The Best Women’s Adventure Novel of the 20th Century

West with the Night Book cover image

The Story…

Any book that Ernest Hemingway says is a “… bloody wonderful book.” Is worth checking out.  West with the Night by Beryl Markham is so beautifully written, the style and tone leave you feeling like you’ve slipped into your silk pajamas and are enjoying a cup of hot cocoa by a roaring fire.  Beryl writes in a colorful and engaging manner that invites the reader to join her on her many adventures.  While the introduction by Sara Wheeler reveals that some fudging of the facts and events may have occurred, it is a lovely story that is based on some truth.  I loved reading this book.  Beryl led an amazing and unconventional life.  She seized so many moments and truly squeezed every ounce of fun and adventure from life that she could.  She didn’t accept no for an answer and lived true to herself and what she wanted to do.

Beryl Markham (née Clutterbuck; 26 October 1902 – 3 August 1986) was a British-born Kenyan aviator (one of the first bush pilots), adventurer, racehorse trainer and author. She was the first woman to fly solo, non-stop across the Atlantic from east to west. She wrote about her adventures in her memoirWest with the Night.

Who is West with the Night For?

Anyone who is looking for an inspiring and confidence building read would so well to pick up this book.  The style and some of the terms may be older, but that just makes it more enjoyable.   It takes you back to a time when not only did these things happen, but makes you realize just how crazy and enthusiastic Beryl was to conquer life in the way that she did.

Borrow or Buy?

West with the Night is a definite buy.  I envision myself re-reading it when I need a reminder that the world provides opportunities, not limits.  I found the older style of writing refreshing and invigorating. The story itself, with all of Meryl’s attitudes and outlooks is inspiring for anyone.  I may even add a new category… Gift.  West with the NIght would make a great gift for a literary teen or tween to set her on a path of determination and fearlessness.


West with the Night, Beryl Markham, Northpoint Press, New York, NY, 1942, 2013 Paperback Edition, 294 pages, $16.00, ISBN 978-0-86547-763-6


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