Great Circle

by: Maggie Shipstead


Goodreads description:

Spanning Prohibition-era Montana, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New Zealand, wartime London, and modern-day Los Angeles, Great Circle tells the unforgettable story of a daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost.

After being rescued as infants from a sinking ocean liner in 1914, Marian and Jamie Graves are raised by their dissolute uncle in Missoula, Montana. There—after encountering a pair of barnstorming pilots passing through town in beat-up biplanes—Marian commences her lifelong love affair with flight. At fourteen she drops out of school and finds an unexpected and dangerous patron in a wealthy bootlegger who provides a plane and subsidizes her lessons, an arrangement that will haunt her for the rest of her life, even as it allows her to fulfill her destiny: circumnavigating the globe by flying over the North and South Poles.

A century later, Hadley Baxter is cast to play Marian in a film that centers on Marian’s disappearance in Antarctica. Vibrant, canny, disgusted with the claustrophobia of Hollywood, Hadley is eager to redefine herself after a romantic film franchise has imprisoned her in the grip of cult celebrity. Her immersion into the character of Marian unfolds, thrillingly, alongside Marian’s own story, as the two women’s fates—and their hunger for self-determination in vastly different geographies and times—collide. Epic and emotional, meticulously researched and gloriously told, Great Circle is a monumental work of art, and a tremendous leap forward for the prodigiously gifted Maggie Shipstead.

Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓 1/2

I feel like I completed a marathon when I finally put this book down. This intricately woven story was a monumental saga! If you can complete it, you will be pleased and satisfied by the tidy ending. It really comes “full circle”- pun intended.

Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓

I know there are a lot of people who really loved this book, and not to offend, but I am not one of them. It is all fairly interesting, but too long, too tedious, too many characters, and well, just too much. I almost gave it another half of a reading nerd for sheer perseverance, but nah. Too much gratuitous sex – not really sure of the purpose of that, it just cheapened the story for me. This is one of those times where I feel a little guilty about critiquing a book because Maggie Shipstead is a wonderful writer, and I cannot write, and she is extremely bright, has a lovely way with words and has engineered quite a sage, but it just wasn’t for me.

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