23 February 2016

Today's Read & Giveaway: Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

Review: Flight of Dreams by Ariel LawhonImagine what it would be like to fly across the ocean in the most luxurious airship ever built. For the ninety-seven people (passengers and crew) who climbed aboard the Hindenburg in early May 1937, the journey was pregnant with hope, fear, secrecy, freedom, and even love. Not one, however, could imagine that the journey would end in a fiery hell that would consume a third of them, without regard to age, sex, nationality, or prospects.

Day One: 3 days, 6 hours, and 8 minutes until the explosion.
The Stewardess

"It's a bad idea, don't you think?" Emilie asks, standing inside the kitchen door, propping it open with her foot. "Striking a match in here? You could blow us all to oblivion."
Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon (Doubleday, 2016, chap. 1; uncorrected proofs)

Quick Facts
  • Setting: on board the Hindenburg, flying from Germany to the United States, 1937
  • Plot summary: A well-researched imagining of the final flight of the Hindenburg. In this novel, we meet the passengers and crew of ill-fated airship, as author Lawhon marries the facts with her imagination to build a plausible scenario to explain the cause of the explosion.
  • Genre: historical fiction
  • Characters: The book is told alternately through the eyes of several crew members (such as the stewardess, the cabin boy, and the navigator) as well as some of the passengers (including a mysterious American man and a German woman journalist). Lawhon combed through period sources and firsthand accounts of the flight and disaster to develop the characters' personalities and re-create life on board the beautiful ship.
  • Hindenburg disaster, in the public domain
  • General thoughts on the plot: Tension builds as we learn the backstory of each character and discover possible motives for sabotage, especially in relation to Nazi Germany. At the same time, we see mistakes, a little inattention, and some relaxing of the rules; could any of these be the trigger to disaster? Lawhorn plants clues to several possible endings, and when the horrible moment comes, it's almost impossible to put the book down until we see what happens and who survives. (click photo to enlarge)
  • Things to know: Although Lawhon took a few liberties with the facts and used her imagination (outlined in an author's note), the ultimate fate of the characters and the many vivid details are right out of history.
  • Recommendation: Flight of Dreams is perfect for historical fiction fans, history geeks, and readers who like suspense and a little mystery. I was fascinated with the workings of the ship and found several characters to root for. Put this on your reading list.
  • Audiobook: I listened to the unabridged audiobook edition (Random House Audio; 12 hr, 45 min) read by John Lee, the king of historical fiction. My full audio review will be published by AudioFile magazine, but the bottom line is this: don't hesitate to listen.
The Giveaway

Thanks to the nice people at Penguin Random House, I'm happy to be able to offer one of my readers with a U.S. mailing address a print copy of Ariel Lawhon's Flight of Dreams. All you have to do to be entered for a chance to win is to fill out the following form. I'll pick a winner, via a random number generator, on March 4. Once the winner has been confirmed and I've passed the name and address along to the publisher, I'll erase all personal information from my computer. Good luck!


Majanka Verstraete 2/23/16, 7:06 AM  

Now that teaser has me intrigued especially considering the impending explosion.

My TT post.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 2/23/16, 7:09 AM  

I'm anxious to try this one as well. I'd read more.

Unknown 2/23/16, 7:18 AM  

I enjoyed this novel. Thanks for the giveaway. I'll share your post.

sherry fundin 2/23/16, 7:21 AM  

My hubby rode on one, but you wouldn't get me on there.
sherry @ fundinmental My TT

Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 2/23/16, 7:50 AM  

Unfortunately I was disappointed with this one...especially since I loved Wife/Maid/Mistress so much :(

Kailana 2/23/16, 8:04 AM  

I have heard about this one a couple times and really want to read it at some point!

JoAnn 2/23/16, 8:25 AM  

I loved The Wife, The Maid, and the Mistress and look forward to reading this one, too!

Katherine P 2/23/16, 8:52 AM  

This one sounds interesting. I know what the Hindenberg is but I know very little about all the details and ins and outs. I really enjoyed The Wife, The Maid, and the Mistress so I'm looking forward to seeing what she can do with this story!

Kay 2/23/16, 9:13 AM  

I do want to read this one. I'm rather fascinated with crossing the Atlantic in this manner. I'm not even comfortable flying. And then the story of the time leading up to the disaster would be most interesting. Yep, I'm reading this one.

bermudaonion 2/23/16, 9:28 AM  

I know nothing about The Hindenburg so this really appeals to me. Thanks for the giveaway.

abookaddict 2/23/16, 10:02 AM  

Sounds interesting. I typically enjoy books and movies that incorporate history into telling the stories of fictional characters. I just re-watched Titanic yesterday afternoon, having seen it years and years ago but not remembering a lot about it. Thanks for the recommendation. My teaser is from Anne Bishop's Written in Red, her first novel of The Others series.

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian 2/23/16, 10:06 AM  

I enjoy historical fiction and have added this one to my reading list.

Julie P. 2/23/16, 10:10 AM  

Great giveaway! Dying to read this one!

Daryl 2/23/16, 10:24 AM  

love books like this ... looking back with a head filled with CSI possibilities i think this would be a great read

Margot 2/23/16, 11:33 AM  

I don't know anything about the Hindenburg. I think it would be interesting to read a fictional account rather than just a few paragraphs in a history book.

Sandra Nachlinger 2/23/16, 11:55 AM  

Sounds like a fascinating story. I enjoy fiction that is based around actual events, so this is a book I know I'd like.
My Tuesday post features ROUND THE BEND.

Carl Scott 2/23/16, 12:01 PM  

This sounds excellent, and such a beautiful cover too. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

Unknown 2/23/16, 12:33 PM  

This sounds like such an intriguing read! I haven't heard of it before, but am now very inclined to pick it up. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown 2/23/16, 12:43 PM  

Really intriguing teaser! Thanks for stopping by my post earlier! :)

Laurel-Rain Snow 2/23/16, 12:45 PM  

I've had my eye on this one....thanks for sharing and piquing my interest further. And thanks for visiting my blog.

Anonymous,  2/23/16, 12:53 PM  

I've heard of this and it's getting good buzz! What a claustrophobic, intense story this must be, and to know that it really happened must make the read all the more enjoyable. Thanks for the chance... and sharing trivia about it.

Book Loving Mommy 2/23/16, 2:24 PM  

This one is definitely going on my TBR pile! Great teaser! My TT is here: http://booklovingmommy.blogspot.com/2016/02/teaser-tuesday-salt-to-sea-by-ruta.html

Literary Feline 2/23/16, 2:36 PM  

I am so excited to read this one. I love the cover and time period.

Anonymous,  2/23/16, 2:45 PM  

Woulld love to read this one, thanks! for the giveaway.

grammajudyb 2/23/16, 4:19 PM  

I am sure I would like this one. Fiction based on real life is always interesting to me.

Anonymous,  2/23/16, 4:26 PM  

I enjoy reading hisroical fiction - makes the reading of history so much more interesting. This read sounds intriguing.

Jessica @ a GREAT read 2/23/16, 4:51 PM  

Nice teaser! Not familiar with this one but hope you're enjoying it!

Thanks for visiting my teaser post!

Anonymous,  2/23/16, 5:03 PM  

Wow! That sounds like really intense historical fiction. It's definitely going on my TBR list. Thanks for coming by my blog.

Anonymous,  2/23/16, 5:39 PM  

This sounds like an intriguing historical setting. My TT this week is

Unknown 2/23/16, 9:18 PM  

I've not read a fictionalized version of this event. I still remember the news videos of this disaster. I'd love to read this!

My TT - http://fuonlyknew.com/2016/02/23/teaser-tuesdays-147-chasers-of-the-light-poems-from-the-typewriter-series/

Eustacia Tan 2/24/16, 6:22 AM  

That's a very prophetic comment. Sounds like a fascinating book!

Nise' 2/24/16, 10:26 AM  

I am looking forward to this book. Hope to read and listen!

RunningInMyHead 2/24/16, 5:27 PM  

This looks interesting; have you read any of Larson's historical fiction? If you have, how would you compare the two? Thanks for posting such in interesting TT.

The Candid Cover 2/25/16, 11:38 AM  

Wow! This one sounds like a really eye-opening and interesting book! I hope that you found it enjoyable! :)

Cyn @ Bookmunchies 2/25/16, 8:59 PM  

Great teaser! I'm definitely intrigued! It would be really cool but kinda terrifying to ride on the Hindenburg, haha. Thanks for sharing!

Maria Behar 2/26/16, 12:38 PM  

first of all, thanks for commenting on my "First Chapter, First Paragraph": post. Sorry for the late comment back. Life sometimes gets in the way...

This reminds me of the Titanic. I remember reading about both disasters in my high school History classes.

Honestly, this is the type of book I can't read. I am very much faint of heart. Lol. That's why I also avoid watching disaster movies.

I do hope you enjoy this book, though! Have a great weekend!! :)

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