This irresistible literary love story set in Napoleonic France was inspired by the life of Sophie Blanchard, one of the first women to fly. Bringing to mind bestselling historical novels such as I Was Amelia Earhart, Jane Mendelsohn, and Silkby Alessandro Baricco, The Little Balloonist tells the story of Sophie Blanchards journey from the humble seaside village of La Saliere to the battlefields and court of Napoleon.Frolicking on the beach and falling in love with her childhood friend Andre Giroux, Sophie felt she had all she would ever need. But her parents have other ideas, and they marry her off to a wealthy and much older man. Jean-Pierre Blanchard leaves much to be desired as a husband, but he teaches Sophie the workings of his giant hydrogen balloons. Soon she is flying alongside her husband, at home in the air in a way that she never was on land. After Jean-Pierres death, Sophie gains fame throughout France for her daring feats and catches the eye of Napoleon himself, who is captivated by the petite young widows courage. But even as Napoleons interest becomes more intenseand therefore more dangerousAndre returns to rekindle their lost love. Capturing a fascinating era of history, The Little Balloonist brings to life one womans struggle to forge her own destiny. It is beautifully illustrated with seven period etchings.
A powerful testament to their family, its character and its conviction. JONATHAN YARDLEY, THE WASHINGTON POST
Elegant writing, psychological insight, and useful photographs make for absorbing reading. Highly recommended. LIBRARY JOURNAL