Flight of Dreams

On May 6, 1937, the luxury German airship Hindenburg met a spectacularly disastrous and highly publicized end when it went up in flames attempting to land at a New Jersey airfield. Despite a subsequent investigation, the cause of the fire was never clear, and the ship's demise has long been a subject of debate. Ariel Lawhon's second novel, Flight of Dreams, weaves the facts of the ship's final voyage together with a series of intertwined narratives of several passengers and crew members, each of whom has something to hide.

Journalist Gertrud Adelt has had her press card revoked by Joseph Goebbels and is still smarting from the insult. Novice cabin boy Werner Franz is desperate to prove himself to his crewmates. Widowed stewardess Emilie Imhoff is making secret plans for her future, which may be complicated by her feelings for navigator Max Zabel. And a mysterious American, traveling under an alias, will stop at nothing to carry out his murderous objective.

Lawhon (The Wife, The Maid, and the Mistress) deftly braids together the complex threads of her characters' stories, narrating via a keenly observed third-person voice. Her taut prose and subtle plotting create a gripping narrative, rich with historical detail and spiked with plenty of surprises even for those who know the Hindenburg's fate. Through her vividly drawn characters, Lawhon's story touches on grief, family loyalty, ambition, romance and complicated international politics. Like the spectators who observed the Hindenburg's fiery descent, readers will find themselves unable to look away. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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