13 Jun The Aerialists by Katie Munnik
A soaring display of writing talent should see this mesmerising novel fly high
Looking down over the late nineteenth century streets of Cardiff from the dizzying heights of a hot-air balloon, a young woman prepares to delight the crowds below with a daring parachute jump.
Will she survive?
Just as we’re about to learn her fate, we’re taken back to the streets of Paris five years previously, where 12-year-old American orphan Laura is living alone, friendless and being exploited by a Fagan-like character.
Then aerialists August and Ena Gaudron swoop in to rescue her, paying off her tormentor and bringing her back to London, to live and work with them in the family hot-air balloon business.
Though Laura learns to fly, she tends to stay grounded, stitching balloons and taking care of August and Ena’s little daughter.
But in Cardiff, at the Fine Art Industrial and Maritime Exhibition, August has promised an aerial display from a young woman. Will Laura step in? Or is there another girl willing to risk her life for fame and glory?
Though based on a true story, The Aerialists puts Laura, a fictional character, firmly at the centre of the narrative. She’s a mesmerising character, perceptive and trustworthy, and the cast of true-life characters spring alive through her eyes in the sound, colour and clamour of the ballooning world.
From the seamy streets of Paris to the bustle of the balloon factory to the excitement of the Cardiff show – rich and atmospheric prose and authentic historical details ensure that the reader is always fully immersed in the atmosphere of the story.
The continuing sense of impending danger adds tension and drama to what is a truly different historical tale.
The Aerialists by Katie Munnik is published by The Borough Press in hardback, RRP £14.99
About the Author
Katie Munnik is a Canadian writer living in Cardiff, Wales. Her debut, The Heart Beats in Secret, was a USA Today Bestseller. The Aerialists is her second novel.
Follow her on Twitter @messy_table
Find her on Instagram @KatieMunnik
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