The Flying Circus

  • by Susan Crandall
  • Narrated by Jacques Roy
  • 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling and award-winning author of Whistling Past the Graveyard comes an adventure tale about two daredevils and a farmboy who embark on the journey of a lifetime across America's heartland in the Roaring '20s.
Set in the rapidly changing world of 1920s America, this is a story of three people from very different backgrounds: Henry "Schuler" Jefferson, son of German immigrants from Midwestern farm country; Cora Rose Haviland, a young woman of privilege whose family has lost their fortune; and Charles "Gil" Gilchrist, an emotionally damaged WWI veteran pilot. Set adrift by life-altering circumstances, they find themselves bound together by need and torn apart by blind obsessions and conflicting goals. Each one holds a secret that, if exposed, would destroy their friendship. But their journey of adventure and self-discovery has a price - and one of them won't be able to survive it.
As they crisscross the heartland, exploring the rapidly expanding role of aviation from barnstorming to bootlegging, from a flying circus to the dangerous sport of air racing, the three companions form a makeshift family. It's a one-of-a-kind family, with members as adventurous as they are vulnerable and as fascinating as they are flawed. But whatever adventure - worldly or private - they find themselves on, they're guaranteed to be a family you won't forget.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Another great book from Susan Crandall.

All three of these people are flawed and affected by the First World War; these three are so different yet form a family of sorts. There were times Cora bothered me because she had to push and push but she was so far ahead of her time that she had to because no one ever listened to a woman or talked about anything serious to her she may get the vapors( insert sarcasticon here). And there were times it felt like she was playing Henry and Gil and other times I thought she was just naïve. Gil was a flyer in WWI but doesn’t like talking about his time at war, Henry lost his brother in the war and lost the rest of his family he ended up an orphan until Mr.Dahlgren took him in over his wife’s objections but things went terribly wrong there and now Henry is on the run from the police. Cora’s mother and father were rich NY socialites until the money was gone, her father died and she lost a brother to the war too. Cora rides her brother’s motorcycle and invites herself along with Gil and Henry, these 3 lost souls setting out on an adventure. All 3 are also keeping a secret and the reveal of these secrets is a slow burn and makes for a great story.

I truly enjoyed this book, I didn’t know much about barnstorming and how they got crowds and how much traveling they did and inner workings of PR in the 1920’s was interesting, this is not the age of viral videos and Facebook events, most of the time they could even afford posters and would just show up do a few tricks and hope people would show up willing to give their hard earned money for a chance to ride in a plane.

I came to care about these three people and was completely attached to them so when secrets started getting out and things happened I was so involved that my heart hurt for them! Susan Crandall has a knack for writing characters that you care about so much and it is hard when the book ends because you don’t want to let these people go. I can’t wait to see what she writes next!

Narrator Jacques Roy is a new to me narrator however I am now a fan, I thought he did a great job with male, female, different accents and general storytelling. I would definitely listen to another book narrated by him.

5 stars
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- MissSusie66 "MissSusie"

Let's go fly!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would have added more details about aviation, that was pretty light. I felt like it was written from a tour at a museum and some old movies, did not really give me a strong sense of the planes and era (I should add I'm an early aviation historian so I might come in with more knowledge than others and what was provided might be enough for lay people). That lack of depth also turned Gil into a bit of a cliche


How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

It was quite enjoyable, that doesn't need fixing. Maybe more romance.


What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

He was a good reader whose performance did not get in the way of the story- you know how sometimes you listen to a book going "ooo, good voice, like what he's doing with that part of the story," This one blended into the background. Except at the change of chapters. Each time he started a new chapter, his voice was stronger and sounded like a different reader. I actually looked to see if it was a two narrator book.


Do you think The Flying Circus needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No, all loose ends were tied up


Any additional comments?

The problem with the book was Henry set himself up as an unreliable narrator and while it comes out why, you still doubt everything he says and the book feels untrustworthy so when you get to the end, it feels a bit shallow.

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- Pamela "Walking Gal"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-07-2015
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio