Circling the Sun is a beautifully written novel. Set during the 1920’s in breathtaking Kenya, the novel follows the early life of adventurer Beryl Markham. Beryl is a complex character and author Paula McLain uses Beryl’s autobiography, West with the Night, as well as additional research to highlight the heroine’s strength and courage in the African wilderness.
McLain is a masterful author, painting thrilling African landscapes with her vivid wording and colorful descriptions. A secondary cast of memorable characters, from Beryl’s horse-training father to her best friend and native Kipsigis tribe member Ruta, keeps the plot authentic and interesting. For a remarkable trip to the Africa without the cost of a plane ticket, try Circling the Sun!
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Ballantine Books
Profanity/Language: 11 religious exclamations; 18 mild obscenities; 1 religious profanity; 4 derogatory names; 2 scatological words; 1 anatomical term.
Violence/Gore: Several secondhand reports of violence involving war and death in battle, airplane crashes, stabbings, and wild animal attacks; a few brief scenes of violence occur when a child is attacked by a lion and characters fistfight; in a brief, non-detailed scene of violent death, a plane crash kills two characters.
Sex/Nudity: Multiple incidents of kissing; a non-sexual depiction of nudity when a character gets out of the bath; a few sexual references regarding “common law wives” and extra-marital affairs; a few incidents of reported sexual activity between characters, including a scene with “swingers”; a few incidents of touching areas covered by a bathing suit; a few mature discussions regarding sex; several incidents of sexual activity without explicit detail between adults; a brief, yet explicit description of sex with nudity between adults.
Mature Subject Matter:
Abandonment, WWI, death of a friend, underage drinking, drug use, multiple references to a character receiving an abortion, miscarriage, mention of suicide and mental health disorders, extra-marital affairs, “common-law wives” and “swingers”.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Characters frequently drink and several are referred to as “drunk”; underage drinking occurs frequently; a scene occurs where several characters use cocaine.