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The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West - Book Club Pick

Title: The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West

Author: Sara Ackerman

Publisher: Mira Books

Genre: Women’s Historical Fiction

There are two things you can count on when you read a book authored by Sara Ackerman, thee absolute best characters you are going to adore and her knowledge, pride, and the history of her state of Hawaii.  In The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West both of these things just leap off the page.

I listened to the audio thanks to my library granting me the use of @hoopladigital and I loved the narration by Jennifer Robideau.  I, of course, paired it with my own personal copy so I could tab my favorite quotes.  Both timelines had strong women characters with many gems said. 

“Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it.  Is it reckless?  Maybe.  But what do dreams know of boundaries?”

Dreams and no boundaries is exactly what the author @saraackermanbooks sought out to do in this book.  While the Dole Air Race/Dole Derby in 1927 really happened and woman were pilots in the 1920s, Olivia West was not a real person.  There was a females passenger, Mildred Doran, but that’s the best part about being a historical fiction writer; you can take facts and your imagination and write something entertaining and amazing.  I felt like this book married the two very well.  I still learned about something I never heard of and read quite an entertaining story too!

1927 - Olivia “Livy” West is a fearless young pilot craving adventure.  When she hears about the Dole Air Race she sets her sights on qualifying to make the 2,400 mile trek from the Pacific Crossing to the West Coast of Hawaii.  She quickly realizes despite her skills she won’t even be consider because she is a woman.  So onto plan B, she’ll just have to be a navigator for one of the men.

“In her eyes cartography was a form of magic.  That someone could take the world, all its mountains and valleys and deserts and tundra and rivers and oceans, and transfer that onto a piece of paper while keeping proportions true, made her head swim.”

1987 - Wren Summers has hit a rough patch when she finds out she has inherited a remote piece of land on the Big Island with nothing but a run-down barn and overgrown macadamia nut trees.  She figures she’ll sell it to get her life back in order; she barely knew the Aunt that left it to her, after all. But, then she gets taken in by a stray dog on the property, finds vintage planes in the barn, and feels determined to find out the story.  The only work she can find is at a retirement home and maybe one of those residents will remember the Dole Air Race and be able to help her?

“Life sure had a mixed up way of bringing two people together.  But maybe that was the point all along.  A kind of divine timing that you had to just trust in.”

I really enjoyed this story and my time with two strong female characters.  Each lead has a very sweet romance sprinkled in too.  I found myself wanting a beach day and craving all things Hawaiian!

Our book club @bookfriendsbookclub had such a great discussion and author zoom for this one! We would love to have you join us next time!

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