- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Doubleday; Advance Copy edition (February 23, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780385540025
- ISBN-13: 978-0385540025
- ASIN: 0385540027
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 196 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Flight of Dreams: A Novel Hardcover – February 23, 2016
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“The novel beautifully exploits the unique, excruciating kind of suspense in which the poor horrified reader knows from the start exactly what’s going to happen. Well, maybe not exactly….Under Lawhon’s revolving spotlight, we are introduced to a carousel of suspicious characters…so as the zeppelin cruises serenely through the clouds the earthbound reader ricochets from distrust to uncertainty to outright foreboding. At every page a guilty secret bobs up; at every page Lawhon keeps us guessing. Who will bring down the Hindenburg? And how?”
-- New York Times Book Review
“An enthralling nail-biter…Almost 80 years after the Hindenburg’s fiery end in a New Jersey airfield, Lawhon reimagines the downing of the Nazi zeppelin...[E]verything points to the inevitable disaster – but you’re still on the edge of your seat.”
"Lawhon builds the narrative on facts — she uses real names and biographical details about those aboard the Hindenburg — then propels the story forward with the thrust of fiction. This is a novel made all the more readable by weaving its way through a riveting historical event… Flight of Dreams may be viewed as a "Titanic" of the skies. Lawhon's novel, however, needs no such comparison. It has ample emotional fuel to sail on its own, even knowing its spectacular end.”
"Lawhon deftly braids together the complex threads of her characters' stories, narrating via a keenly observed third-person voice. Her taut prose and subtle plotting create a gripping narrative, rich with historical detail and spiked with plenty of surprises even for those who know the Hindenburg's fate. Through her vividly drawn characters, Lawhon's story touches on grief, family loyalty, ambition, romance and complicated international politics. Like the spectators who observed the Hindenburg's fiery descent, readers will find themselves unable to look away."
"Flight of Dreams melds historical fiction, a touch of romance and mystery to create a tale that becomes more difficult to put down as the disaster draws near."
"Ariel Lawhon has real vision and the writing chops to back it up. She weaves the voices and lives of the Hindenburg's doomed--and surviving--passengers together in intricate fashion, linking them at startling intersections that bind them into a single, riveting tale. It's a fascinating blend of love and murder, big dreams and betrayal, history and pure imagination--I could not put it down."
-- Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author of Water for Elephants and At the Water's Edge
"Flight of Dreams enthralls, taking the reader on the doomed last flight of the Hindenburg with a story so vivid, it is impossible to pull away. Mystery, romance – it is all here, told in a mesmerizing tale."
-- Kate Alcott, New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker
"In Flight of Dreams, Ariel Lawhon masterfully re-imagines the infamous Hindenburg tragedy in uniquely human terms, and the result is a spectacular page-turner of class and distinction. Intricately plotted and deftly characterized, this beautifully written novel is wonderfully satisfying - historical fiction at its best."
-- Alex George, author of A Good American
"It's a sign of an extremely talented writer who can take a story that's been told before and tell it in a completely new imaginative way that is so compelling and exciting.”
-- Charles Belfoure, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Architect and House of Thieves
"A magnificent, tour-de-force story, FLIGHT OF DREAMS will break your heart and satisfy every conspiracy theorist who’s wondered what really happened to the Hindenburg.Simply spectacular—I've never read anything like it. Lawhon has written the book of the year. She’s a writer to watch—now, and for many years to come."
-- J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of What Lies Behind
"[A] wonderfully suspenseful, heart-wrenching account...[Lawhon's] vision for the journey and the cause of the explosion is masterful and humanizes the event and its aftermath. She has taken a story from history and re-imagined it into a magnificent novel."
--The Free Lance-Star
"Historical fiction at its best.... Even knowing the ending doesn’t diminish the suspense."
--Acadian Lifestyle Magazine
"For her second outing, Lawhon once again reimagines a front-page news event, filling in the entertaining backstory with passion, secrets, and nail-biting suspense, this time taking on the disastrous crash of the Hindenburg in 1937...Lawhon threads many stories together, connecting passengers and crew and bringing behind-the-scenes depth and humanity to a great 20th-century tragedy—even though we all know theHindenburg’s fate."
"An Agatha Christie–style page-turner...Building on a dense scaffolding of biographical and historical fact, Lawhon invents personalities and relationships for key passengers, chooses from the extant theories about what caused the fire, and spins it all into a web of airborne intrigue...As the disaster inches closer with every chapter—each begins with a countdown in days, hours, and minutes—Lawhon evokes the airborne luxury of the ship—the meals, the cocktails, the smoking room, and the service—in such detail that you end up feeling a little sad that the stately flight of the Hindenberg marked the end of passenger travel by airship forever. A clever, dramatic presentation of a tragic historical event. Suspenseful and fun."
“The clever banter, elaborate plot twists, and period detail will be appreciated by lovers of historical fiction. Readers of Melanie Benjamin's The Aviator's Wife or Nancy Horan's Under the Wide and Starry Sky should find this entertaining.”
About the Author
Ariel Lawhon is the author of The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress and cofounder of the popular Web site SheReads.org. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, four sons, and black Lab—who is, thankfully, a girl.
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The reader knows before opening the book how the airship Hindenburg’s voyage ends. But Lawhorn imagineers the details of the trip, the personal stories of the passengers, the political intrigue, and the chaos of an exploding fireball where all victims become instantly involved. What caused the explosion and why did it occur? She has a theory that seems perfectly feasible.
Her characters are based on the actual passengers and crewmembers. Some things she reports actually happened, but most did not. Relying on little known biographical details, the author weaves together a narrative that soars with believability and fascinating plotlines. By focusing on individual personalities, namely those of the stewardess, navigator, cabin boy, journalist, and an enigmatic American, Lawhorn recreates a story that comes across as all too true as it entertains.
At first I was somewhat distracted by a dialogue that seemed awkward and strained. But it grew on me. Intended or not, the author displays a world of Germans speaking to other Germans in their native language while she reports their conversations in English to her readers. I came to realize that the effect might seem strange but probably provides an accurate inflection of how conversations might have sounded.
I can recommend this book with enthusiasm and a conviction that it will be enjoyed. Ariel Lawhorn is a star that is emerging in the crowded galaxy of contemporary writers who can generate believable historical fiction.
Schuyler T Wallace
Author of TIN LIZARD TALES
Lawhon relies heavily on her characters to tell the story. Among them are a stewardess who is hiding a secret, a navigator who is in love with the stewardess but also has secrets of his own, a fourteen-year-old cabin boy who is earning money for his parents back in Germany, a journalist who has been exposed in her native country, and a mysterious American who's actions may, in the end, determine those of everyone on board.
The development of the characters and the telling of the story is very good. Each character is somehow involved with all of the others in one way or another, and the reader gets a full sense of what the voyage was actually like. Lawhon's description of the Hindenburg itself is vividly told, and her story builds in crescendo throughout. The characters in the book are the same as the actual people who were on board the Hindenburg on that fateful day in May, 1937. Lawhon's tireless research on the subject shows in the story she has written. If you're a fan of historical fiction or the Hindenburg, then don't miss "Flight of Dreams". Highly recommended.
The author also debunks the popular explanation of the explosion, and the reader can believe there are more avenues to explore. The author's real villain is revealed as a surprise toward the end,
I can honestly say this book humanizes the story and draws one’s attention to the passengers and crew. I believe that was the author’s intent and, if so, he has succeeded. One trivial criticism, I believe the Lakehurst ground crew was comprised of sailors, not soldiers.
This historical novel is clearly worth reading.
The author too often referred to characters as the American, the Navigator and the Stewardess. It was hard to get to know these people. Names were, however, confusing when some had the same first name. This is unavoidable when we write abut real people, but I often had to stop reading and figure out who was whom.
Still a good read.