Paula McLain takes on the story of Beryl Markham, a woman who challenges the molds of womanhood in early 20th century Kenya. Markham was a trainer of race-horses, a pilot, and experimented in promiscuity.
Though Beryl Markham was a real person, McLain’s novel is fiction. From the opening pages, I enjoyed the author’s portrayal of Africa and Markham’s early life. But as the story progressed, (and Markham became an adult) something seemed missing. For some reason, I never could feel an attachment to any of the characters. Markham’s achievements, particularly her career as a professional horse trainer, should have been more developed. Where were the attachments to certain horses or the thrill of a great win?
I don’t think there was ever a chance I was going to like the Beryl Markham as portrayed by Paula McLain, but I could have enjoyed the book more had McLain focused more on Markham’s career and less on her shallow circle of friends.
3 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2016