17 May 2018

Review - Nothing But Sky by Amy Trueblood

Title: Nothing But Sky

Author: Amy Trueblood

Publication Date: March 27th, 2018


Grace Lafferty only feels alive when she's dangling 500 feet above ground. As a post-World War I wing walker, Grace is determined to get to the World Aviation Expo, proving her team’s worth against flashier competitors and earning a coveted Hollywood contract.

No one’s ever questioned Grace’s ambition until Henry Patton, a mechanic with plenty of scars from the battlefield, joins her barnstorming team. With each new death-defying trick, Henry pushes Grace to consider her reasons for being a daredevil. Annoyed with Henry’s constant interference, and her growing attraction to him, Grace continues to test the powers of the sky.

After one of her risky maneuvers saves a pilot’s life, a Hollywood studio offers Grace a chance to perform at the Expo. She jumps at the opportunity to secure her future. But when a stunt goes wrong, Grace must decide whether Henry, and her life, are worth risking for one final trick.

My Thoughts: 

I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace." 
Amelia Earhart

Wohoo, I found a gem, you guys. Don't y'all love reading about topics that are relatively new to you? I know I do. I've heard about wing walkers, but other than that I didn't know much about barnstorming before picking up this book. I'm so glad I did because not only could I travel to my favourite decade in the 20th century, I also got to learn about an interesting form of entertainment that captured many Americans' heart after the Great War.

Grace Lafferty is one of the coolest heroines ever, I'm telling you. She's a real daredevil, a sucker for adrenaline and she is fighting for what she loves with unwavering persistence. There are two things she wants to keep at all costs: her barnstorming family and the sky. If they don't make it to the World Aviation Expo she might just lose both. To avoid that end she does everything she is capable to: she practices her stunts all day, she saves money on whatever she can, she is even ready to abide the presence of Henry Patton, the team's new grumpy mechanic.

The strong theme of family and love in the book is heartwarming and most of the characters are not even related to one another. The brother/sister relationship between Grace and Daniel the male wing walker in the team is so pure, I melted every time they had a conversation. I also loved how Grace's presence in Uncle Warren's life slowly moulded the man into a more than decent father figure.

Beyond the family feels what made this novel extremely worthwhile for me were the little stories and details that adorned and rounded out the storytelling. Most men in the book had fought in the trenches just a couple of years before, which means the horrors of the war are still very fresh in their minds. Henry is affected the most, he's definitely suffering from shell shock. Grace doesn't know what that is of course, but she realizes something is not right with him and she is determined to make him open up to her. And so he tells her stories. My favourite was the one where Henry saved the life of his men by teaching a memeber of the enemy to dance.

The feminine power in the book is incredible. Bessie Coleman the first black woman ever to gain a pilot licence makes an appearance. I was so happy to learn more about her! She was quite a character and it's always a pleasure to read about women pioneers. Grace, of course, is also a character who bends society rules and follows her own mind; she wears pants and oil-stained shirts and doesn't give a damn what others think of her often manly ways. Oh, how I loved that!

The atmosphere of the 1920s seep through the pages: the clothes, old Hollywood, bootlegging, the Spanish flu, it's all there. Nothing But Sky will transport you right there, you'll feel as if you time travelled to Gatsby's age.

To sum up, this novel was a real joy to read and there are no words how much I recommend it to everyone who likes historical fiction and is just a tiny bit interested in aviation history!

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