Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall


*No Major Spoilers*

Set in the rapidly changing world of 1920s America, this is a story of three people from very different backgrounds: Henry “Schuler” Jefferson, son of German immigrants from Midwestern farm country; Cora Rose Haviland, a young woman of privilege whose family has lost their fortune; and Charles “Gil” Gilchrist, an emotionally damaged WWI veteran pilot. Set adrift by life-altering circumstances, they find themselves bound together by need and torn apart by blind obsessions and conflicting goals. Each one holds a secret that, if exposed, would destroy their friendship. But their journey of adventure and self-discovery has a price—and one of them won’t be able to survive it.

As they crisscross the heartland, exploring the rapidly expanding role of aviation from barnstorming to bootlegging, from a flying circus to the dangerous sport of air racing, the three companions form a makeshift family. It’s a one-of-a-kind family, with members as adventurous as they are vulnerable and as fascinating as they are flawed. But whatever adventure—worldly or private—they find themselves on, they’re guaranteed to be a family you won’t forget.

This book was a major slow-down compared to the other novels I’ve been reading. However, I found this story to be heart-warming and enjoyable to follow throughout. The thought of these planes making all of these crazy stunts is wild and thrilling.

This audiobook’s narrator was monotone and I had to focus to keep up with the story. I would highly advise others to read this novel.

One of my favorite parts of the story was how Henry, Gil, and Cora was performing shows where Gil would do tricks with his plane, and Cora would be doing stunts on her motorcycle with her trusty dog. It felt so natural for them to be together, as a makeshift family. After so much tragedy and heartbreak from WWII, it was nice to see these three misfits come together.

I felt like each of the character’s secrets was relatable and relevant of the times. Of course, I won’t discuss spoilers here, but I did like how they weren’t “huge” or “strange” plot twists. The secrets didn’t paint the characters in any bad light. It’s just to be expected when a makeshift family happens. Sometimes we have to keep something of ourselves out of our friendships.

I love this book, I think the author really took her time and developed this story and the characters to the fullest. I don’t remember any plot holes or inconsistencies. I felt that this story was well-written and very beautifully so. I enjoyed following Henry on his adventure of growing up in a post-war world. The hijinks that happen, and losses they all share.

I would highly recommend this novel for lovers of “coming of age” stories, 1920’s America, airplanes, and stories about misfit families.



I am just a 20 something trying to figure out how to survive in this crazy world. I want to share my love of reading with everyone! I want to introduce people to some underrated or unknown authors. I also blog about other media I consume such as TV, Movies, Podcasts, and Video Games.

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