Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Review: The Little Balloonist

I found this book at The Dollar Tree about a year ago. When I hadn't read it by this summer, I passed it on to Jen. She reviews it below.

Sophie Garmont grew up in a sea side village in late 18th century/early 19th century France. She marries Jean-Pierre Blanchard through an arranged marriage. Jean-Pierre is a balloonist who creates and flies hydrogen balloons. Sophie develops a love for balloons and eventually flies herself, becoming one of the first women to fly. Sophie continues flying even after her husband's untimely death and wins fame throughout France for her accomplishments. Sophie catches the eye of many men, in particular her childhood friend Andre and Napoleon Bonaparte, the soon to be emperor of France. Who will woo Sophie, how far will she take her flying, and what fate is in store for her?

I love when an author builds a fictional story around true events. Linda Donn did a great job of telling the story of Sophie Garmont/Blanchard. Donn built this story around true events in Sophie's life but did add fictional parts to the story. Sophie did fly for Napoleon but as far as Donn knows, there was no love interest. Andre was fictional but Donn had read about healers and assigned this ability to him. Donn's interweaving of fact and fiction created a great historical piece that peaked my interest in reading more about Sophie and about Napoleon.

If you enjoy this book, I believe you would also enjoy reading the following:

The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance and the Wideacre Trilogy by Philipa Gregory

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett



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