Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

Posted February 23, 2016 in A Novel Read / 2 Comments

I received this book from Netgalley for review consideration.


Flight of Dreams by Ariel LawhonFlight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon
Published by Doubleday on February 23rd 2016
Genres: 20th Century, Historical, Mystery
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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four-half-stars

With everyone onboard harboring dark secrets and at least one person determined to make sure the airship doesn’t make the return trip, Flight of Dreams gives an utterly suspenseful, heart-wrenching explanation for one of the most enduring mysteries of the twentieth century.

On the evening of May 3, 1937, Emilie Imhof boards the Hindenburg. As the only female crewmember, Emilie has access to the entire airship, from the lavish dining rooms and passenger suites to the gritty engine cars and control room. She hears everything, but with rumors circulating about bomb threats, Emilie’s focus is on maintaining a professional air…and keeping her own plans under wraps.

What Emilie can’t see is that everyone—from the dynamic vaudeville acrobat to the high-standing German officer—seems to be hiding something.

Giving free rein to countless theories of sabotage, charade, and mishap, Flight of Dreams takes us on the thrilling three-day transatlantic flight through the alternating perspectives of Emilie; Max, the ship’s navigator who is sweet on her; Gertrud, a bold female journalist who’s been blacklisted in her native Germany; Werner, a thirteen-year-old cabin boy with a bad habit of sneaking up on people; and a brash American who’s never without a drink in his hand. Everyone knows more than they initially let on, and as the novel moves inexorably toward its tragic climax, the question of which of the passengers will survive the trip infuses every scene with a deliciously unbearable tension.

With enthralling atmospheric details that immediately transport and spellbinding plotting that would make Agatha Christie proud, Flight of Dreams will keep you guessing till the last page. And, as The New York Times Book Review said of her last novel, “This book is more meticulously choreographed than a chorus line. It all pays off.”

It is obvious from both the novel itself and the author’s notes at the end of Flight of Dreams, that Ariel Lawhon took a great deal of time researching the Hindenburg tragedy and the Zeppelin program. Through this research, Lawhon chose a cast of real life people who would become the center of Flight of Dreams and her re-imagining of how events may have transpired before, after and during the cross-Atlantic journey.

.@ArielLawhon included a cast of real life people in her re-imagining of the tragic Hindenburg. Click To Tweet

Flight of Dreams captured my attention from the  get-go, with the alternating perspectives of The Journalist, The American, The Navigator, The Stewardess and The Cabin Boy offering a steady build-up to the event that most are familiar with.

Beginning with guests boarding the Hindenburg and ending with the aftermath of the disaster that took place in Lakewood, New Jersey, Lawhon weaves together a vision of what the journey would have been like. It was noted in the flight records that the journey was uneventful until the horrific end, but was an airship powered by hydrogen always destined for a tragedy? Especially when smoking was allowed in certain areas of the ship.

While reading Flight of Dreams, I truly appreciated the small details that Lawhon chose to include. Such as the mail drop over Frankfurt, how a pencil would not roll off a table due to how stable the airship was, and the food items served at meal times.

By the time the Hindenburg arrives in New Jersey, delayed by cross-winds and a storm, I genuinely cared about what happened to the cast of primary characters as well as a small group of secondary characters that were introduced.

Do you enjoy reading about re-imagined real-life events? Read FLIGHT OF DREAMS by @ArielLawhon! Click To Tweet

I highly recommend Flight of Dreams to any reader who enjoys reading about re-imagined real-life events, and it would also make for some great discussions.

You should also, if you didn’t already, check out Lawhon’s debut novel, The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress which was inspired by the disappearance of  Judge Joseph Crater.

FLIGHT OF DREAMS, new novel from @ArielLawhon, author of The Wife, the Maid & the Mistress. Click To Tweet

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2 responses to “Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

  1. I really enjoyed this one as well. Except, I made the mistake of Googling the real-life crew members and passengers. Let’s just say their images and their real lives totally did not mesh with my mental images.

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