While we most likely will never know exactly why the Hindenburg disaster occurred, Ms. Lawhon has given us a fascinating and exciting theory. From what I’ve read about the Hindenburg, it’s quite a plausible theory, too. Sure, it’s mostly fiction but the characters are all based on the real people aboard the Hindenburg. And while she’s completely fabricated stories around these characters, parts of those stories are based on true facts. The author talks about that at the end of the book and refers her readers to www.facesofthehindenburg.blogspot.com for fact-based biographies of each of the passengers and crew on that ill-fated flight.
The book reminded me of “The Titanic” movie in that the author draws you into her characters’ lives, causing you to care more and more about them, all the while knowing what is about to happen. The suspenseful part is that, unless you’re an expert on the Hindenburg, you don’t know who survives and who doesn’t. Similar to “The Titanic”, a large part of the story revolves around the love story between The Navigator, Max Zabel, and The Stewardess, Emilie Imhof. Each chapter is entitled with the role that the particular character is playing, such as “The Navigator”, “The Stewardess”, “The Cabin Boy” or “The American”, which makes it very easy to become familiar with each of the characters.
The author also includes fascinating glimpses into the German background of the Hindenburg and Hitler’s use of it in his propaganda efforts.
The book covers the four days of the flight and adds tension by starting each day off as how many days, hours and minutes until the explosion is left. As the disaster looms closer, the countdown is shown more often and the chapters begin to get shorter and shorter as you race along, with your heart in your throat, to the inevitable ending.
I felt that the author did an excellent job with character development and setting up the intricate plot. This is one of the most suspenseful historical novels I’ve ever read and I enjoyed it very much.
This book was given to me by the publisher through NetGalley and Edelweiss in return for an honest review.