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Circling the Sun: A Novel Audiobook, by Paula McLain Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Paula McLain Narrator: Katharine Lee McEwan Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2015 ISBN: 9780307989918
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR, BOOKPAGE, AND SHELF AWARENESS  “Paula McLain is considered the new star of historical fiction, and for good reason. Fans of The Paris Wife will be captivated by Circling the Sun, which . . . is both beautifully written and utterly engrossing.”—Ann Patchett, Country Living

This powerful novel transports readers to the breathtaking world of Out of Africa—1920s Kenya—and reveals the extraordinary adventures of Beryl Markham, a woman before her time. Brought to Kenya from England by pioneering parents dreaming of a new life on an African farm, Beryl is raised unconventionally, developing a fierce will and a love of all things wild. But after everything she knows and trusts dissolves, headstrong young Beryl is flung into a string of disastrous relationships, then becomes caught up in a passionate love triangle with the irresistible safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and the writer Baroness Karen Blixen. Brave and audacious and contradictory, Beryl will risk everything to have Denys’s love, but it’s ultimately her own heart she must conquer to embrace her true calling and her destiny: to fly.

Praise for Circling the Sun

“In McLain’s confident hands, Beryl Markham crackles to life, and we readers truly understand what made a woman so far ahead of her time believe she had the power to soar.”—Jodi Picoult, author of Leaving Time

“Enchanting . . . a worthy heir to [Isak] Dinesen . . . Like Africa as it’s so gorgeously depicted here, this novel will never let you go.”The Boston Globe

“Famed aviator Beryl Markham is a novelist’s dream. . . . [A] wonderful portrait of a complex woman who lived—defiantly—on her own terms.”People (Book of the Week)

Circling the Sun soars.”Newsday

“Captivating . . . [an] irresistible novel.”—The Seattle Times

“Like its high-flying subject, Circling the Sun is audacious and glamorous and hard not to be drawn in by. Beryl Markham may have married more than once, but she was nobody’s wife.”—Entertainment Weekly


“[An] eloquent evocation of Beryl’s daring life.”O: The Oprah Magazine

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Paula McLain cements herself as the writer of historical fictional memoir with Circling the Sun, giving vivid voice to Beryl Markham, a singular, extraordinary woman. In McLain’s confident hands, Markham crackles to life, and we readers truly understand what made a woman so far ahead of her time believe she had the power to soar. Jodi Picoult, author of Leaving Time

  • Richly textured . . . Markham’s life is the stuff of legend. . . . McLain has created a voice that is lush and intricate to evoke a character who is enviably brave and independent. NPR
  • Bold, absorbing fiction. New York Daily News
  • “No one does compulsively readable historical fiction about women better than McLain. She proves it again in [Circling the Sun], one of her best.”


  • Paula McLain has such a gift for bringing characters to life. I loved discovering the singular Beryl Markham, with all her strengths and passions and complexities, a woman who persistently broke the rules, despite the personal cost. She’s a rebel in her own time, and a heroine for ours. Jojo Moyes, author of Me Before You

    “By the last pages, readers will hate to say goodbye to such an irresistible narrator.
  • Amelia Earhart gets all the airtime, but this pilot had the juicier past. . . . McLain crafts a story readers won’t soon forget. Good Housekeeping
  • With a sharp eye for detail and style to spare, Paula McLain captures the nuances of complex relationships, the rigidity of social conventions, and the wide skies and breathtaking vistas of Africa. Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train
  • Set in 1920s Kenya, this fictionalized history of the beautiful, high-flying aviator Beryl Markham is as luminous as its headstrong heroine. An exhilarating ride. Family Circle
  • Paula McLain is yet another twenty-first-century woman who can write rings around the hyper-masculine men who dominate so much of American fiction. Liz Smith
  • McLain’s skill at blending fact and fiction, which dazzled readers in The Paris Wife, is on full display. . . . Circling the Sun is a masterful story of hardship, courage and love. Shelf Awareness

  • “Beryl Markham was a pioneering aviator…yet few young girls know her name. With her latest novel, based on true events, McLain…aims to change that. Beryl is one badass heroine. McLain crafts a story readers won’t soon forget.”

    Good Housekeeping

  • “[A] fictionalized history…as luminous as its headstrong heroine. An exhilarating ride.”

    Family Circle

  • “Famed aviator Beryl Markham is a novelist’s dream…a complex woman who lived—defiantly—on her own terms.”


  • “Reminds us that independent women have always been among us, moving at their own speed.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “An engrossing story of love and adventure in colonial Africa, complete with gorgeous landscape, dissolute British ex-pats, and lots of derring-do with horses, motorcars, and airplanes…The best kind of contemporary historical novel.”, editorial review

  • “[A] fascinating portrayal…Highly, highly recommended.”

  • “[A] luminous new historical novel…giving readers a book—and a world—to get lost in.”


  • “Narrator Katherine McEwan offers a soft, youthful feel to Beryl’s early life…McEwan delivers credible accents—African and British—and her melodious voice is a fine match for Paula McLain’s lush descriptions of Africa.”


  • A LibraryReads Pick for July 2015
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for July 2015 in Fiction
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week
  • A BookPage Top Pick for August 2015
  • An AARP Magazine Editors’ Pick
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A People Pick of the Week
  • A 2015 Amazon Best Books of the Year Selection for Literature & Fiction
  • A BookPage Best Book of 2015
  • A Shelf Awareness Best Book of 2015
  • A 2015 LibraryReads Favorites of the Favorites selection

Listener Reviews

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  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzy... | 8/16/2015

    " It comes across like a biography /memoir and the story is mostly in chronological order which makes it easy to follow. The novel is the life story of Beryl Markham. I knew nothing about her and found it fascinating and emotional at times. We follow her living on her father's farm, through a rushed-into marriage and see her independence grow. Highly enjoyable. The recording is split into tracks each of around 5 minutes duration. This seemed unnecessary and chapter splits would have been better. "

About the Author

Paula McLain is the author of several New York Times bestselling novels and a memoir and two collections of poetry. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Good Housekeeping, O: The Oprah Magazine, Town & Country, the London Guardian, and the Huffington Post.

About the Narrator

Fiona Hardingham is a British-born actress, singer, voice-over artist, and AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator. On stage, she appeared at the Edinburgh Festival in her comedic one-woman show The Dark Show. She has also starred in the dark-comedy short film The Ballerino. She earned a BA honors degree in performing arts from Middlesex University, London, and also studied at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.