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Promise the Night Hardcover – January 4, 2012
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"A compelling tale" - Scholastic Parent and Child
"Fascinating novel about a remarkable woman's childhood. ' - VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates
"Fluid prose elucidates a life much stranger than fiction." - Kirkus Reviews Starred Review
"Maccoll vividly portrays her headstrong protagonist" - Booklist
"With action and a very plucky heroine, this book will appeal to young women and men alike." - Library Media Connection
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Top Customer Reviews
Generally speaking I'm not a huge reader of historical fiction, particularly fictional stories based in reality. What I've loved about book reviewing has been the opportunity to stretch myself and discover something I never knew existed or that I would not normally have given a second glance. Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl was one of those such books. Initially, the thought of a middle grade novel about a young girl growing up in Africa based on the true events of Beryl Clutterbuck Markham's life simply didn't grab me. What I've discovered though is that not only was I wrong, but that I would have missed out greatly on Michaela MacColl's writing had I passed this novel by.
Beryl was a young wild girl and were it not for her father's concern for her future well-being as well as that of the reputation of their family she may have grown up as one of the Nandi she so loved. Her adventures of lion hunting and leaping in the air above her own head were the things most young children only dream & read about. What was fascinating was Beryl's headstrong behavior with nearly everyone she came in contact with.Read more ›
The novel jumps back and forth between the youthful Beryl's adventures both at home and later in boarding school and a variety of diary entries, fictitious press articles and interviews about her cross-Atlantic flight. I found the parts in Africa much more engaging and vivid than the snippets about her flight; the two themes don't really seem to be tied together, since we don't learn about the beginnings of her interests in flight in the sections in which Beryl is a child. However, Maccoll paints an appealing picture of an adventurous spirit who can't resist a dare, a girl who is more comfortable in boys' clothing and who longs to be a hunter of lions rather than a proper young English lady. It's a good choice for those looking for a colorful adventure story that could appeal to girls as well as boys.
Maccoll includes an author's note providing further details on the real Beryl's life as well as additional suggestions for further reading.
My conclusion? This author chose an interesting writing style in which to communicate the biography of a woman with a great deal of character and determination. I am looking forward to challenging my granddaughter's character growth and understanding of the world around her with this book during her middle school years.
Beryl's fierce sense of daring and adventure never left her, and she later went on to be Beryl Markham, the first pilot to fly solo from England to North America. Promise the Night is a new work of historical fiction by Michaela MacColl that weaves real life incidents from Beryl's pre-teen years with rich details of African life. The result is a fascinating portrait of a girl who is courageous, independent, unconventional, and not always likeable.
Promise the Night also paints a vivid picture of Africa during those times. White settlers came for the vast tracts of land they could buy for farming, ranching and other pursuits. Inevitably, there were conflicts with black natives who were looked down on for what were considered primitive ways.
Tales of lion hunts, leopard attacks, encounters with baboons and horse races are thrilling to read about, and don't be surprised if you find yourself alternately cheering for Beryl and appalled by her sometimes bristly nature. Promise the Night brings a part of her childhood to life while also interspersing notes from her solo trip across the Atlantic.
I first learned about Beryl Markham when I read her memoir, West With the Night. While I really like that book a lot, it's not accessible for younger readers. Promise the Night fills in that gap and introduces younger readers to this remarkable woman. I highly recommend it for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 9 to 13. I also believe boys will like this book equally as well as girls.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful retelling of many facts in Berle Cutterbucks life. Michaela uses her story writing ability to make this story interesting and fun.Published 20 months ago by Laura Dale
I enjoyed the juxtaposition of scenes from Beryl Markham's childhood and her flight westward across the Atlantic. Read morePublished on January 7, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I liked this book. It's rather entertaining,interesting and easy to read. This book will make you smile for sure.Very positivePublished on December 19, 2012 by Katia
I got this book free through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.
This is an excellent story, full of all sorts of roaring African adventures that will keep 9-to-12s... Read more
Beryl Markham was one of the famous pilots of the golden age of aviation, even becoming the first pilot - male or female - to fly the East-to-West route across the Atlantic Ocean... Read morePublished on February 25, 2012 by SusieBookworm (Susanna P)
Michaela MacColl has done it again. Promise the Night was an absolutely fabulous read that I just adored. Read morePublished on February 19, 2012 by Erica
Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl is a fictionized account of Beryl Markham's childhood growing up in British East Africa. Read morePublished on February 10, 2012 by Lori Katz