of aviation fame:

What I remember best about that winter in Pau is the bitter cold. If you ask me, all that talk of "sunny southern France" is a delusion and a snare. Orv and I practically froze in our beds! Will had sworn up and down that the Gassion was the best hotel in town, but I never was so uncomfortable in my whole life, not even in the icy grip of an Ohio winter—and that is no picnic, I assure you! Luckily, I came prepared for the worst. When Will took me up in the flying machine for the first time, I was all trussed up like a turkey, with my overcoat bound snug around my ankles and a long scarf looped over my hat to keep it tethered down.
Maiden Flight by Henry Haskell (Chicago Review Press, 2016, p. 3)

Quick Facts

  • Setting: early decades of the 20th century, mostly various places in the United States
  • Circumstances: The novel focuses not on the Wright Brothers' invention of a working airplane but on their sister, Katharine, and how she helped them in their work, in proving their claim as aviation pioneers, and in their public life. It is also the story of her renewed acquaintance and then relationship with Harry Haskell, a newspaper man she knew from her college years. It's the story of a vivacious, independent woman who was eventually forced, as the prologue says, to choose between love and duty.
  • Genre: historical fiction; adult audience
  • Themes: women's issues, history of flight, love, family, siblings
  • Main characters: Katharine Wright, college educated and devoted to her brothers; Orville and Wilbur Wright, the first men to fly; Harry Haskell, a newspaper editor who stole Katharine's heart; various people from the press, aviation, museums, and history.
  • Some things to know: The novel is told from three points of view—Katharine's, Orville's, and Harry's—and reads like a trio of interwoven memoirs. At the end of the book, you'll find a cast of characters, an author's note revealing his artistic decisions, and a few endnotes with fuller explanations of the story.
  • About the author and his sources: The book's author is the grandson and namesake of the same Harry Haskell who married Katharine Wright. Author Haskell relied on family letters and documents and various archival material found in library, museum, and university collections to round out the true events and the personalities of the people involved.

16 comments:

Kathy Martin 11/29/16, 8:18 AM  

This does sound like an interesting story. I always wonder about those who support the stars of a story. My teaser this week is from Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater. Happy reading!

Majanka Verstraete 11/29/16, 8:37 AM  

Family or passion? That IS a difficult choice. Sounds intriguing.


My Teaser Tuesdays post.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 11/29/16, 8:38 AM  

Quite a few historical intros this week which I tend to pass on. I do hope you like it.

Sherry Fundin 11/29/16, 9:08 AM  

Can't we have both?
sherry @ My TT

Andrea Stoeckel 11/29/16, 10:50 AM  

Love first person history....this sounds great! Was ordained 25 years ago in the hometown of the Wrights and have a soft spot for them despite David MaCallum's book

Laurel-Rain Snow 11/29/16, 11:11 AM  

It sounds good! I always love learning about the people behind the scenes in the lives of the famous. Those who did more to bring about the achievements than any of us knew.

Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

Margot 11/29/16, 11:23 AM  

One paragraph and I already like Katherine. I like her spunk. I'd like to keep reading.

Sandra Nachlinger 11/29/16, 12:31 PM  

What a great idea for a story! I'm guessing the author did a lot of research into the Wright Brothers, and I'd enjoy learning more about them. I like the conversational tone in the opening, too, as if the character is talking to the reader. This book is definitely going on my TBR list.
Thank you for stopping by my blog today. I appreciate your comments.
Sandy @ Writing With a Texas Twang

Laura Thomas 11/29/16, 1:02 PM  

Now this is something new. That's always a good thing! I hope she chooses passion:)

My TT from Christmas Magic 1959

Literary Feline 11/29/16, 1:07 PM  

I love this time period. I enjoyed your teaser, especially the writing style. This is one I wouldn't mind reading at some point. Thank you for sharing!

Cleo Bannister 11/29/16, 1:48 PM  

What a brilliant idea for a story - those twin pulls really set up multiple ways the story can go and I like the tone of the opener.

Vicki 11/29/16, 2:44 PM  

I'm not a fan of historical fiction but this sounds too good to pass up.

Shoshi Hornum 11/29/16, 4:45 PM  

Great teaser! Here is my TT: http://shoshireads.weebly.com/home/teaser-tuesday1363034

Clarissa 11/30/16, 3:46 AM  

Have you read Founding Mothers? It's about the women that helped make America through the Founding Fathers.

Clarissa 11/30/16, 3:48 AM  

Hrm. This was supposed to be a reply to Kathy Martin.

Daryl 12/2/16, 1:49 PM  

another intriguing review ...thanks

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