Flight of Dreams

Written by Ariel Lawhon
Review by Lorraine Norwood

Any reader fascinated by the tragic disaster of the German passenger airship the Hindenburg will want to read Ariel Lawhon’s imaginative and thrilling new novel, Flight of Dreams. The Hindenburg, Nazi Germany’s showpiece of air travel, exploded as it approached its mooring pole at Lakehurst, New Jersey on May 6, 1937. The ship was completely destroyed in half a minute. Of the 97 people on board, 35 died. An inquiry attributed the fire to a discharge of atmospheric electricity in the vicinity of a hydrogen gas leak in the ship, but over the years various theories have pointed to sabotage.

Lawhon reimagines the last voyage of the Hindenburg, populating the ship with the real passengers, including the only female crew member, Emilie Imhoff. Lawhon describes the ship’s interior, passenger quarters, and staff areas, as well as the lavish meals and furnishings. But the thrilling plot is entirely Lawhon’s. The book is written in present tense, which heightens the tension. Multiple points of view add to the unsettling notion that no one on board can be trusted. As Emilie’s budding love affair develops, intrigue grows among the passengers. Though the climactic explosion comes as no surprise, the results are shattering.

The book is professionally written and well-researched. The dialogue is believable and the characters well-rounded. Although the shifting points of view create a choppiness in some areas that could have been prevented by combining chapters, the shifts nevertheless contribute to the rapidly building climax.

Lawhon is also the author of The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress and co-founder of the popular website, SheReads.org. If the quality of this work is predictive of Lawhon’s future novels, lovers of historical fiction have something to look forward to.