Member Reviews

This is another fantastic historical fiction novel from Sara Ackerman. I love the dual timelines in this book and the way she eventually brings them together. I was particularly intrigued with Livy's story and how she fought to become a pilot in a male dominated field and participated in the dangerous Dole race. Wren also had to overcome her own challenges in a different era and I liked how much her inheritance came to mean to her. I enjoyed the beautiful descriptions of Hawaii and Sara always makes me feel like I was just there.

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I recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction and/or fierce female protagonists. This is a solid 5 stars for me!

While the story of Olivia West, specifically, isn't true, this book is heavily based on a true story. And the author does a great job, upon completion of the book, giving an overview of the actual happenings of Dole Derby and the race across the pacific to Hawaii in the 1920s.

Olivia West is a powerful character. She is inspirational! She will move you, uplift you, and leave you absolutely adoring her! If you're trying hard to, you can see the end of the book coming; but it doesn't change that it truly touches you and makes you actually really proud of how the story ends. Go, Wren!

With short hints of a love story for a number of characters, this book is mostly about driven females discovering their hobbies, dreams, and what they love and going after it! A must read by all!!

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Olivia West is a pilot with a dream- she wants to travel the skies. She finds the Dole Air Race, a flying contest to be the first to fly from the west coast to Hawaii. But she soon finds out that only men will be able to fly and she applies to be a navigator for one of the pilots. She ends up doing a lot of the flying when he becomes incapacitated and she’s excited to have had the chance.

Wren Summers is down in her luck when she finds out she’s inherited a remote plot of land in Hawaii. There’s not much there but a rundown barn. She was going to sell it, but she has found a lot of interesting aviation artifacts hidden in the barn. She needs to find out what these things are from.

I really loved this dual timeline story! I especially loved Olivia; she had big dreams and fought for what she wanted, even against her parents’ wishes. Her ambition was admirable and she was determined to get into the race no matter what. I found Wren’s side a little slow, but it really picks up near the end. I always love all the Hawaiian history and I hope to one day see it in person.

Thank you @_mira_books and @saraackermanbooks for my gifted ebook. Olivia West is out now!

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I loved the dual timeline/pov and how they complimented one another. It had action, mystery, and a little bit of romance. I didn’t expect to like Wren’s timeline as much after the way Olivia’s started but it ended up being such a heartwarming addition to an already strong story based on true events. I can’t think about one without the other. I enjoyed following everything about the race, from the tests they had to pass to the actual flight to Hawaii. The emotions were high during and after the race. I love reading about women who break into more traditional male roles in historical fiction and this one was great.

Thank you @saraackermanbooks @_mira_books_ and @suzyapprovedbooktours for the gifted copy.

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A wonderfully written dual timeline story about an ambitious young Olivia West, who strives to be as recognized as a female pilot as her male counterparts. The second timeline is about a young women at the crossroads of her life, down in the dumps, Wren. Wren inherits some property in Hawaii and her part in the story is finding her way via learning about the very ambitious Olivia and her past. Loved the characters and I would call this book both historical fiction and women's fiction

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Admittedly, I have always been a huge fan of stories about the early days of aviation, in particular when it involves women. I’m pretty sure I read the children’s biography of Amelia Earhart at least a dozen times as a kid.

Olivia West satisfied absolutely everything I love about stories of feminism, ambition, independence, and courage.

It is a due time line, one in 1927 at the start of the famous Dole race from California to Hawaii, the race that opened up Hawaii to the world. Based on real history, the author creates some very compelling fictional characters, one who is Olivia West, a top notch pilot who has to fight her way into the race as a navigator.

The second time line is of Wren, a biracial Hawaiian woman, who is at a crossroads of her life (recently dumped, her work as an artist unnoticed, her lonely family life) and inherits a great-aunt’s property on the Big Island. This jumpstarts the confluence of the two plot lines.

At times the story felt too long. At times the connections felt too convenient, or the love stories a bit saccharine. But I adored ALL the characters and they kept me turning pages voraciously. If you like adventure mixed in with history and love, this book is for you.

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I really enjoyed the characters in this book and the history behind it. It was about a topic, the Dole Air Race, that I had not only never read about, but did not even know about. I loved the strong female characters and the dual timelines. Both were fascinating and their connection was great to read about. Most of the characters in the book were great - strong, well developed and important to the story. The research that went into writing this was clear from the start. My only complaint is that at times the book felt slow and wordy. I found myself skipping over parts - and did not seem to miss much in doing so, especially in the beginning of the book. That being said, once I hit the 30-40% mark, I was fully invested in not only the story but the characters as individuals.

Thank you netgalley for my advanced reader copy.

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Author Sara Ackerman was born in Hawai’i and loves to tell stories set on the island. This one takes place in two timelines, but mostly in 1927 where Liv (Olivia West) is hoping to learn to fly and participate in a race to Hawai’i. The second story takes place in 1987 when Wren inherits land in Hawai’i and discovers a couple of planes in a barn and wants to learn more about whose they belonged to and hear their stories.

The author’s note mentions the idea for this book is based on the Dole Air Race (or Dole Derby) in 1927. In that race, no women officially entered the race as a pilot, one woman was a passenger, but Ackerman wanted to imagine a story in which a woman did. Like this story, some of the planes had difficulties and some didn’t ever make it past takeoff.

It is interesting to think about this history, early flights over oceans and how women were perceived during this time. I enjoyed both timelines and the way that the two timelines ended up coming together.

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The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West is a dual timeline story, based upon real events. in 1927,Olivia West is a teenage girl and the daughter of a fisherman from San Diego who desperately wants to learn to fly. She works, or rather volunteers, doing odd jobs at a flight school hoping one day she would get a chance to train to be a pilot, and eventually gets the chance. She wants to enter a dangerous air race from California to Hawaii, that takes twenty-seven hours. Only men are allowed to enter, so she accepts a position as a navigator. Being a pilot as well, pays off for Olivia and the pilot she was flying with. In the 1987 timeline, we meet Wren Summers, who inherits a remote piece of land on the Big Island. There is no house, just an old barn and some trees. She plans to sell the land, and live on the money she makes. While checking out the barn, she finds a piece of aviation history, and sets out to uncover Olivia's story.

I do enjoy a book where I learn something and this book does just that. The events this book was based on resulted in only two planes completing the race, with some disappearing. Olivia is a fictional character, but the events were real. Olivia is adventurous, perseverant and loves to fly. She won't take no for an answer, so figures out a way to participate. The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West is a mix of historical fiction and women's fiction. As with many dual timeline stories, I enjoyed the past story more than the present, as it had more adventure and kept me on the edge of my seat. I wanted to see how Olivia would fare and if she would make it to Hawaii. There were themes of women breaking into traditional men's roles, friendship, women supporting one another and a bit of romance. The secondary characters added a lot to the story and were all strong characters as well. If you enjoy a good, well researched historical fiction, or a dual timeline story, then I recommend you pick this one up.

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I always appreciate a story about a trailblazer and was rooting for Livy from the get go. It’s frustrating that she had so many hoops to jump through to participate in the Dole Air Race but good for her for her amazing persistence and stamina. I was on the edge of my seat during the harrowing flight. The dual timelines and stories worked well and I really enjoyed the parts of the story that took place in Hawaii. I’m always a sucker for a good canine character and loved Wren’s kind heart for the stray dog she befriended. The author’s note was a fantastic way to close out this page turner.

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I love Sara Ackerman’s writing and this novel has my favorite plot sequencing of past/present timelines. Ms. Ackerman’s writing is always engaging and her characters well developed. I loved the character of Livy and I’m sure you will, too!

Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!

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I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. Review based on final copy. All opinions are my own.
Sara Ackerman once again delivers a solid historical fiction set in Hawaii with The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West, albeit this time pivoting away from World War II to a new, lesser known event: the Dole Air Race, also known as the Dole Derby. I was surprised to learn about this, as while I admit I’m not super knowledgeable about local history, I’m surprised this never came up before in school, even in passing, given how tragic it was. But Ackerman gives the event its due, capturing the gravitas of the tragic bits, while also paying tribute to those who participated. I also liked how, while the story is fictionalized, the story serves to acknowledge the contributions of women to early aviation.
Olivia “Livy” West is a compelling heroine. I immediately resonated with her fearlessness and ambition, and I loved watching her come into her own as she made her dreams reality, even with massive odds, first being from a lower class upbringing and having to work odd jobs to afford training, and then in the race itself with all the challenges she and her fellow pilot, Felix, encounter.
I wasn’t sure about Wren at first, as while she has a solid story in her own right, with family issues, her boyfriend recently having cheated on her, and trying to get by as a struggling artist, the connection to Olivia’s story felt very tenuous at first, so I wasn’t expecting much from her arc. And her chapters were initially more spaced out between Livy’s, so the connection came about quite slowly. But as the connection became clearer, I became more engaged, and I loved how it all came together by the end.
This is a solid and original historical novel, and I’d recommend it to readers looking for historical fiction with new/less discussed settings.

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The fictional account of a real life race to fly from the West Coast to Hawaii as told from a woman’s perspective. Livy not only wants to fly, but she wants to win this race for her family. There are stumbling blocks around the way and the foremost among them is that people simply don’t think a woman is capable of flying much less accomplishing such a feat. This book is filled with tragedy, love, heroics, and most importantly believe in oneself. Grateful to NetGalley and the publisher for the read.

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I’ve read several of this author’s books and have enjoyed each one. They are usually set in Hawaii like this one but usually has World War II as its basis, but I really loved the story of the Dole Air Race.

The two timelines of 1927 and 1987 told the story of two women…one wanting to go across the Pacific, the other trying to find herself after a bad break up and getting a surprise inheritance.

Well written and entertaining in both timelines.

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Olivia West is a heroine to root for! A strong willed and capable pilot she is underestimated by those around her, but has the chance to prove her abilities as navigator in the 1927 Dole Derby. Vivid characters and real life drama keep this fictionalized tale true to the period. Dual timeline adds to the unfolding story as Wren, a young woman seeking purpose, discovers the story of Olivia West and revives the legend for a new era.

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Like Sara Ackerman's other books, the history of The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West is of Hawaii. This is the first I have read that is not centered around World War II. This book builds on 1920s history of the Dole Air Race. The pacing of the book is a little uneven, but ultimately it leaves the memory of a sweet story and a knowledge of a unique little snippet of history.

Read my complete review at

Reviewed for NetGalley and a publisher’s blog tour.

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Thank you to the publisher, Harlequin Trade Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Fearless young pilot Olivia West wants nothing more than to take part in the 1927 Dole Air Race, a race across the Pacific from the West Coast to Hawaii. But flying is a field very much dominated by men and Olivia soon realizes there’s no way she will be allowed to qualify. In a last effort to be a part of it, she becomes a navigator for one of the pilots on this dangerous crossing to Hawaii. Sixty years later, Wren Summers inherits several acres of land in a remote part of the Big Island and plans to sell it and use the money to live on. But when she arrives to inspect the place, she finds an old barn where several interesting objects are stored that will reveal an unknown piece of history and lead her path to cross with Olivia’s.

Sara Ackerman has become an auto-read author for me over the last couple of years and I always enjoy her historical fiction novels, so I signed up for this blog tour immediately!

I’d never heard of the Dole Air Race before this and had no historical context when reading this book, which in a way was good as it’s more fun sometimes to just discover the story as it unfolds without constantly comparing it to the historical facts I know about the events.

The concept behind this book was definitely a fascinating one. It’s not the first book with the air race premise I’ve read – Stateless was similar, but the focus there was more on the mystery aspect. Here, the actual flight mechanics and the experience of a dangerous crossing was front and center and I really appreciated how much detail the book went into. The author did a marvellous job of setting the scene and raising the tension throughout the story and once the race began, it felt like I was right there next to the pilots on their flight.

The second timeline however, was rather lacklustre and I didn’t enjoy it. There’s wasn’t much action and all the interesting stuff was happening in the 1927 timeline, which made this much slower in comparison and after the first couple of chapters, I was speed reading through these just to get back to what was going on in the race.

This was a very easy to read book as is always the case with this author’s books and I flew through it in under 3 hours. The pacing was somewhat choppy though, starting off slowly, then progressing to the excitement of the race and then becoming slower again. In the future timeline, the plotline wasn’t really working for me, and I found the pacing to be on the slower side.

Olivia was a likeable character, determined and fearless, and it was very easy to root for her. Wren on the other hand, was a character who simply did not hold my interest and I ended up skimming so much of her POV chapters.

I liked the way Olivia’s story ended and the way the future timeline tied up those last few unanswered questions. One thing I didn’t understand is the very odd pacing of the plot. The race took until around the 30% mark to start and was finished before the 70% mark with very little excitement left after that which is what lowered my rating for this book.

Overall, this was a fun read and I enjoyed learning about this bit of history that I’m definitely looking forward to reading more about. I would recommend this book for historical fiction fans!

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I really enjoyed this story! It's a dual timeline story set in 1927 with Olivia (Livy West) who loves to fly, is an excellent pilot and navigator, and is trying to participate in the Dole Race (a fictional character in a real-life race. The other timeline is 1987 with Wren Summers who just inherited a barn on some land in Hawaii from her great aunt. She heads out there to decide what to do with it and ends up uncovering a mystery there with the help of the people at an old folks home nearby. She also learns more about her family history on her Dad's side.

I enjoyed the stories in both timelines and felt that they both fit together very well. It was an interesting read learning about Livy who wanted to fly so badly, no matter what the risk. Since it was the beginning days of flying there was much more risk than nowadays. I learned about the Dole Air Race, or Dole Derby a deadly race from CA to Hawaii back in 1927. I enjoyed Wren's story as well as she decides what to do about her property and uncovers the mystery of Livy West and her family background. I definitely want to read more by this author.

Thanks to Harlequin Trade, Netgalley, and the author of this story.

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I absolutely loved this book! Set in the late 20s around aviation, after Lindbergh’s flight, this book covers a female aviator and her dream of flying. Set in two time periods and two POVs; I loved this different era!

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I received an advance reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. This novel was interesting and I enjoyed learning about this aviator during the early days of flying. But I didn't find the story as engaging and the character development to be as well rounded as I was hoping. I'm sure this story will appeal to a wide variety of readers, but I found it underwhelming. More character motivation would be helpful to assist the reader in becoming captivated with the plot/protagonist.

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