A Romance of Flight
by Donald Pattillo
Mountain Arbor Press

"I suppose you could say that flyers will make the world smaller."

Bound to make an aeronautic history buff out of any reader, this fantastic work of historical fiction details early airplane designs, the Wright brothers' work, and the troubles gaining patents and financing. All this is described by the main character, Ellen Hobson, a fictional journalist who falls for Wilber Wright, though he is married to his work and is devoted to his family.

The fictional romance is entertaining, but the historical accounts of Orville and Wilber Wright, their early flying machines, and the politics/economics surrounding the early years are riveting. For example, Wilbur writes a fictional correspondence to Hobson about a true tide-turning event: "...contacted by Charles R. Flint... has already offered to pay a substantial fee for the right to represent us exclusively in all international—including French-market rights." And down the rabbit hole readers go who are inclined to learn more about Financier Charles Flint of New York, circa 1907.

With Hobson's reporting duties, readers also tie unrelated events of the times together. For example, Hobson, after reporting on the Wright brothers, interviews Titanic survivors. Many readers might not have considered that flight development and massive developments in ocean-going luxury liners were happening simultaneously.

Pattillo has a solid grasp of aviation history and shares it skillfully. He also does a superb job of portraying the attitudes toward women, and even the tone, during the early 1900s. This is exemplified in a line by Hobson's aunt: "Your assignment sounds like quite a challenge for a young lady." Like with a wonderful vacation, it is impossible to say which parts of the book will be seen in hindsight as standout favorites. Fortunately for readers, that is the enjoyable task they will have to undertake themselves.

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