I read very little New Zealand fiction, I have always tended to find most of it a bit too precious and self contained for my liking, my fellow Book Club members despair over me!
This novelisation of the life of Aviator Jean Batten is most certainly an exception to my previously held beliefs...it is simply wonderful, divine and an amazing read all wrapped into one.
Jean Batten has always fascinated me and I have read most everything written about her, some of it very good indeed. Not long ago I read Melanie Benjamin`s wonderful book which recounts from a novelistic point of view the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and her husband, the frightful Charles...Aviator Supreme. I think the wonder of that book steered me into reading this one and it is certainly the equal of Benjamin`s.
Dividing Battens life into four sections, Kidman starts at the beginning and takes you on a journey from simple and humble beginnings into the realm of High Society, World Leaders, and achievement undreamed of by any other than Ellen Batten (Jean`s Mother) and the beautiful, engaging, precocious and talented Jean, a highly dysfunctional family and wanderlust lifestyle left deep and riveting scars on the psyche of the young Jean, scars that she was never able to schuck off coupled with a deep and abiding need for love, the love of a good man which ended in loss after loss and miscalculation after miscalculation.