Jun 24

Join the Circus

The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall

The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall

From the bestselling and award-winning author of Whistling Past the Graveyard comes an adventure tale about two daredevils and a farm boy who embark on the journey of a lifetime across America’s heartland in the Roaring Twenties.

Set in the rapidly changing world of 1920s America, this is a story of three people from very different backgrounds: Henry “Schuler” Jefferson, son of German immigrants from Midwestern farm country; Cora Rose Haviland, a young woman of privilege whose family has lost their fortune; and Charles “Gil” Gilchrist, an emotionally damaged WWI veteran pilot. Set adrift by life-altering circumstances, they find themselves bound together by need and torn apart by blind obsessions and conflicting goals. Each one holds a secret that, if exposed, would destroy their friendship. But their journey of adventure and self-discovery has a price—and one of them won’t be able to survive it.

As they crisscross the heartland, exploring the rapidly expanding role of aviation from barnstorming to bootlegging, from a flying circus to the dangerous sport of air racing, the three companions form a makeshift family. It’s a one-of-a-kind family, with members as adventurous as they are vulnerable, and as fascinating as they are flawed. But whatever adventure—worldly or private—they find themselves on, they’re guaranteed to be a family you won’t forget.

My Review:

Admit it. We’ve all wanted to run away and join the circus at some point in our lives. What better way to escape for the summer than to join Henry, Cora, and Gil and their flying circus?

The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall delivers on all its promises. The writing is flawless. The well-crafted characters are feisty, enigmatic, and endearing. The story moves along nicely, weaving adventure, mystery, and a little bit of romance. The love triangle (if you can call it that) between the three doesn’t feel forced like many stories. Instead, I felt as ambivalent as Cora. On the one hand, I hoped that Henry would be rewarded for his puppy-love wishes. After all, he’d had so much joy taken from him. But then, I also hoped that Gil would be saved from the demons that haunted him, and I knew that Cora was the only one who could do it.

Whether it’s flying high with the wind in your face with Gil, walking on the wings of the plane with Cora, or sitting in a jail cell with Henry, awaiting his fate, this literary story never loses its sense of adventure. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story.

I received a free e-copy of this book as a Net Galley Professional Reader.

Available July 7, 2015. Pre-order available at:

About the Author:

Unlike so many writers, Susan Crandall did not emerge from the womb with a pen and paper in hand and a fully formed story in her mind. Instead, she was born with an incredible love for books. For much of her young life, even those exhausting years when her children were young and Susan worked in her previous profession (yes, the rumor is true, she was a dental hygienist), she was an avid reader.

Then, her younger sister admitted that she’d been writing. That admission led to Susan editing her sister’s work and eventually to co-authoring four novels, none of which were published. Her sister decided to move on after those four books, but Susan was totally addicted.

Back Roads was Susan Crandall’s first solo work, her first published work, and her first award winning novel, winning a RITA for Best First Book and two National Reader’s Choice Awards. Whistling Past the Graveyard, her tenth published novel, was a Target Book Pick, a Pulpwood Queens National Book Club pick, as well as recipient of the 2014 SIBA Award for Fiction. Her newest book, The Flying Circus, will be released July 7, 2015.

Susan grew up in a small Indiana town, married a guy from that town, and then moved to Chicago for a while. She is pleased to say that she has been back in her hometown for many years and plans to stay. She and her husband have two grown children and four little grands.

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