I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon
Published by Doubleday on February 23rd 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction
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.
The first thing that came to mind upon starting Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon was the 1997 film Titanic. Both are media based on an iconic means of travel that ended in disaster and chronicle the last days of the passenger’s lives.
Fortunately, Flight of Dreams delivers an amazing look at the occupants onboard without showing Kate Winslet’s breasts. Ariel Lawhon turned the flight into a telanovela with each of the selected character’s stories being unique, at times unbelievable and marvelously all intertwined.
My two favorites were of Werner and Emile. Werner reminded me of a puppy in the way that he was eager to please with a sweet demeanor. However, he was by no means a pushover and had the determination to get ahead. Emile had grit. Like Werner her dream was to get ahead in life at a time it was difficult for her gender. She was forced into an either or position and was sadden by her lack of independence and equality.
As for the explosion itself, the true cause has never been known although sabotage has been suggested which I feel is the route the author headed towards. The act of revenge through an American and crewman was well executed and the lead up to the fateful hour created an unnerving suspense that grabs ahold of the reader. Ariel Lawhon describes the explosion so effortlessly that I felt as if my own hair was scorched and vividly envisioned the Hindenburg combust into flames.
What I most liked about Flight of Dreams was that Ariel Lawhon did not change the names or fates of the Hindenburg’s boarders. While it might be historical fiction I appreciated that the author gave a voice to the voyagers who were outshined by the glow of destruction and holds one awestruck until the last ember died.