Cover Image: The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West

The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West

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Member Reviews

The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West, by Sara Ackerman

Thank you to Harlequin Books and NetGalley for an Advance Reader’s Copy

This historical novel set in 20th century Hawaii and describing early aviation is an easy and entertaining read, if somewhat predictable. The dual story lines toggle between Olivia West, in 1927, and Wren Summers, in 1987. Both are rather unconventional young women in their early twenties, whose dreams and lifestyles do not fit the usual norms.

In 1927 Olivia is a rare woman aviator who manages to join a flying contest, the Dole Derby, as a navigator, making one of the first flights between California and Hawaii. (The Dole Derby was a real event, and some of the characters were actual contenders, though there were no women pilots.) In 1987 Wren is an artist, a designer of lighting fixtures in wood and glass, who is not doing well financially and inherits a large piece of deserted land on one of the islands.

There is some romance as well as suspense as the two young women find – or make – their places in the world, including their links to one another. The writing is both brisk and evocative, reflecting Olivia’s crises and adventures and Wren’s emotional growth in her new home. Young adult readers interested in women's history and aviation might especially enjoy it.

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Sara Ackerman does it again! I love her vivid books and detailed stories. Olivia West is a hero — “classy and classic”! I learned so much about navigation when it comes to airplanes AND boats! I love historical fiction because I learn so much, and this book is no exception. I learned SO much, and I honestly had NO idea about the Dole Derby. At all. I just learned a huge piece of history when it comes to the history of aviation. I couldn’t get through this book fast enough. I was even reading it in the shower!

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Such an excellent book! Sara Ackerman twines together two stories that converge in the most fascinating way. The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West is a treasure that I didn’t want to end.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing for the opportunity to read this amazing ARC.

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This story quickly became one of those that I never wanted to end! Oh, how I love Olivia West and her bravery! Fans of historical fiction, women’s fiction, and reading excellent books will enjoy this! I absolutely loved the ending. Perfection in a book!

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I like everything this author writes and this was no exception. I learned so much about women’s aviation and the time period it was a really good book
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review the book

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“The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West” by Sara Ackerman was one of the most exciting and beautifully written books I have read. I predict this will be a bestseller for Ms. Ackerman without hesitation. It is the story of the tragic Dole Air Race which took place in 1927. I must admit that I was on the edge of my seat following the harrowing description of what it must have felt like crossing the pacific to Hawaii in an aircraft of that time. The story takes place in dual time frames and tells the story of two heroines whose past and present eventually intersect to bring the story full circle. Both stories will touch your heart and keep you riveted to every page. I highly recommend this book!

Thank you NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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I thank you so much for the opportunity to read and review this book!

While the writing was lovely, the storyline and characters just weren’t for me. I couldn’t get invested in it, or get into a groove with the characters.

My apologies!

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️From Harlequin Trade Publishing : 1927. Olivia "Livy" West is a fearless young pilot with a love of adventure. She yearns to cross oceans and travel the skies. When she learns of the Dole Air Race—a high-stakes contest to be the first to make the 2,400 mile Pacific crossing from the West Coast to Hawai'i—she sets her sights on qualifying. Livy manages to be picked as a navigator for one of the pilots, before setting out on a harrowing journey that some will not survive.

1987. Wren Summers is down to her last dime when she learns she has inherited a remote piece of land on the Big Island with nothing on it but a dilapidated barn and an overgrown mac nut grove. She plans on selling it and using the money to live on, but she is drawn in by the mysterious objects kept in the barn by her late great-uncle—clues to a tragic piece of aviation history lost to time.

Determined to find out what really happened all those years ago, Wren enlists the help of residents at a nearby retirement home to uncover Olivia’s story piece by piece. What she discovers is more earth-shattering, and closer to home, than she could have ever imagined.
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My review: Again, I love historical fiction! Olivia West was a version of Amelia Earhart, who I was obsessed with at one point in my childhood. Olivia did what hardly any person, much less a woman (gasp!) could do. She flew planes, she took on challenges, she was a better navigator than any man, and she was brave in the face of certain death. The Dole Derby was a real race with similar wins and losses as in this novel. Olivia was not a real person. (I did my research!)
Modern day Wren is trying to find her way. And by taking over an old family plot of land, working hard, doing some research, and meeting a bunch of new people, and being determined she finds herself. The switch between 1927 and modern times was seamless and built suspense.
Loved the storyline and how two women "came together" generations apart through Wren's determination. I really felt for both women and hoped so hard for their happiness and success. And I got teary at the end of the book...which hasn't happened in a while.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thank you for NetGalley and Harlequin Trade for an advance digital copy of the book in exchange for my review.

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This was a good book about women and what they are capable of. A story of adventure and love and courage.

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This novel kept me turning the pages until well into the night. A beautiful braided story that has it all, heart-stopping drama and heart-wrenching romance. The author writes about Hawai'i as only someone who was born and raised here can. And the fact that it is all based on true events makes it even more compelling. I highly recommend this well written, beautiful story.

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The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West is a lovely, heart-tugging and exciting novel that fictionalizes a real-life air race that was loaded from top to bottom with disasters and drama.

We are presented with two timelines. In 1987, sculptress Wren Summers finds herself landing on The Big Island. Her father disappeared years ago, her relationship with her mother is strained due to Wren’s perceived immaturity, and she has no roots holding her in Kaimuki. Desperate, in arrears with her rent after being fired from her day job and ending a bad relationship, the property she has inherited from her Great Aunt Portia provides a new start. A start Wren will get once she sells the land, barn, and untended macadamia grove. But while clearing the property, she stumbles upon a stray dog – and comes to realize the disused barn she’s inherited is no barn at all, but an airplane hanger, complete with plane. Further clues left behind by her late great uncle send Wren on a quest to uncover the truth about Livy West, the 1920s aviatrix tied to the plane. Wren makes friends with the denizens of the local senior center, who help her figure out Livy’s backstory. She also meets a handsome rancher named Pono Willard, who shows her the possibility of true love may still exist for her. Along the way, Wren will lean some surprising secrets about herself.

In 1927, fisherman’s daughter Olivia – Livy - West wants nothing more than to see the world via plane and prove that she’s just as good at flying as any man. Unfortunately, she’s met by sexism at every turn. She declares her intent to join the Dole Air Race, but no one is willing to sponsor a woman. Instead, she ends up being selected by Felix Harding to navigate for his plane, Malolo – and she’s only a desperation hire. While her parents are extremely supportive, the rest of the world is not. She does meet a handsome pilot named Heath, but the relationship they develop is on again/off again due to Livy’s commitment to flying. As she embarks on the Dole Air Race, with 60,000 miles between her and personal victory, and hundreds of thousands of sponsorship dollars on the line, danger stalks both her and Felix – and they will witness calamiity, disaster, and even death as they fly the race route.

In case you’re curious, the stories of Wren and Livy do connect, though I won’t spoil how. The destination is half the joy here, and The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West takes its time getting there. It’s rare that I find a dual timeline novel equally enchanting and involving in both time periods, but this one manages to pull it off beautifully.

Each heroine is interesting, touching, and wonderful to spend time with. Ackerman does a fabulous job of capturing each period, lacing the prose with a lot of beautiful, small details. The rich beauty of Hawaii, the uneasy balance between its citizens and white tourists, and the feeling of life there are all beautifully depicted. Both stories will tug at the heartstrings and keep you reading. Ackerman has that specific, transporting gift that makes you feel like you’re in an airplane with the wind blowing through your hair.

The mystery here is actually pretty surprising, and unveils itself with wonder to the reader, slowly. Sure, the ending is a little creaky-cheesy, but the book pretty much earns it. It’s the only reason this book isn’t a straight-up A. But it’s definitely a DIK-level read. The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West flies high.

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I like dual timeline historicals, but am a bit surfeited with World War I and II versions. So this one, set in the 1920 and 1980s was a real treat. The settings, California and Hawaii, were decently evocative of both those places, and the glimpses into the early years of aviation were fascinating. Highly recommended for fans of this genre.

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I may be Olivia West's biggest fan. I'd never heard of the Dole Air Race before reading The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West. Within, Ackerman takes readers on a captivating and white-knuckle journey through the skies of the 1920s, showcasing the entry of women pilots and navigators into the world of aviation. The character of Wren, set in the 1980s, is the perfect addition, bringing to life a down-on-her-luck woman who charts a new path for herself. Vivid details, lush settings, romance, action, and adventure—The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West has it all and will delight historical fiction lovers.

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Sara Ackerman has always been a favorite author of mine. No matter what she writes, I know that I will be in for a treat. "The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West" was no different, and I am so grateful to Netgalley and the Publisher for this wonderful gift! It was that good. Ms. Ackerman is always delightful to read, and her plots and characters are always very original. This one I believe has been her best yet! I loved it, and I could not put it down. I highly recommend this book, and all of her others as well!

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“The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West” is a historical fiction book by Sara Ackerman. I knew about the Dole Air Race before reading this book - the dangers, the “craziness” of someone sponsoring a race, and that many lives were lost in the attempt to reach Hawaii. I rather wish that I’d read the author’s note before reading the book, because I think Ms. Ackerman’s note did a fantastic job separating the truth from fiction in such a great manner. Anyway, to the book - as is so common for me when reading dual POVs separated by time periods, I so much preferred the POV of Livy’s in the past. I never warmed up to Wren, though I wanted to. If the early days of flight interests you or a female pilot’s early days of flight interests you, you may want to pick this book up. Yes, there’s a bit of a love story in both timelines, but in Livy’s it’s rather sweet [I felt it was a bit of insta-love in Wren’s]. Plus, that cover - what a fantastic cover.

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I haven't read any Sara Ackerman before getting this book and I am so glad I requested it! The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West is one of my most favorite reads in a long time. I found the 1920s chapters to be completely captivating. I wanted more Livy!! Wren's chapters set in the 1980s slowly grew on me as the book went on and by the middle/end, I loved both characters! The pace is wonderfully done, keeping you in the action and the setting descriptions made you feel like you were IN the book. Love love love, I cant wait to recommend when it comes out in Feb 2024!

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