Hello my lovely friends, I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of Balloonmaina Belles; Daredevil Diva’s Who First Took To The Sky by Sharon Wright, so grab a cuppa and prepare to be shocked and inspired.
Balloonomania Belles reveals the astonishing stories of the fabulous female pioneers of balloon flight. More than a century before the first airplane women were heading for the heavens in crazy, inspired contraptions that could bring death or glory and all too often, both. Award-winning journalist Sharon Wright reveals their hair-raising adventures in a book that brings the stories of the feisty female ballooning heroines together for the first time.
Women were in the vanguard of the “Balloonomania” craze that took hold in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and swept across Europe then the world. Their exploits were a vital element of our first voyages into the sky. When women’s options were often severely limited by law and convention they managed to join the exhilarating quest for spectacle, adventure and danger among the clouds.
Many of the brightest stars of this extraordinary era of human flight were women. From the perilous ascent in 1784 by feisty French teenager Elisabeth Thible, female aeronauts have never looked back… or down. Who were these brave women who took to the air when it was such an incredibly dangerous and scandalous thing to do? Sharon Wright brings together in one book the show-stopping stories of the very first flying women.
What an education this book was, I had no idea that women were so deeply hands on when it came to balloon aviation, I am absolutely amazed. These women were seriously brave, the thought of climbing into the basket of one the original hot air balloon’s without knowing if you were going to come plummeting to the ground is incredible, these women are inspirational – a little bonkers, but ultimately inspiring. You wouldn’t get me in a hot air balloon now, let alone one of those rickety original efforts.
I haven’t read any of Ms Wrights work before, I’m not sure why – I must walk around with my eyes shut – but I will definitely be seeking out her back catalogue and look forward to discovering more from this wonderful author.
The book is put together in chronological order, there are so many great women featured in this, I love the story of Letitia Sage who refused to get out of one of Lunardi’s balloon’s no matter how much he tried, she stood her ground and made sure that she was the first woman to fly in a balloon, I love that she sounds like such a fun and feisty woman. My heart was in my mouth and I had tears in my eyes when I read about the tenacious Sophie Blanchard who was fearless, she was one of the bravest women I have ever read about, she was terribly shy but what she lacked in social skills she made up for in courage, this plucky woman was in charge of the ballooning displays for none other then Napoleon she was a connoisseur of night time displays that is until one of her balloons caught fire and plummeted to the earth sending her into the history books. There are plenty more within in the pages of this book, these two ladies are just two of my favourites I could talk about all of the woman in the book, but I would probably run out of page room.
What is obvious when you read this is that all these women who were such major part of how the hot air balloon became what we know them today, have been air brushed in a fashion from history, their heroism and bravery have gone unmentioned for too long. Now finally we know their stories, we know that these wonderful women weren’t just pretty assistants only taken on board for something nice to look at, oh, no these women were centre stage and we have to thank Sharon Wright for bringing this fabulous women and their dare devil stories to our attention.
I love how easy on this eye this book is, the cover is so eye-catching and it hint at the fabulously fun stories within. Ms Wright has a fabulous writing style, it’s fun and entertaining, the history of the women featured in this book is right here for you to delve into, yet it’s not in your face or heavy that you fall asleep mid chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, it’s lively and captivating, full of rich and vivid historic detail and beautiful pictures that gives the book a whole lighter and engaging tone, which makes this wonderfully easy to read.
If you love your aeronautical history and brilliantly plucky and fascinating women then this is the book you need to read, I think it is fabulous.
This was a complimentary copy via the publisher, which I voluntarily reviewed, thank you Rosie. X