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Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl
Published by Chronicle Books
Pages: 336
Ages: Middle Grade
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository
Publishers Summary:

Immediately compelling and action-packed, this carefully researched work of historical fiction introduces young readers to the childhood of the famous yet elusive Beryl Markham, the first person to fly solo from England to North America. As in her debut novel, Prisoners in the Palace, MacColl propels readers into a multilayered story with an unforgettable heroine and evocative language that brings the backdrop of colonial British East Africa to life. A fascinating read for anyone with a thirst for adventure.

Galloping into the air much like the horses she later trained, Beryl Clutterbuck Markham was a young women coming of age in a time not prepared for her vivaciousness. Growing up the only daughter of a successful farmer and horse trainer, Beryl turned to the native Nandi people in her East African home to teach her discipline and survival. Every day was an adventure filled with lions, leopards, a “step-mother”, a governess and eventually school in the city. Beryl grew from each of her experiences to become a woman revered by many, but her youth was filled with not only skepticism but danger at every turn.

Generally speaking I’m not a huge reader of historical fiction, particularly fictional stories based in reality. What I’ve loved about book reviewing has been the opportunity to stretch myself and discover something I never knew existed or that I would not normally have given a second glance. Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl was one of those such books. Initially, the thought of a middle grade novel about a young girl growing up in Africa based on the true events of Beryl Clutterbuck Markham’s life simply didn’t grab me. What I’ve discovered though is that not only was I wrong, but that I would have missed out greatly on Michaela MacColl’s writing had I passed this novel by.

Beryl was a young wild girl and were it not for her father’s concern for her future well-being as well as that of the reputation of their family she may have grown up as one of the Nandi she so loved. Her adventures of lion hunting and leaping in the air above her own head were the things most young children only dream & read about. What was fascinating was Beryl’s headstrong behavior with nearly everyone she came in contact with. It was this determination and no-nonsense sincerity that finally landed her in the cockpit of an airplane ride across the Atlantic in 1936. The story is actually told in alternating parts between her youth (around age eleven) and her adulthood centering around her actual trip. As I read both the pieces of her life slowly fell into place and it became an incredible adventure I thoroughly enjoyed.

Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl isn’t only a story about a young girl with a strong personality, but it’s a coming of age adventure most middle grade readers will thoroughly enjoy. Beryl Clutterbuck Markham’s life was an adventure a minute. She ran to the African tribe of the Nandi, had a terrible governess who beat her so much that she had to escape, she chased down and hunted wild animals, trained gorgeous horses and eventually landed in the pilot seat of a small plane. Her life inspired many and will continue to through the wonderful words of Michaela MacColl. As I said, historical fiction is not normally my cup of tea, but in the case of Pomise the Night I’m grateful I made an exception because I truly would have missed out on so much.

The1stdaughter Recommends: Ages 9 and up. A beautifully written historical fiction novel based on the life of Beryl Clutterbuck Markham. An adventure a minute that will teach young readers the importance of perseverance and discipline.

Promise the Night

Find Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | Goodreads

Thank you so much to the publisher, Chronicle Books, for providing this book for review and giveaway! Connect with them on Twitter and on Facebook!
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2 Responses to Book Review and Giveaway: Promise the Night by Michaela MacColl

  1. There’s a Book is doing a giveaway. Not a bad review of Promise the Night either!

  2. This sounds wonderful. Thanks for the review, and best of luck to the giveaway entrants!

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