Member Reviews

This is a well written, enjoyable dual timeline historical fiction novel. In 1927 Olivia West wants to fly. And specifically she wants to fly in the ill conceived Dole air race from Oakland to Honolulu. In 1987 Wren is tired of her life and smarting from being dumped by her fiancé when she inherits the property of a heretofore unknown great aunt. How these two women lives intersect is the magic ingredient of Ackerman’s well-crafted novel. Highly recommend for fans of women’s historical fiction.

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4.5 Stars

The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West is the page-turning story of a female aviator who embarks on a daring air race from California to Hawaii in 1927. Olivia is adventurous in spirit and has a passion for flying. When she hears about the Dole Air Race, she is determined to qualify and participate. In a male-dominated field, this requires a great deal of strategizing and cleverness. In a 1987 dual timeline, Wren Summers inherits a remote piece of land on the Big Island. She plans on selling it and living on the money. However, she discovers a piece of aviation history in the barn that causes her to embark on a quest to uncover Olivia’s story.

Diving into a piece of history is always a benefit of reading well-researched historical fiction. The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West is the page-turning story of a female aviator who enters a daring air race from California to Hawaii in 1927. At a time when some pilots built their planes, the flight from the West Coast to Hawaii was twenty-seven hours long! Olivia is adventurous in spirit and loves to fly. When she hears about the Dole Air Race, she is determined to qualify and participate. In a male-dominated field, this requires a great deal of persistence and determination. Olivia can fly planes but she couldn’t break into this particular male-dominated race. She ended up as a navigator. In 1927, navigators (and pilots) relied on maps, weather patterns, a compass, stars, guts, and a great deal of luck. Fortunately, Olivia could fly as well as navigate because she had to fly the plane in this race when the pilot was unable to. In the real historical event (and in this story), only two of the planes made it from California to Hawaii. Some were lost and some were forced to turn back (or never made it off the runway).

I enjoy a dual-timeline story, but often I tend to be more engaged in one over the other….and it’s usually the past timeline that is most compelling. In this story, both timelines are good but, in my opinion, the 1927 timeline is most appealing. First, the race itself is tense and risky. Whenever the story switched to the 1987 timeline, I was eager to return to 1927 to find out how Olivia fared. The 1987 timeline (set in Hawaii) could be considered women’s fiction. While enjoyable, it was slower-paced (in comparison) and it took me longer to connect with the characters. The two timelines do connect in the end in surprising and satisfying ways.

Olivia is an imagined character in the very real and historic Dole Air Race of 1927. She is high-spirited, adventurous, and loves to fly. When she hears about the Dole Air Race, she is determined to qualify and participate. In a male-dominated field, this requires a great deal of courage and negotiating. The best she’s able to do is to land a position as a navigator. She’ll take it because she’ll do anything to fly. Fortunately, she can also fly because she needs to take a turn at the controls when the pilot is incapacitated. The story is historically interesting in many ways from the description of the planes to the flight itself to the risky race to the male-dominated field. Olivia is determined, clever, passionate, trailblazing, spunky, and brave. You will enjoy this likable, unforgettable, and inspirational character.

Thoughtful themes include defying the odds, going after what you want, trailblazing, starting over, and friendship.

If you are looking for a histic/women’s fiction mashup, Sara Ackerman does this well! A side of romance is usually an element in Sara Ackerman’s stories. The romances never overwhelm the story because there is always other substantial content. In this story, I enjoyed the slow-burn potential romance mixed with a spirit of competition in the 1927 timeline more than the insta-love of the 1987 timeline. I appreciate Ackerman for her closed-door romances.

Sara Ackerman is on my auto-buy author list, and I’m an Ackerman completist. Her histfic stories are set in Hawaii (what’s not to love?!). They are well-researched histfic and contain elements of friendship, women supporting women, thoughtful themes, and sweet romance. The stories are filled with vivid descriptive details and memorable characters. I can recommend them to anyone. Although I’ve enjoyed them all, my very favorite is Radar Girls.

I can enthusiastically recommend any of Sara Ackerman’s books and The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West is no exception. Fans of histfic/women’s fiction, aviation history, and inspiring characters will enjoy this one!

Welcome to my stop on the HTP Winter 2024 Blog Tour for The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West. Thanks #NetGalley @HTPBooks for a complimentary e ARC of #TheUnchartedFlightOfOliviaWest upon my request. All opinions are my own.

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I loved this book about the Dole Derby! I had never heard of this historic race before so I was curious to find out more about it. The overall story was about taking risks and getting a second chance at love. It jumped back and forth between 1927 and 1987 with each chapter ending in a cliffhanger. As I read I kept asking myself when the two times lines would connect. I was pleasantly surprised at how they connected. I loved the characters! Livy was so determined to make it across the Pacific to Hawaii to prove she was a worthy opponent. Wren was such a wild card but also determined to make her place in the wilds of the Big Island. I loved the surprise Wren gave to Livy at the end. It was the perfect ending! Book discussion questions are included. This would be a great pick for Historical Fiction fans or book clubs looking for a new historical event!

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing for the ARC in exchange for my honest review!

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A fantastic dual timeline historical fiction mystery/romance set in the 1920s and 1980s that focuses on the life of a young aspiring female pilot, Olivia 'Livy' West as she yearns to compete in the Dole Air Race. Unfortunately it quickly becomes apparent only male pilots will qualify for the cross Pacific race but she manages to earn a spot as navigator with another pilot. What follows is a tale of adventure and romance that was great on audio. I've loved the author's WWII stories but it was refreshing to read about a different time in history. Highly recommended especially for fans of stories like Great circle by Maggie Shipstead. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy in exchange for my honest review!

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This was a great dual time period historical novel! In 1927, the story is about title character Livy, who is a female pilot at the dawn of aviation trying to enter a contest to be the first to fly from California to Hawaii. And in 1987, it centers on Wren, who after a break up and losing her job, finds out she has inherited property on the big island of Hawaii from a relative she barely knew, and moves there from Oahu to try to start over. And eventually we find out what the connection is between the two stories.

I really enjoyed this one! You know how in some dual time period books you enjoy one story way more than the other? Well not in this one - I loved both and honestly could have read a whole book about either/both Livy or Wren. I’ve read and also really enjoyed three of Sara Ackerman’s prior books, all of which are also set in Hawaii but during WWII - but I think this might be my favorite one yet!

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Emma has just had a bad breakup, been kicked out of her apartment and she just doesn’t know what she wants to do in her life. However, she just learned she has inherited a piece of land from her uncle. So, maybe her luck is changing.

In 1927 Olivia Jones is a woman in a man’s world. She is determined to fly airplanes. When she hears of the Dole race, she jumps at the chance to fly from the coast of California to the Hawaiian Islands. Things do not go quite as planned.

These two ladies are so intriguing! I love Livy for her tenacity and her goals! And Emma, well Emma is struggling. But my heart went out to her on so many occasions!

I enjoyed everything about this tale. This is told in two different time lines, 1927 and 1987. And now that it has marinated a little in my brain, I think I liked the 1987 part just a tad better. I enjoyed Emma’s search for herself and her past.

Need a captivating, historical novel…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today.

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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Dual timeline historical fiction involving family secrets for one woman in 1987 and another woman grits her way into the all-male world of 1927 aviation and a race of a lifetime. The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West fired my cylinders and had me going full throttle through the pages on a voyage of adventure and discovery for both women. I’ve only read three previous Sara Ackerman books, but since they all tend to elicit the same response from me, I think it is safe to call her an auto-buy author these days.

I don’t always cotton to both timelines in this sort of story equally and that was the case for The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West…At first.

In 1987, Wren Summers’ life has fallen to the very bottom from her boyfriend cheating and expecting her to suck it up, to her rent due and getting fired, to her mom being distant and her art not selling. Learning she’s inherited land from her long abandoning dad’s side of the family over on the ‘Big’ Island sets her on a path of discovery for that whole lost side to her heritage and an attractive local rancher. I was interested and rooting on Wren to claw her way up, but I confess; it was Livy’s story that had me utterly fascinated and intrigued in the beginning and for much of the book.

In 1927, Livy West is a rare female commercial pilot. She grew up in San Diego and the daughter of a fisherman who taught her heaps about marine weather and navigation which she brought with her along with the grit to get taught how to fly to the local air strip. In those brief early years, a young adventurous pilot taught her a great deal about flying and first love- along with first disappointment, but she’s toughened up and now wants in on the Dole Race with its big prize and the chance to prove what she’s got, if only she can get in the race. I loved seeing her do what she had to do, even if it meant taking a chance on a guy and plane no sane person would and even if it meant that her competition included her first love and some other pretty big names among whom is someone ruthless enough to win at all costs.

The prep for the race, the race itself, and what happened all rushed forward in a tale growing in suspense and rising action. I was racing my bedtime and had zero desire, exhausted as I was, to put the book down. I felt I was in it to win it with both Wren and Livy so I stuck it out into the wee hours. The payoff for both sides of the book which do eventually land together was utter satisfaction after a few doubtful moments that either woman would win what they wanted.

And so, another page of Hawaiian history comes alive with the Dole Race and the lush Hawaiian settings and early days of aviation and planes were equally vibrant backdrops to rival the characters and plot. Loved this women’s history adventure with a dash of romance and suspense and can’t recommend it enough to long time historical fiction lovers to those warily wondering if it’s for them.

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Happy Pub Day The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West by Sara Ackerman! What a book! To say I LOVED IT is not enough. It was everything, especially for fans of Historical fiction.

This extraordinary novel, inspired by real events, tells the story of a female aviator who defies the odds to embark on a daring air race across the Pacific.

It goes back and forth between 1927 for Olivia "Livy" West extraordinary tales as a fearless young pilot with a love of adventure. Then to 1987 for Wren Summers, who is down to her last dime and has inherited a remote piece of land on the Big Island. This set up kept me guessing at how these 2 women were connected. No spoilers here!

As the story continued, I was wrapped up in the Dole Derby from San Fransisco to Hawaii. Oh my goodness my heart was racing! Livy was such a remarkable & courageous character.

A quote that really stood out from Olivia’s father ~ “Misfortune is part of life, and it’s not our job to stop it. Our job is to keep living with everything we have.”

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Another stellar histfic novel by one of my favorite authors, with her most spectacular cover yet! I love how Ackerman uses her intimate knowledge of Hawaii to make the real-life 1927 Dole Air Race from California to the islands come fully alive.

We feel we are there with fictional character Olivia (Livy) West, who participates as a navigator (women were banned as pilots) in the dangerous race 2,400 miles across the Pacific that some did not survive.

A dual timeline with character Wren in 1987, who discovers a surprising link to the race, adds depth to this compelling story that grips the reader with romance and tragedy, triumph and tears. Highly recommended!

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Happy Pub Day to The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West! I was absolutely charmed by this story, and now I can't wait to dive into Ackerman's backlist titles!

Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for the ARC.

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A 3.5 from me! I don't know a whole lot about the history of aviation and this was such an interesting read! I enjoyed the dual timelines but I feel like they could've joined a bit sooner in the book. Loved Wren's character and Olivia's was good too.

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Title: The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West
Author: Sara Ackerman
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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. But it soon becomes clear that only men will make the cut. In a last-ditch effort to take part, 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.

I enjoyed this so much! The air race itself was terrifying to me---I’m claustrophobic and afraid of heights—but the story was fantastic. I loved Olivia’s sheer determination and guts, and I loved Wren’s adventurous spirit. The two of them were woven together so well, and I was eager to get to each chapter and find out what was going to happen. Loved the adventures, the secondary characters, and the romances, too. Highly recommend this read!

Sara Ackerman is a bestselling author. The Uncharted Flight of Olivia West is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin/MIRA in exchange for an honest review.)

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I have thoroughly enjoyed Sara Ackerman's previous novels and was intrigued by this one as it wasn't centered around WW2. This was an amazing story about two women in dual time lines set in 1927 and 1987. The 1927 plot focused on Olivia West, a fearless young woman who let nothing stop her from getting her pilot's license, and joined the Dole Air Race from Oakland, CA to Hawaii as a navigator. It was no easy feat to pass the tests and judgment just to join the race, especially as a woman. The 1987 plot centered on Wren Summers, an artist who was struggling with life and love, but learned she just inherited land in Hawaii. She had to go see it before deciding on selling it.
Olivia is a fictional character, but she exhibits all the strength, skill, and intelligence of so many of the other trailblazing women of the era. She did not like to take no for an answer and between her father and a boyfriend, she learned how to fly, read the night sky, and navigate like an old sailor. I was drawn into her character because she didn't back down from all the men who thought women couldn't or shouldn't fly.
Wren found her backbone in Hawaii when she fell in love the land and maybe with a local mechanic who helped her along the way. I could picture the land and the barn details and would love to own them myself.
I love when authors carefully craft two plot lines and eventually weave them together. There were a few breadcrumbs along the way, but I was a little surprised how this all came together and I loved it. I won't give any more details in my review because I like I don't like to read spoilers or give away too many details.
If you are looking for a fun, entertaining, inspiring story, and you like flight and Hawaii, I highly recommend this book for you!
Thank you Harlequin Trade Publishing and Net Galley for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

Review will be posted in Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter/X, and when allowed, on Amazon. I will post about it on various Facebook groups as well.

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Olivia made me think of Amelia Earhart, one the pioneer of aviation and an exceptional woman. Olivia wants to fly and win her battle.
Wren is the one who will discover the solution to an old mystery and the story of Olivia.
I was moved, smiled, rooted for these women and wanted to learn more hoping for a king of HEA for Olivia too.
A well plotted and compelling story, a good historical fiction.
i think it pays homage to one of my favorite XX century woman, one who thought out of the box and was lost somewhere in the ocean. It also made me discover a piece of history of aviation, Dole Air Race, and the dramatic destiny of a lot of participants.
Loved it, well done.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Fans of the dual time line novel will enjoy this tale of Olivia and Wren, two women separated by 60 years. In 1927, Olivia is determined to fly- and she manages to become the navigator for a plane in the Dole Race between the California and Hawaii. This is gripping stuff, as she struggles to first help the pilot and then pilot herself. Wren, an artist, in 1987 inherits a property on the Big Island from a relative she barely knew. She uncovers a mystery and, with the help of Pono, a large handsome (of course) man begins to restore what she thought she would sell. You, like me might figure out how these two intersect but Ackerman does have a few surprises tucked away toward the end. Wren's story is trope-y to be honest (especially with regard to Pono) but the Hawaiian setting and Pa'aa the dog help. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC. A good read.

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What a great book!!
The story revolves around Olivia and her desire to fly. The opportunity to join in a race from the west coast to Hawaii is her dream come true.
The book is told in dual timelines both stories so good and interesting. You will feel like you’re in the cockpit with Olivia. You won’t be able to put it down!

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There seems to be more dual timeline stories of late… or maybe I’ve just been attracted to them. This one was a good effort at telling the unique, yet intertwined stories of two women, Olivia and Wren. Olivia desperately wants to fly at a time when society is heavily male dominant, and Wren has fallen prey to hard knocks and would like to know more about Olivia.

This is historical fiction at its finest. Readers will learn about (probably) new events without being inundated with history lessons or preachy tone. The characters’ self-discoveries are enlightening becoming maudlin. In short, it’s a fantastic book. Read it and enjoy!

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Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin Publishing for gifting me a copy of this ARC in exchange for my honest review!

4 stars!

I absolutely loved the dual timeline of two female characters throughout this book. Both of the main characters showed determination to overcome the life obstacles that were thrown their way. Olivia became a brilliant pilot when females weren't even aloud at the program during the time. Even with the women having a timeline that's 60 years apart, they had a strong connection. This truly was an awe aspiring adventure the reader gets to go along with.

I highly recommend this book!

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Not my favorite Sara Ackerman but most Sara Ackerman books are better than your usual historical fiction fare. Set in Hawaii, there's a freshness to them and an authenticity that you don't get from the run of the mill WWII Paris/ London books. Recommended if you love stories about intrepid female pioneers!

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Livy West is a trailblazing female aviator in the 1920s desperate for a chance to prove herself in the Dole Derby race to Hawaii. Wren Summers is a down on her luck artist who has unexpectedly inherited a piece of land on the Big Island in the 1980s. The chronicle of Livy‘s death-defying flight pairs nicely with Wren‘s journey of discovery of her past to make for a sweet story filled with adventure, healing, and unexpected love.

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