Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller The Paris Wife, takes readers into the glamorous and decadent circle of British expats living in Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun tells the story of the beautiful young horse trainer, adventurer, and aviator Beryl Markham, from her childhood in British East Africa to her relationship with hunter Denys Finch Hatton and rivalry with Out of Africa author Karen Blixen—a notorious love triangle that changed the course of Beryl's life. (from Netgalley)
The first thing that drew my attention to this book was the setting - lush and untamed Africa during the 1920‘s. I fell in love with this time and place after watching the movie Out of Africa.
Beryl Clutterbuck was only eight when her family moved to Africa. It did not take long for her mother to head back to England with Beryl’s brother. This left Beryl to be raised by often absent father and some of the local tribes people. She grew up foot loose and fancy free, which was atypical for young girls with an English background. This upbringing left her wanting a free and independent life. She became the first female licensed horse trainer in Kenya, which was an unheard of accomplishment.
Head strong and smart, she was unlucky in love. Two failed marriages and an affair with Denys Finch Hatton, who was also romantically involved with Karen Blixen, the author of Out of Africa.
Ms McLain weaves all of this together into a very entertaining story. I grew attached to Beryl from the very beginning - cheered for her success and was sadden by her losses. The author paints such a descriptive picture of Africa, the people living there and the time period. This book had me from page one!
My thanks to Random House - Ballantine Books, via Netgally, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.