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Review: Circling the Sun

August 25, 2015

Circling the Sun

Beryl Markham’s family moved from Britain to Kenya when she was four years old.  Her mother didn’t adjust to life in Africa so quickly returned to Britain, taking Beryl’s brother but leaving Beryl behind to be raised by her father.  Beryl had a carefree childhood learning about her new country and playing with local children.

Beryl was an avid horsewoman and became a racehorse trainer.  She became friends with the “Happy Valley” set of expats and married three times.  She took up flying and was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic from east to west.

Even with all of her accomplishments, her mother’s abandonment always haunted her and Beryl was unable to forgive her when the two reconnected as adults.

Circling the Sun, Paula McLain‘s fictionalized version of Beryl Markham’s life is getting great reviews so I decided to pick it up.   I was captivated by McLain’s beautiful prose from the very start and fascinated by Beryl Markham and her life.   I’m afraid there wasn’t enough story for me, though, and the book dragged in the middle.  Things did pick up by the end so I liked this book but didn’t love it the way most people have.  Still, I’d recommend it to those who like historical fiction or are interested in Markham’s life.

Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.  I am an Indiebound Affliate.
26 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2015 7:23 am

    I liked the story, the way Beryl tackled problems especially the fact that she was “different” . The South African descriptiveness helped too to make this a great story for me.

  2. August 25, 2015 7:49 am

    I have this one on my Kindle but haven’t read it yet. I do like historical fiction based on real people.

  3. August 25, 2015 8:22 am

    I loved this one, but do think it dragged a little in the middle. My favorite part was Beryl’s childhood.

  4. August 25, 2015 8:22 am

    Sounds like Markham lived an interesting life.

  5. August 25, 2015 9:33 am

    I never read The Paris Wife, although I considered it several times. It looks like I should read that one, instead of this one, if I’m going to read any.

  6. August 25, 2015 10:50 am

    I’ve been wanting to read this. ‘Out of Africa’ was the most romantic book I’ve ever read. I don’t mean love kind of romantic, but the language and the feeling and the scope of the book. So, this still sounds intriguing to me. We’ll see. (I’ve been in a reading slump lately)

  7. August 25, 2015 11:11 am

    I think I’d enjoy this book. It seems she had a very interesting life.

  8. August 25, 2015 11:57 am

    I have this one it audio – I LOVE the cover and hope it works for me.

  9. August 25, 2015 12:35 pm

    It’s sounds interesting. Not really my thing but moving to Africa is pretty adventurous. I always think of myself as adventurous but I’m not sure I could uproot my family like hers did.

  10. August 25, 2015 1:20 pm

    I have never been all that fascinated by her anyway.

  11. August 25, 2015 1:29 pm

    You should try West with the Night by Beryl Markham herself- I liked it a lot.

  12. Patty permalink
    August 25, 2015 2:48 pm

    I did not love this book…it just dragged on and on for me…not really sure why but it did!

  13. August 25, 2015 2:56 pm

    Kathy, thanks for sharing your honest thoughts about this book. It sounds interesting in many ways.

  14. August 25, 2015 3:12 pm

    It’s a bummer this didn’t work better.

  15. August 25, 2015 3:14 pm

    I have been ambivalent about picking this one up, although I did love The Paris Wife, by this author. I might just wait a while….thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  16. August 25, 2015 3:20 pm

    Nice review.

    I want to read this book, but I didn’t like The Paris Wife so not sure I would like it.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  17. August 25, 2015 7:24 pm

    Sounds like a fascinating life.Thanks for putting this one on my radar!

  18. Diane permalink
    August 25, 2015 7:27 pm

    Would want to try this at some point; thanks for reviewing it Kathy.

  19. August 26, 2015 2:04 am

    this book sounds quite familiar to me. Will go and see if I can read a few pages to see if something prompts a memory, or could it be I’m thinking White Mischief?

  20. August 26, 2015 10:23 am

    I haven’t heard of Beryl Markham before this so I’ll probably be okay to skip this one, especially since you didn’t love it.

  21. Literary Feline permalink
    August 26, 2015 2:45 pm

    Beryl Markham sounds like such an interesting woman. I tried reading another of this author’s books and didn’t get very far. As a result, I’m hesitant to start on this one.

  22. Beth F permalink
    August 27, 2015 6:52 am

    As you know I loved it — but I’m so interested in Markham and the Happy Valley set that it kept me going.

  23. August 28, 2015 9:46 am

    I’m glad you liked it. Yes it did drag a bit in places, but I still thought it was so fascinating! She was such a spitfire!

  24. bookingmama permalink
    September 1, 2015 8:31 am

    I am dying to read this one even though it wasn’t for you.

  25. September 1, 2015 11:03 am

    “Not enough story” will always turn me away!

  26. The Cue Card permalink
    September 2, 2015 7:38 pm

    As a big fan of Beryl Markham, I liked this book quite a lot. Thumbs up for me.

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