The Wild Air Hardcover – 4 May 2017
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Just loved it! What a wonderful and inspiring story. (Jill Mansell)
What a stunning book . . . beautifully written, impeccably researched, and utterly addictive. (Louise Beech, author of How to Be Brave)
Della Dobbs is a wonderfully feisty and ambitious heroine and I cheered her all the way. Although the novel is packed with adventure and peril, at its heart there is a quiet tenderness which I found very poignant. (Juliet West, author of Before The Fall)
The writing flies off the page and into the heart. (Louise Walters, author of Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase)
I loved this book, riveting and compelling, original and wonderfully written (Rowan Coleman)
Captivating . . . With a plot rich in description, written in a straightforward style that reflects the no-nonsense attitude of its heroine, this is an inspiring read. (The Lady on SONG OF THE SEA MAID)
A heart-warming, exhilarating novel about one young woman's determination to follow her dreams of becoming a pilot in the early 20th century.See all Product description
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For such a quiet, unassuming little girl to excel in a male dominated area and to survive the extreme prejudice against females makes for a real rollercoaster of a narrative. Della has so many battles to fight within her own family and in the hangars even though she isn't allowed to fly a plane during the actual war.
An intriguing, intelligent insight into the early days of aviation which might very well tempt you to do your own research into these remarkable aviatrices.
Della Dobbs thinks of herself as very plain and ordinary, but her Auntie Betty, recently arrived from America, thrills her with tales of the Wright Brothers flying around the dunes of Kitty Hawk and she determines to try it for herself. Della and Betty experiment on the beach at Cleethorpes and meet a young boy called Dud Willow, who shares their enthusiasm for planes.
Della has a damaged father who behaves cruelly, a mother who doesn’t begin to understand her, and a brother, Puck, with whom she is close. But she transcends her family as she manages to get flying lessons and not only gain her licence but also become a skilled mechanic. She takes part in air shows both in the UK and France – and then war breaks out and everything changes.
The development of Della’s character, from under-confident mouse to feisty indomitable heroine, is skilfully portrayed and as a reader you are with her every step of the way. There is love and tragedy, tension and drama, and I didn’t want the story to end. Do read it!
Della Dobbs is at the heart of this story and is such an quiet, unassuming young child that as a reader you are immediately drawn to her in the hope that she finds her way and is set free from the constraints of her home life which are very much controlled by her father who is very strict, set in his ways and extremely boorish. Della finds her escape by riding her bike and learning to fix it - all very unladylike!
Her Aunt Betty is soon a visitor to the UK from America, and Della seems in awe immediately by this woman who isn't afraid of her brother in law and has seemingly lived such an exciting life. Betty takes Della under her wing and gives her a new found confidence through flying and building kites and soon talks of the planes she saw in flight in America - Della is smitten! Della has so many insecurities as a child thanks to her home life that it is amazing the effect that some attention from another family member has on her and allows her to flourish and find her feet.
The relentless determination and passion Della shows to become a female pilot is extremely inspiring and nothing is ever going to stop her - she does encounter a number of knockbacks and hurdles but they only seem to spur her on to achieve greater things.
Her career as an Aviatrix is soon halted due to the First World War and this added another dimension to the story - the fact that less qualified pilots were allowed to fly as they were male, and women such as Della were grounded through that time.
At the end of the book the author has also included notes about her research and some amazing women she encountered along the way and it is fascinating to read of these inspiring women who we know very little of. And how the fear of women pilots is still being played out today in the modern world.
This is a wonderful blend of historical fiction and romance, as we follow Della from childhood to first loves and all her accomplishments, and such an inspiring read which has been so well researched and beautifully written that you are totally swept up in her world and I couldn't put this book down until I had finished it!! Highly Recommended!!