West Over The Waves: The Final Flight of Elsie Mackay Paperback – 13 Feb 2017
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About the Author
Jayne Baldwin divides her time between writing, publishing, running the children's bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland's National Booktown, and teaching yoga. She lives by the sea in Galloway, south west Scotland, and is a director of Curly Tale Books Ltd.
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Sadly, despite the great enthusiasm and determination of the heroine of the story, Elsie Mackay, the flight was doomed to fail from the very beginning, as author Jayne Baldwin explains.
Elsie, daughter of P&O magnate James Mackay, the 1st Lord Inchcape, is determined to defy her father and become the first woman to cross the Atlantic in the more difficult east-to-west direction.
These early days of daring aviators also happened to be the roaring Twenties, which adds another twist to the tale as socialite flapper Elsie reveals a tougher, obstinate and independent side to her character, unsuspected by anyone but her closest friends.
Jayne Baldwin excels in telling this riveting story in a way that portrays Elsie Mackay not just as a pioneer aviator, but, perhaps more importantly, as a feminist pioneer, a natural successor to the suffragettes.
This is the fascinating undercurrent in West Over the Waves, a young woman risking a wealthy lifestyle resolutely to take charge of her destiny. And she had a lot at stake, as a ground-breaking designer of luxury cabins for P&O’s cruise liners and movie actress (she appeared in eight films under the actress pseudonym, Poppy Wyndham).
Financing the flight, she chooses one-eyed, ace war pilot Captain Walter Hinchcliffe as her partner and confidant. Despite their best laid plans, however, the heavily fuel-laden Stinson Detroiter aircraft they set off in disappeared over the Atlantic on 13 March 1928.
The tragedy left Lord Inchcape bereft, a shadow of the man he was, and villagers in Ballantrae, which served the nearby Inchcape family home at Glenapp Castle, mourning this popular, down-to-earth and bright young woman who had always helped out in the local community.