Flight of Dreams begins at the end of the story. Two weeks after the explosion, Max is testifying about what happened on board the Hindenburg during that last trip. But, as he plainly tells the reader, he has decided to lie in order to protect the people he knows and loves. Max may be about to lie about what he does know, but he actually doesn't know what caused the explosion. Neither do we, almost eighty years later. Ms. Lawhon excels at finding a mystery lost to the past and presenting a possible version of history. The characters in this novel are the actual people who flew on the Hindenburg. Some pieces of this story are true, based on the recollections of survivors. But other parts, including the cause of the terrible tragedy, are created by the author.
Lawhon expertly builds the tension throughout the story. As the reader, you obviously know what is going to happen. But the characters don't and, as you gain more insight into their lives and their dreams, the stress about their fates becomes palpable. The building tension is aided by a date, time, and countdown to the explosion that marks every section. The reader counts down to a deadly explosion while observing people go about their lives with no idea what is about to occur.
Max, Emilie, and the other people on the Hindenburg may have been real people, but through the creation of Ariel Lawhon, they are characters you will fall head over heels in love with. As the clock counts down and you start to panic about these people you have come to adore, you realize just how carefully and wonderfully Flight of Dreams has been crafted. You will hold your breath in hope and you might cry when it is revealed who survives and who does not, but you will certainly never forget the last flight of the Hindenburg.
Flight of Dreams
By Ariel Lawhon
Doubleday February 2016
From the publisher
Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I am a part of the She Reads book club which is run by Ariel Lawhon. Even if that were not the case, I would have read this book because I adored The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress!