McLain's latest work of historical fiction spans the life of Beryl Markham, a British-born Kenyan aviator, horse trainer, and in her later years, author. She was one of the first bush pilots, and was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.
Beryl was born in England to Clara and Charles Clutterbuck (an accomplished horse trainer). When she was four, the family moves to Kenya, which at that time was then colonial British East Africa. Beryl's mother returns to England and leaving her husband, son, and daughter. It is there, on her family's farm, where Beryl develops her love of horses and applies her knowledge to become first licensed female racehorse trainer in the country. The Kenyan landscape feeds Beryl's reckless and strong spirit and she forms a live-long love affair with the country.
The story follows Beryl's life, her love affairs with men, horses, and flying. She is beautiful and electric, admired by many for her non-conformist ways, and never tamed.
McLain writes with beautiful sweeping dialogue, and her descriptions of Africa are vivid and gorgeous. I was hooked from the opening sentences which are of Beryl's Atlantic crossing. Oh and I also love the cover! If you enjoyed The Paris Wife, you will love this–McLain is at the top of her game.