Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Circling the Sun by Paula McLainCircling the Sun by Paula McLain
Published: July 28, 2015
Publisher: Random House-Ballantine
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)
Edition: Kindle, 384 pages
Source: NetGalley

Circling the Sun

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.

(Synopsis and image via Goodreads)

Ordinarily, I share a quote from the book I’m reviewing. However, I received an ARC before publication on July 28, 2015. At the publisher’s request, ARC readers were asked not to quote from the copy received.


When NetGalley made Circling the Sun available, I didn’t think twice about requesting a copy. I had previously read Paula McLain’s, The Paris Wife, and thoroughly enjoyed not only the story line but also the author’s writing style.

Although the two books are quite different in the story told, I would have a difficult time deciding which I liked more. I’ll leave it to you, Dear Reader, to decide for yourself.

Circling the Sun shares the story of Beryl Markham, aviator, horse trainer, and lover. Beryl is not an easy character to like, much less fall in love with her. But I give Beryl the benefit of the doubt.

Raised by her father after her mother returned to England following a family move to Kenya, Beryl was a small child often left to her own devices following her father around the farm. Often impetuous and adventuresome, Beryl naturally got into some trouble growing up.

Wikipedia image of Beryl Markham, 1936
Beryl Markham, 1936

Talented in her ability to learn quickly, Beryl became the first woman licensed as a horse trainer in Kenya. This shows her tenacity and ability to grasp the tasks needed for certain work-related activities.

I find it unfortunate the synopsis provided refers to her love for Denys Finch Hatton as a “notorious love triangle” because of the simultaneous affair Hatton was having with Karen Blixen. Karen and Beryl were fast friends, each relying on the other when times were tough.

Their relationships with Hatton were known to the other without words every being shared. It was definitely not what one would classify as considered notorious by the people involved. It was more a mutual agreement. I truly wish it had been described in less sultry terms.

If I share any more of this fascinating woman’s story, you’ll have learned too much to enjoy the book. So, I’m going to leave you with my recommendation and let it speak for itself.

Recommendation, red

Paula McLain once again brings her character, Beryl Markham, to the page with such realistic description and quality I felt at times Beryl had stepped through the pages to sit next to me. This speaks to McLain’s character development throughout. Also, she is a consummate researcher of the facts going into a novel based on actual events. I cannot recommend this book to fans of biography written as historical fiction.

Where to buy: Available on July 28, 2015, you will be able to purchase Circling the Sun from the following:

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Meet Paula McLain:

You can learn about Paula McLain, her life, and interests by visiting her website.

FCC Disclosure: I received a copy of Circling the Sun from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are solely my own.

Affiliate Disclosure: I do not have affiliate relationships with Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or with any independent bookstore.

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3 thoughts on “Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

    1. Tracy, you have picked another good one to read! I could hardly put this book down to prepare meals. My husband’s diabetic and meal prep is highly important and timing is everything. I love, love, love to read. My dad, a printer/publisher, instilled the love of books and all things print in me at an early age. My mom felt reading was a waste; the product of your hands measured how you spent time. I recently wrote a post on about my early days of perhaps realizing minutely my love of words and writing. Here’s the url: I did not mean to write you a complete chapter as my reply!

      Liked by 1 person

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