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Circling the Sun: A Novel

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: Paula McLain

Narrated By: Katharine McEwan

Publisher: Random House (Audio)

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

Paula McLain, author of the phenomenal bestseller The Paris Wife, now returns with her keenly anticipated new novel, transporting readers to colonial Kenya in the 1920s. Circling the Sun brings to life a fearless and captivating woman—Beryl Markham, a record-setting aviator caught up in a passionate love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who as Isak Dinesen wrote the classic memoir Out of Africa.

Brought to Kenya from England as a child and then abandoned by her mother, Beryl is raised by both her father and the native Kipsigis tribe who share his estate. Her unconventional upbringing transforms Beryl into a bold young woman with a fierce love of all things wild and an inherent understanding of nature’s delicate balance. But even the wild child must grow up, and when everything Beryl knows and trusts dissolves, she is catapulted into a string of disastrous relationships.

Beryl forges her own path as a horse trainer, and her uncommon style attracts the eye of the Happy Valley set, a decadent, bohemian community of European expats who also live and love by their own set of rules. But it’s the ruggedly charismatic Denys Finch Hatton who ultimately helps Beryl navigate the uncharted territory of her own heart. The intensity of their love reveals Beryl’s truest self and her fate: to fly.

Set against the majestic landscape of early-twentieth-century Africa, McLain’s powerful tale reveals the extraordinary adventures of a woman before her time, the exhilaration of freedom and its cost, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

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

“Markham’s life is the stuff of legend. . . . McLain has created a voice that is lush and intricate to evoke a character who is enviably brave and independent.”—NPR

“Bold, absorbing fiction.”—New York Daily News

“Paula McLain has such a gift for bringing characters to life. I loved discovering the singular Beryl Markham, with all her strengths and passions and complexities.”—Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You


  • 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.

Circling the Sun: A Novel

by Paula McLain

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Circling the Sun: A Novel, Paula McLain