I'm thrilled to be second up on the blog tour for the WONDERFUL new book The Wild Air by Rebecca Mascull as I'm not sure I can keep my big mouth shut any longer about quite how ownderful I found this story. Wow The Wild Air blew me away (or maybe I should say FLEW me away)
The Blurb .....
A heart-warming, exhilarating novel about one young woman's determination to follow her dreams of becoming a pilot in the early 20th century.
In Edwardian England, aeroplanes are a new, magical invention, while female pilots are rare indeed.
When shy Della Dobbs meets her mother's aunt, her life changes forever. Great Auntie Betty has come home from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, across whose windswept dunes the Wright Brothers tested their historic flying machines. Della develops a burning ambition to fly and Betty is determined to help her.
But the Great War is coming and it threatens to destroy everything - and everyone - Della loves.
Uplifting and page-turning, THE WILD AIR is a story about love, loss and following your dreams against all odds.
What an utterly captivating heroine young Edwardian Miss Della Dobbs is.
When I finished reading this book I literally came back down to earth with a thud, I was so lost in the Wild Air with Della.
I was a touch unsure how I’d take to her to be honest as I like my heroines larger than life, feisty and confident and from the start it’s clear that Della is naturally none of these.
So painfully shy she barely ever utters a word, even at home with her family. In a household of folk who know where they’re headed and with plenty to say about where they’ve been she is the misfit, the one with no skills, no personality and no ambitions (or has she?) Cowed and belittled by her (utterly despicable to my mind) self-centred, overbearing father who, denied the continuance of his distinguished career on the stage, makes a career out of being a disabled drama queen and an absolute boor (can you tell how much I disliked this character?)
No wonder that when black sheep of the family, great Aunt Betty, who dared to escape her mothers family folds, when she emigrated to America to marry a Yank, arrives back in England, widowed, childless and not quite socially acceptable, the two very different women are drawn to each other by their very apartness.
As Betty recounts tales of her life in America and the birth of air travel, Della begins to obsess with aeroplanes and pilots and flight, to hanker after being one of the first women to actually fly a plane and in her burgeoning love of flight is born the ambition, drive and determination to help her make her place in a changing world. We watch Della realize her ambitions from learning the rudiments of flight by building and flying kites on the nearby beach, to inveigling her way into a mans world to gain the flying lessons she yearns for.
Throughout this enchanting novel we watch her confidence and character grow and when she finds a love for which she will risk everything, my heart swelled with fondness and pride for her.
This is a coming of age, a love story and a historical novel about early flight which swept me along until I was flying alongside Della, who proves herself to be every bit the daring feisty heroine I wanted her to be all along.
The chacters in this book are all immaculately drawn, believable and real with flaws and failings and little quirks which made me feel I knew them all. The era it is set in is breathtakingly depicted with passion and the speech and mannerisms of the characters is appropriate and mesmerising.
I also became deeply immersed in the history and development of flight, another aspect I was a little unsure of before I began to read this. The authors detailed knowledge and obvious passion for this subject shines through and charmed and entertained me throughout. Such devoted research was translated so engagingly I was educated and enchanted by every word.
Reminiscent of the wonderful book series Flambards by KM Peyton which I adored and devoured in my teens (the very epitome of early young adult fiction) this is a heart-warming and gripping girls own, for adults, story, wonderfully told.
Even if you have no interest in the history of flying read this gorgeous tale, I'm confident you too will be utterly swept away by Della's memoirs.
Published by Hachette - part of the Hodder and Stoughton group you can discover more about this talented author at Hachette.co.uk
Rebecca Mascull is the author of THE VISITORS and SONG OF THE SEA MAID. She has previously worked in education, has a Masters in Writing and lives by the sea in the east of England. Visit her website rebeccamascull.tumblr.com.