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Monday, February 12, 2024

Review: The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West

Title: The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West

Author: Sara Ackerman

Publisher: 7th February 2024 by Harlequin Australia & Mira

Pages: 384 pages

Genre: historical fiction, women’s fiction 

Rating: 4 cups


An extraordinary story, inspired by real events, of a female aviator who defies the odds to embark on a daring air race across the Pacific, perfect for fans of Great Circle and Her Last Flight.

1927. Olivia "Livy" West is a fearless young pilot with a love of adventure. She yearns to cross oceans and travel the skies. When she learns of the Dole Air Race––a high-stakes contest to be the first to make the 2,400 mile Pacific crossing from the West Coast to Hawai'i—she sets her sights on qualifying. But it soon becomes clear that only men will make the cut. In a last-ditch effort to take part, Livy manages to be picked as a navigator for one of the pilots, before setting out on a harrowing journey that some will not survive.

1987. Wren Summers is down to her last dime when she learns she has inherited a remote piece of land on the Big Island with nothing on it but a dilapidated barn and an overgrown mac nut grove. She plans on selling it and using the money to live on, but she is drawn in by the mysterious objects kept in the barn by her late great-uncle––clues to a tragic piece of aviation history lost to time. Determined to find out what really happened all those years ago, Wren enlists the help of residents at a nearby retirement home to uncover Olivia’s story piece by piece. What she discovers is more earth-shattering, and closer to home, than she could have ever imagined.

My Thoughts

The Unchartered Flight of Olivia West is a superb read. Inspired by real events with a dual time narrative that is sure to both engage and thrill readers. In the historical timeline of 1927 is Olivia ‘Livy’ West who defies the odds to become one of the first female aviators embarking on a race across the Pacific Ocean. The more contemporary timeline of 1987 sees Wren who is down on her luck but finds she has inherited a remote piece of land in the Hawaiian islands. How the two timelines come together is well worth the read. 

‘The whole world narrowed down to a pinhead, the words thundering in her ears. If there was one thing Olivia West knew about herself, it was this: tell her she couldn't do something and she would prove you wrong, whatever the cost.’

Stories of remarkable women from history are always gratifying and this one is no exception. Banned as a pilot but gaining a spot on 1927 aircraft to be navigator for the dangerous Dole Derby Race from San Francisco to Hawaii, Livy proves herself time and again. This is a story that is full of action, adventure, determination, strength and survival. Wren’s story from 1987, though not as strong, still proves to be the perfect addition for events to unfold. 

‘… when they banked again and began another nosedive. That was when Livy understood that they only had one shot at making it out alive - she had to get herself into the pilot seat.’

This tale has it all - action, adventure and romance. If this plot and period appeals, you are sure not to be disappointed. Through the tears and triumphs, through the race and romance, The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West is sure to win many fans the world over. 

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

1 comment:

Mystica said...

I’d love to get my hands on this one.