Since there hasn’t been a RARM when at least one of Team W (and often all of them) have participated, I feel honor-bound to say publicly at least one more time how much I love these writers, both individually and as a team.
And since it’s Thursday, and they all write books with historical settings, let’s just call it #TBTTeamW (White, Williams & Willig)
What to say about Beatriz Williams (who also writes as Juliana Gray), other than that she’s one of my all-time favorite writers.
No matter what time period she writes in, not matter who her characters are, they are just so…perfect.
Intriguing, emotional, lively, complex, sometimes slightly dark, often romantic, and always, always smartly, lushly and gorgeously written.
If you haven’t read her yet, seriously, you are missing out and you are in for a delicious treat.
A great way to start is with the Schuyler Sisters trilogy, and the first one, THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT, is currently only $1.99 @Amazon.
I’m going to focus on this summer’s HER LAST FLIGHT, which was a kind of rewrite of an Amelia Earhart-like story, though with a deep romantic arc and an edgy, emotionally complex survivor-of-war angle.
All of Williams’ books are connected in some way or another, and some of them are slightly better if read in a particular order, but honestly, they can all be read and enjoyed on their own. (Keeping in mind that I’m not a huge series stickler, like I know some people are….)
She’s an exquisite writer, an effervescent storyteller, and her plots are amazing. It’s been especially rewarding to see her expand into a bit of mystery and suspense in a few of her more recent titles.
If you haven’t discovered Beatriz Williams yet, what are you waiting for?!
HER LAST FLIGHT
The beloved author returns with a remarkable novel of both raw suspense and lyric beauty— the story of a lost pilot and a wartime photographer that will leave its mark on your soul.
In 1947, photographer and war correspondent Janey Everett arrives at a remote surfing village on the Hawaiian island of Kauai to research a planned biography of forgotten aviation pioneer Sam Mallory, who joined the loyalist forces in the Spanish Civil War and never returned. Obsessed with Sam’s fate, Janey has tracked down Irene Lindquist, the owner of a local island-hopping airline, whom she believes might actually be the legendary Irene Foster, Mallory’s onetime student and flying partner. Foster’s disappearance during a round-the-world flight in 1937 remains one of the world’s greatest unsolved mysteries.
At first, the flinty Mrs. Lindquist denies any connection to Foster. But Janey informs her that the wreck of Sam Mallory’s airplane has recently been discovered in a Spanish desert, and piece by piece, the details of Foster’s extraordinary life emerge: from the beginnings of her flying career in Southern California, to her complicated, passionate relationship with Mallory, to the collapse of her marriage to her aggressive career manager, the publishing scion George Morrow.
As Irene spins her tale to its searing conclusion, Janey’s past gathers its own power. The duel between the two women takes a heartstopping turn. To whom does Mallory rightfully belong? Can we ever come to terms with the loss of those we love, and the lives we might have lived?
It’s lovely and stunning, with a number of details that harken to Amelia Earhart’s life, but with a kind of cosmic do-over, in a what-if? sort of way.
(This review is part of Read-A-Romance Month. Hope you’ll come back every day to check out my book recommendations. You can find the calendar here. Also check out The Romance of Reading, a Facebook “book club” where we’ll have great authors guest hosting every week.)
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