Monday, July 13, 2020

Book Review: Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams

Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: June 30, 2020
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: A Certain Age A Hundred Summers
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "The beloved author returns with a remarkable novel of both raw suspense and lyric beauty— the story of a lost pilot and a wartime photographer that will leave its mark on your soul.   In 1947, photographer and war correspondent Janey Everett arrives at a remote surfing village on the Hawaiian island of Kauai to research a planned biography of forgotten aviation pioneer Sam Mallory, who joined the loyalist forces in the Spanish Civil War and never returned. Obsessed with Sam’s fate, Janey has tracked down Irene Lindquist, the owner of a local island-hopping airline, whom she believes might actually be the legendary Irene Foster, Mallory’s onetime student and flying partner. Foster’s disappearance during a round-the-world flight in 1937 remains one of the world’s greatest unsolved mysteries.   At first, the flinty Mrs. Lindquist denies any connection to Foster. But Janey informs her that the wreck of Sam Mallory’s airplane has recently been discovered in a Spanish desert, and piece by piece, the details of Foster’s extraordinary life emerge: from the beginnings of her flying career in Southern California, to her complicated, passionate relationship with Mallory, to the collapse of her marriage to her aggressive career manager, the publishing scion George Morrow.  As Irene spins her tale to its searing conclusion, Janey’s past gathers its own power. The duel between the two women takes a heartstopping turn. To whom does Mallory rightfully belong? Can we ever come to terms with the loss of those we love, and the lives we might have lived?"

Janey Everett, an accomplished photographer and war correspondent, is visiting the gorgeous island of Kauai.  While here, she hopes to research and write her book on Sam Mallory, a famous aviator who went off to fight in the Spanish Civil War and was never seen again.  While on Kauai, Janey hopes to find Irene Lindquist, who she believes is the one-and-only Irene Foster, who was once Mallory's flight student as well as eventual flight partner turned lover.  Irene has been hiding out from the world, but Janey hopes to track her down and have her answer some questions about Sam's illustrious life.  Except the problem is that Irene Lindquist might not be the famous Irene Foster, who flew around the world in 1937, but then went missing.  Janey has a hunch though and hopes to get some answers.  The fact that Sam's plane was finally found in a Spanish desert will hopefully intrigue her and get her to open up.  Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams is a compelling story that undoubtedly makes you think about Amelia Earhart.  The novel is filled with some great historical details as well as aviation details all the while keeping you flipping the pages about all the unanswered questions.

The characters are very interesting in Her Last Flight. Janey is quite persistent, so when she tracks down Irene, she really tries to get to the bottom of things. Once she gets Irene to admit her identity, she is able to fill us in on Sam.  I really like how Williams used excerpts from Janey's novel, Aviatrix, to also fill in the blanks regarding Sam and Irene. I especially enjoyed the details regarding  how they met, how they became flight partners, and their inevitable romance.  I found myself rooting for Irene and Sam's relationship despite the major roadblocks ahead and I also enjoyed their many adventures.

Williams put a lot of research into Her Last Flight. Even though it isn't biographical fiction, I still couldn't help but make connections to Amelia Earhart.  I think it's an interesting reimagining of Amelia's life and her disappearance.  Also, the details surrounding aviation were also really fascinating, and of course I loved the Hawaiian setting and other tropical settings as well as the details regarding surfing. 

Her Last Flight isn't one of my favorite of Beatriz Williams's novels as I really didn't care about the characters as much as I was hoping; nonetheless, it is a solid historical "beach read" and perfect for fans of aviation as well as adventure.  You can't help but wonder what happened to Amelia once you are done reading Her Last Flight and only hope that this is her story.  

Are you a fan of Beatriz Williams? Is Her Last Flight on your TBR list? Do you enjoy books about aviation? Let me know in the comments below. 


  1. I'm really looking forward to this one!

    1. I think you'll like it! I look forward to your thoughts. Thanks for visiting, Angela.

  2. Beatriz Williams is someone I am pretty sure I will like. I have read her first book but nothing since then.

    1. You should definitely check her out again! Thanks for visiting, Marg.

  3. This story sounds so interesting. Another book to add to my list. Thank you!

  4. This one sounds so good, I can't wait to read it!

    1. I look forward to your thoughts on this book, Michele! I think you'll like it. Thanks for dropping by!


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