Written By: Paula McLain

Narrated By: Katharine Lee Mcewan

Date: July 2015

Duration: 12 hours 17 minutes


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR, BOOKPAGE, AND SHELF AWARENESS • “Paula McLain is considered the new star of historical fiction, and for good reason. Fans of The Paris Wife will be captivated by Circling the Sun, which . . . is both beautifully written and utterly engrossing.”—Ann Patchett, Country Living

This powerful novel transports readers to the breathtaking world of Out of Africa—1920s Kenya—and reveals the extraordinary adventures of Beryl Markham, a woman before her time. Brought to Kenya from England by pioneering parents dreaming of a new life on an African farm, Beryl is raised unconventionally, developing a fierce will and a love of all things wild. But after everything she knows and trusts dissolves, headstrong young Beryl is flung into a string of disastrous relationships, then becomes caught up in a passionate love triangle with the irresistible safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and the writer Baroness Karen Blixen. Brave and audacious and contradictory, Beryl will risk everything to have Denys’s love, but it’s ultimately her own heart she must conquer to embrace her true calling and her destiny: to fly.

Praise for Circling the Sun

“In McLain’s confident hands, Beryl Markham crackles to life, and we readers truly understand what made a woman so far ahead of her time believe she had the power to soar.”—Jodi Picoult, author of Leaving Time

“Enchanting . . . a worthy heir to [Isak] Dinesen . . . Like Africa as it’s so gorgeously depicted here, this novel will never let you go.”—The Boston Globe

“Famed aviator Beryl Markham is a novelist’s dream. . . . [A] wonderful portrait of a complex woman who lived—defiantly—on her own terms.”—People (Book of the Week)

“Circling the Sun soars.”—Newsday

“Captivating . . . [an] irresistible novel.”—The Seattle Times

“Like its high-flying subject, Circling the Sun is audacious and glamorous and hard not to be drawn in by. Beryl Markham may have married more than once, but she was nobody’s wife.”—Entertainment Weekly
“[An] eloquent evocation of Beryl’s daring life.”—O: The Oprah Magazine


  • Sandra Hilger

    Such a beautiful story narratives by an excellent reader. It's really, really lovely.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Danica Ramgoolam

    Similar to Paris Wife, but instead of Paris as the backdrop we get Kenya. Liked the narrator and the beginning but was disappointed that such a strong woman was portrayed as only defining herself by her infatuation with a man. I would say read West with the Night instead

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Marci Cook

    5 stars. Absolutely loved it. So easily caught up in a fantastic and inspiring story of love, loss, and strength.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful.

  • Anonymous

    Paula McClain is now among "my favorite authors" I was immediately engrossed in this novel and could not put it down...I believe this to be a starter book if you are thinking of becoming an audible reader, very easy to listen to...the narrator's voice is soothing and incredibly clear...sometimes it is just wonderful to be "read to" ....and the author helps by writing such a beautiful true story. I learned so much from this novel and hope you will too.

  • Carmel S.

    Very enjoyable at the start, especially the early chapters that detail Beryl's childhood, her mother's abandonment and her decision to live a free, independent life, whatever the cost. Markham is a wonderful character. My problem is with the later chapters, where it's clear that the author is trying to prevent herself from saying anything that might reflect negatively on Markham. She flat-out denies some rotten things Markham did that are well-documented, and I don't know why, it would have made the character more interesting IMO. In this book, Beryl Markham comes across as a saint and Markham, while fascinating, was no saint. I know this isn't an actual biography, it's fiction, but come on.

  • Linda Kay I.

    Loved this book! We’ll written and captivating from beginning to end. That it was about a real life woman made it even more relevant.

  • Kindal F.

    I loved everything about this audio book! Great story, great narrator and I couldn’t get back to it quick enough when I had to stop listening to it. Loved it!

  • Suzanne R

    A very good story. Slow to start which is why i rated it 4 out of 5. Narrator also sounded bored during the first few chapters. Both picked up pace atound fifth chapter and then i was hooked and didnt want to stop.

  • Alma B

    I loved the graciously modulated English voice of Katharine McKwan reading about the life of Beryl Markham growing up in the English settler era in Kenya in the 1920's and 30's. I want to know more of this unconventional woman who defied the establishment to become and professional horse trainer and the first woman aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic and her rocky marriages and love life.

  • mary leung

    Good read!! Applicable then and now! A woman being independent and strong with no models fir her life.

  • Mary Ann Taranto

    Captivating book..........well written! Just had eye surgery and cannot read the book, so took advantage of this very well narrated audio book.

  • Wendy Voigt

    Great story to listen to, I found uncanny resemblances to Out of Africa (movie) in some interactions. As a woman she endured much and was unique before her time. Somehow I still didn't find her a sympathetic person though. Overall I enjoyed it & it prompted me to learn more about Beryl's entire life. The narration was a bit too slow at times.

Circling the Sun: A Novel

by Paula McLain

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