Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead


Bookseller Review


‘If you like historical novels, this is one for you. If you like contemporary set novels, this is one for you too! Moving between the early decades of the twentieth century and cotemporary LA, both periods are incredibly engaging, with great characters that really pull you in and made me wonder about how dull my own life is in comparison! If I had to choose, the pilot, Marion Graves, would be the character I feel most involved with. Her story from birth is incredible – and what I particularly love is that after reading many short novels recently, this book is rich with not just details, but events too – so much time is covered without ever feeling like it’s too much or slows the narrative down. There’s just so much good stuff in it! Bootleggers, hunters, fine artists, actors, pilots… love, abuse, art, freedom… And the way flight is described and presented, I really want to have flying lessons now!’

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ISBN: 9780857526809 Category: Tags: , ,


From the days of giant passenger ships sliding past Arctic icebergs, to the daring pilots of WWII, to present-day Hollywood and its malcontents, at the core of this story is the indomitable Marian Graves and her twin brother Jamie who are twice abandoned by their parents. Marian and Jamie grow up roaming Montana forests, more comfortable with landscape than with people.
When a pair of aerobats take their exhilarating show to a nearby airfield, Marian’s life is changed forever. Watching them roll, dive, and loop in their mini plane, she can think of nothing else but flying. As she grows into a woman, she sacrifices everything to command the breathtaking sense of freedom, of utter control over her own fate, that she feels when in the air. She becomes one of the most fearless pilots of her time, and in 1949 she sets out to do what no one has done before: fly the Great Circle around the earth, north to south around the poles. Shortly before completing the journey, her plane disappears, lost to history.
In 2015, Hadley Baxter, former child star and poster girl of the blockbuster Archangel franchise, has just been fired for cheating on her on-screen boyfriend. Struggling to escape the fury of the fans, she grasps at an offer for the comeback role of a lifetime: to play the famed female pilot Marian Graves in a biopic. From the first pages of the script, she feels an instant connection with Marian, a woman who refused to be bound by gravity or any of the other strictures of her time. After filming is complete, her bond grows stronger as she begins to question whether the Great Marian Graves really did die at all.

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