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The Secrets of Flight: A Novel (Paperback)
Mary Browning, eighty-seven, has spent much of her life hiding her past, haunted by fading memories of family and an exceptional career as a daring pilot in World War II. When fifteen-year-old Elyse joins Mary’s octogenarian writing group at the local library, she ignites Mary’s desire to tell her story. Elyse has problems of her own, but when Mary hires her to record her story, they form a friendship that leads them to discover the joys of second chances and the unique powers of forgiveness. This will be a great book group read, especially for those who enjoyed The Boston Girl or Circling the Sun!— From Susan
This captivating, breakout novel—told in alternating viewpoints—brings readers from the skies of World War II to the present day, where a woman is prepared to tell her secrets at last.
Estranged from her family since just after World War II, Mary Browning has spent her entire adult life hiding from her past. Now eighty-seven years old and a widow, she is still haunted by secrets and fading memories of the family she left behind. Her one outlet is the writing group she’s presided over for a decade, though she’s never written a word herself. When a new member walks in—a fifteen-year-old girl who reminds her so much of her beloved sister Sarah—Mary is certain fate delivered Elyse Strickler to her for a reason.
Mary hires the serious-eyed teenager to type her story about a daring female pilot who, during World War II, left home for the sky and gambled everything for her dreams—including her own identity.
As they begin to unravel the web of Mary’s past, Mary and Elyse form an unlikely friendship. Together they discover it’s never too late for second chances and that sometimes forgiveness is all it takes for life to take flight in the most unexpected ways.
About the Author
Maggie Leffler is an American novelist and a family medicine physician. A native of Columbia, Maryland, she graduated from the University of Delaware and volunteered with AmeriCorps before attending St. George’s University School of Medicine. She practices medicine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and sons. The Secrets of Flight is her third novel.
“A delightful novel: warm, wry, smart and very funny.”
— Irina Reyn, author of What Happened to Anna K. on The Goodbye Cousins
“An excellent summer read.”
— Publishers Weekly on The Goodbye Cousins
Praise for The Diagnosis of Love: “I loved this book and loved its voice. How often is one both charmed and intrigued on page one and ever onward? Maggie Leffler’s writing accomplishes that thing I enjoy the most: lively storytelling that is in equal parts wryly witty and touching.”
— Elinor Lipman, author of My Latest Grievance and Then She Found Me
“This novel celebrates the support system that family and friends can offer in difficult times. Leffler…writes with warmth and confidence about new beginnings.”
— Booklist on The Diagnosis of Love
“The ageless, timeless themes of friendship and family run deeply through Leffler’s heart-wrenching novel. Beautifully and sensitively told in alternating viewpoints, this easy-to-read tale is thought-provoking and memorable.”
— RT Book Reviews
“Through this heartwarming, one-of-a kind tale, author Maggie Leffler reminds us that the most improbable friendships can transform us in the most unexpected ways. A must read!”
— Pam Jenoff, international bestselling author of The Last Summer at Chelsea Beach