Across the Blue: A Novel

Across the Blue: A Novel

by Carrie Turansky


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Set in Edwardian England and ideal for readers who enjoy Julie Klassen novels, this romance about an English aviation pioneer and the girl who falls in love with him is filled with adventure and faith.

Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don't approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year. When James Drake, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson's new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson's newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella's heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella's faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781601429421
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/20/2018
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 768,544
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

CARRIE TURANSKY is an award-winning author of eighteen novels and novellas. She has been the winner of the ACFW Carol Award, the Crystal Globe Award, and the International Digital Award, and a finalist for the Inspirational Readers Choice Award and the Maggie Award of Excellence. A prolific writer of contemporary and historical romance, women's fiction, short stories, articles, and devotionals, Carrie lives in central New Jersey with her husband, Scott. They have five adult children and five grandchildren.

Read an Excerpt


February 1909

Isabella Grayson’s shoes sank into the plush red carpet of Broadlands’ south hall, and she released a soft sigh. What luxury! Her parents strolled ahead of her with their new estate agent, Mr. Fielding, and her sister, Sylvia, walked beside her.

Bella slipped her arm through Sylvia’s and leaned closer. “My stars, have you ever seen anything like this?”

Sylvia’s blue eyes darted from the large paintings hanging on the wall to the six white sculptures evenly spaced down the hallway. “It looks like a palace or an art gallery.”

“Exactly.” Bella exchanged a smile with Sylvia, and they continued through the hall together.

Bella had visited many lovely homes in London after her presentation at court and the rounds of balls and dinner parties during her first two seasons, but she’d never seen a more lavish home than Broadlands, her family’s new country estate.

Her father, Charles Grayson, had purchased it practically sight unseen when he heard it was for sale a few weeks ago. His solicitor had handled most of the details, and this was the first time he and the family were touring their new home.

He puffed out his chest and surveyed the hall with a critical eye. “If this doesn’t impress those London toffs, I don’t know what will.” Her father turned to the butler. “Pierson, has Sir Richard taken away everything he wants?”

The butler’s lips pulled down at the corners. “Yes sir. The last of the family’s furnishings were removed two days ago.”

“Very good.” He turned to Bella’s mother. “Well, Madelyn, what do you think?”

“It’s beautiful, Charles, but it makes my head swim just thinking about managing all of this.”

“Don’t worry. We’ll hire enough staff to take care of everything.”

Her mother’s unsettled gaze traveled down the long hall. “I can’t imagine what we’ll do with all this space.”

“We’ll entertain!” Bella’s father boomed. “Shooting parties, dinner parties, house parties.” He lifted his eyes to the painted ceiling. “We’ll invite all the right people to Broadlands and make all the connections I need.”

“Now, Charles, we’ve come to the country so you can get more rest and take care of your health.”
Bella’s father huffed and waved off his wife’s words.

Bella’s shoulders tensed as she watched her parents. Her father owned three prestigious London newspapers, the Daily Mail, the Evening Standard, and the London Herald, but his rise to fame on Fleet Street and his drive to gain a fortune had taken a toll on his health and strained his relationships with his family.

Bella hoped moving to Broadlands would motivate him to change his ways and balance work and rest. But her father had a different goal in mind. He wanted to bridge the gap between old money and new, and close the distance between himself and those who had inherited rank, titles, and respected family names.

Mr. Fielding pushed open a set of large double doors. “This is the drawing room.” He smiled and extended his hand. “Broadlands is a remarkable example of mid-Victorian architecture. The house is built of white magnesian limestone quarried right here on the estate in the 1860s. It was decorated and furnished by Lapworth Brothers of London.”

Her father strode into the drawing room, looking like a proud king surveying his new kingdom. The butler pulled the chain attached to the chandelier, and the gas flames flickered to life.

Bella’s breath caught as she lifted her gaze to the glittering lights and painted ceiling. They were stunning and certain to impress the guests her father planned to entertain. She lowered her gaze and looked around the drawing room. Coral patterned silk covered the walls, and heavy gold-and-coral drapes hung around the four tall windows. On her right, an elaborately carved white marble mantelpiece surrounded the fireplace with a gilded mirror above.

The furniture the previous owners had left behind looked as though it had been made for the room—overstuffed chairs and couches in matching shades of coral and gold, a grand piano, and several tables and display cases.

Sylvia’s face glowed as she looked around the drawing room. “If we pushed back the furniture and rolled up the carpets, this room would be large enough for a ball.”

Bella smiled, her heart warming as she watched her sister. Sylvia had recently turned eighteen and would take part in the London season for the first time that spring. No doubt her beauty, charm, and caring disposition would make her shine among the other debutantes. In a few weeks, she would probably have a line of suitors eager to win her hand. But their parents had a firm list of qualifications, and they would only give their consent to a young man from a wealthy, respected family who was in line to inherit a title and an estate.

Memories of Bella’s past two seasons rose in her mind, dampening her spirits. She had suffered through a series of ill-fated introductions and unpleasant pursuits by young men who had nothing more in mind than marrying her for her future inheritance. It had been painful and embarrassing, and she didn’t want to repeat it this year.

If she ever married, it would be for love, to a man who cared more about her than her fortune.
Mr. Fielding motioned toward the doors on the outer wall. “These open onto the south terrace and lawns, with a view to the fountain garden and the sunken gardens beyond.” He pushed open the doors and stood aside for the family to pass through.

Bella stepped outside and pulled in a deep breath of cool, fresh air. The February morning was clear and bright with only a slight breeze that teased her nose and carried the scent of tilled earth and cedar trees.

The gardens were neatly trimmed, but mostly brown while they waited out their winter’s rest. She crossed her arms against the chill and was glad she’d left her coat on for the tour of the house.
A low buzzing came from beyond the trees, and she turned and scanned the field across the road. The persistent noise grew louder, but she couldn’t see its source.

“What is that racket?” Her father frowned.

Mr. Fielding lifted his hand to shade his eyes and looked across the road. “I’m sorry, sir. I have no idea.”

No sooner had those words left his mouth than an airplane swooped over the tree line and flew across the field toward them.

Bella’s mouth fell open, and she lifted her hands to her heart. “It’s a flying machine!”

Sylvia gasped and clutched Bella’s arm.

“By George, it is!” Her father glanced over his shoulder at the family, his grin spreading wide. “Look at that! Just like the one we saw in France!”

Bella’s mother hurried to his side. “But it looks different from Mr. Wright’s flying machine.”

Last August the family had been on holiday near Le Mans when they heard Wilbur Wright planned to demonstrate his Wright Flyer at a racetrack not far from the city. They joined journalists, aviation enthusiasts, local dignitaries, and townsfolk to watch the American aviator fly his airplane for the first time in Europe. After waiting several hours, they’d finally watched him take off with ease. He circled the field several times before he landed with a precision and skill that outshined every other aviator in Europe. The crowd went wild and rushed onto the field to congratulate him and take a closer look at his amazing flying machine. It was a thrilling memory she would never forget.

“Who is that aviator?” Her father pointed across the field. “And what is he doing flying at Broadlands?”

The airplane’s wing dipped, and the pilot circled back toward the trees.

“I don’t know, sir. But I’ll certainly look into it. He shouldn’t be flying over Broadlands without your permission.”

Bella was about to protest and tell Mr. Fielding her father was an avid supporter of aviation, but the airplane’s engine sputtered and cut out. The flying machine tilted to the left and the nose dipped toward earth. Bella gasped and lifted her hand to cover her mouth.

The airplane descended at an alarming rate and landed hard, sending a shower of brown grass and leaves into the air as it bumped across the field with its left wingtip dragging along the ground.

Before the plane came to a stop, her father hustled down the terrace steps and jogged toward the road.

“Charles, be careful!” Mother called.

Bella pulled away from Sylvia and hurried after him.

“Bella, come back!” Her mother’s words reached her ears, but she didn’t stop. What if the pilot was hurt? She couldn’t stand at a distance when he might be injured and need assistance.

The gray-haired agent passed Bella and soon caught up with her father. She grabbed up her skirt and ran across the road and into the field after the men.

They approached the plane from the back, and as they came closer, the pilot ripped off his flat cap and slapped it on his leg.

“Are you all right?” her father called, making his way around to the front of the airplane. Bella and Mr. Fielding followed close behind.

The pilot lifted his head and scowled at her father. “I’m fine, but my airplane isn’t.”

Bella released a shaky breath, thankful he was not injured.

He grumbled under his breath as he climbed down and stalked toward the broken wing. Ignoring them, he squatted to examine the crumpled wingtip buried in the dirt.

“This is disastrous.” He lowered his goggles and dropped them around his neck.

A jolt of surprise traveled through Bella. He was not middle-aged like Wilbur Wright. Instead, he looked as though he were in his early twenties, close to her age. She studied his face for a moment, noting his unique amber eyes and strong jaw. She had the distinct impression she’d seen him somewhere before, though she couldn’t recall where.

The pilot ran his hand through his dark blond, wavy hair, then he brushed the dirt away from the wingtip and tugged on one of the support wires. Shaking his head, he rose and limped a few steps toward the body of the plane.

Bella’s heart clenched, and she reached out her hand. “You’re limping… Are you sure you’re not hurt?”

He glanced her way, and some unreadable emotion flickered in his eyes. “It’s an old injury. I’m all right.” But his gruff voice made his frustration clear.

The sound of horses’ hooves traveled across the field, and Bella looked up. A large farm wagon pulled by a team of two came through the trees and rolled toward them.

“Who is that?” Her father looked at Mr. Fielding and then nodded toward the wagon.

“I’m sorry, sir. I’ve never seen him before.”

Her father sent Fielding a pointed look. “There seems to be a lot happening here at Broadlands that you know nothing about.”

Fielding’s face turned ruddy. He stepped toward the pilot and cleared his throat. “Who gave you permission to conduct your flying machine experiments at Broadlands?”

The pilot turned his glare on Fielding. “You own the air over this field?”

“No, Mr. Grayson is the owner of Broadlands, and this is his private estate.”

The pilot huffed. “Well, he doesn’t own the sky above it, and I certainly didn’t intend to land in his field.”

“Whether you intended to or not, you’ve crashed your flying machine on his property. It’s much too dangerous to be conducting your experiments so close to Mr. Grayson’s home.”

“I had control of my plane even after the engine died. I wouldn’t have crashed into his house. I would think that’s quite obvious.”

Bella could hardly hold back her smile. The aviator was not only handsome, but he was also quite clever and able to hold his own against the stuffy agent.

Fielding narrowed his eyes. “There is no need to be impertinent, young man.”

The pilot’s eyes flashed. “I’m not being impertinent. I’m simply stating the facts.”

Fielding looked ready to argue that point, but her father lifted his hand.

“I’ll handle this, Mr. Fielding.” Bella’s father stepped forward. “I’m Charles Grayson, the new owner of Broadlands.”

The pilot shot Bella a quick look, then met her father’s gaze. “James Drake, the owner of this Steed IV.” He nodded toward his downed flying machine.

The wagon rolled to a stop a short distance away. An older man wearing a long rumpled overcoat and red necktie climbed down. A breeze sent his long white hair flowing back from his angular face. He looked at least seventy, but he moved with the agility of a much younger man. Two lads, who looked about twelve or thirteen and who were dressed in simple country clothes, climbed down after him.

“James, are you hurt?” The older man strode around the plane toward them.

James’s expression eased. “No, but the wing is damaged and I’m afraid the wheel supports are bent.”

“But you’re all right?”

“Yes. I’m fine.”

The older man approached Mr. Grayson. “Good morning, sir. I’m Professor Thaddeus Pierpont Steed, and you are?”

“Mr. Charles Grayson of Broadlands.” Her father glanced toward the house.

“Ah, I see.” The professor smiled. “And you’ve met my protégé, Mr. James Drake?”

“Yes, we’ve met.”

“Good. We’re pleased to make your acquaintance.” He smiled at Bella. “And this young lady?”

“My daughter, Isabella.”

She smiled at the professor.

He nodded to her, then shifted his gaze to Mr. Fielding. “And you, sir?”

“Fielding is my name. I’m Mr. Grayson’s estate manager, and as I was saying to that young man, Broadlands is a private estate. No one should be flying so close to the house.”

The professor lifted his index finger. “Ah, that is a very good point.” He shifted his gaze to the flying machine. “And as you can see, Mr. Drake had turned away from the house and was headed back toward Mrs. Shelby’s farm. That’s where we have our workshop and have been perfecting our design and conducting our experiments.”

Mr. Fielding cocked his head. “Mrs. Martha Shelby?”

“Yes sir. She is a very kind friend who has allowed us to use her farm as our base of operations. Her large open fields are ideal for takeoff and landing.”

Mr. Fielding leaned toward her father and lowered his voice. “Mrs. Shelby is one of your tenant farmers, sir. She’s a widow and manages Green Meadow Farm with the help of her son.”

Her father nodded. “I see.”

A thrill raced through Bella. They were conducting their experiments right here at Broadlands. Perhaps she’d see Mr. Drake flying again soon.

The professor studied her father for a moment, and then his dark eyes lit up. “Are you the Mr. Charles Grayson, the owner of the Daily Mail?”

Her father straightened and puffed out his chest. “That’s right. I own the London Herald, the Evening Standard, and the Daily Mail.

The professor took hold of her father’s hand and pumped it heartily. “Well, sir, we are certainly very happy to meet you.”

Her father smiled, looking pleased the professor was aware of his reputation. “I’m very interested in aviation. I often say it’s the next great frontier and worthy of government and private support.”

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Across the Blue: A Novel 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
RockandMinerals4Him 10 months ago
I've heard of Carrie Turansky for EVER, and I've even met her in person once, but I never read a book of hers until just now! And I lOVED it! I'm so interested in the early 1900s, leading through about WWII, and while there's a lot of books about the latter half of that period, there are a lot fewer about before then. This book is about when airplanes were just starting to become a thing, and it's so awesome! Bella is the daughter to a well-off businessman, and is supposed to court and marry rich, but what she really wants to do is write for her father's newspaper, although her parents don't want her to. James is an aviator with a broken past who desperately wants to be the first to fly across the English Channel. Both of them want to do things that seem impossible for them to do, and neither of them will stop until they reach it. This book is so clean and so historical, and I loved it! In addition, there was just so much good faith content, and overall it was just a really really good book!! I enjoyed it so much! My Ranking- 7/10 Thank you to the publisher, Multnomah Publishing, for providing me with a complimentary e-copy of this book via NetGalley to me; I was not required to write a positive review. This review first appeared on:
Melissa Andres More than 1 year ago
Across the Blue is a wonderfully, adventurous story! Set amongst the lives of the rich in the year 1909, two people attempt to defy the norm of society to set their own course and fulfill their dreams. Isabella Grayson is drawn in to the world of journalism and desires to write articles for her father's newspaper. James Drake is an aviator hoping to be the first to fly across the English Channel. Their stories collide and draw them together as they help each other see what their deepest desires truly are. This story is beautifully written. Filled with history, a sweet, sweet love story, acceptance and the love of a father, and the theme of forgiveness and acceptance of the love of our Heavenly Father! I really loved everything about this book and look forward to reading more from Carrie Turansky!
cularien More than 1 year ago
Loved this book -- the characters, the setting, and the plot. I adore books where the heroine is a writer of some kind, so Bella and her journalistic dreams were perfect! I'm ready to go back to England for sure. Turansky does a great job creating a sense of place; I loved revisiting Canterbury, and this just solidified my desire to see the White Cliffs of Dover.
joyful334209 More than 1 year ago
Across The Blue Starts off with "For great is YOUR love; higher than the Heavens, YOUR faithfulness reaches to the skies. Bie exalted, O GOD above the Heavens and let YOUR glory be over all the Earth." Psalms 108:4-5 now how was that for starting off the book in the dedication page? The book a Spiritual - Faithful and trusting in the LORD and HIS direction. It is also about dreams coming to fruition. It is also about secrets which is a shame because nothing good comes of secret and is about money( Social standing as well) This is a wonderful book - full of wonder. I received a copy of this book from the Publisher and Netgalley;; all of the opinions expressed in this review are all my own. if you would like to read more of my Christian book reviews go to - I look forward to seeing you there.
2074800 More than 1 year ago
Award-winning author Carrie Turansky pens a new historical romance set in Edwardian England featuring aviation pioneer and a young woman who longs to be a journalist. In Across the Blue, Isabella Grayson, daughter of a wealthy British newspaper owner, grows up with her parents’ expectations of a suitable marriage, but she has career aspirations of her own — to follow in her father’s footsteps in the newspaper business. She begins to secretly write letters to the editor for her father’s paper, and her desire continues to grow. Meanwhile, American aviator James Drake is trying enter and win a race across the English Channel sponsored by Isabella’s father. Success would enable him to build airplanes and a reputation. When they meet, it will take all their faith to reach their dreams. Turansky excels in rich characterization and descriptive narrative, with a clearly evident presence of faith without being preachy. Her characters struggle with doing the right thing even when it is hard, and following God’s plan for their lives. Across the Blue is filled with historical detail, solid characters, and great storyline. Fans of aviation history will enjoy its international flavor as aviators from around the world meet in England for the big race.
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the historical aspect of this novel, the subject matter definitely stood out to me since I had not read a book that focused on the advent of flight and its swift progress. It is easily apparent that the author meticulously researched early aviation and the experiences of the pilots and engineers. The overall pace of the book was too slow for me however, and I was missing the impetus to keep turning the pages. The attraction and romance between Bella and James is sweet, yet tepid as they both have strong goals with journalism and flying. This is a book that will be enjoyed by readers who prefer a strong historical focus over a character-driven story. (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
Adriann Harris More than 1 year ago
I so enjoy reading wonderful Christian historical fiction stories based on true events. Across the Blue has an extra bonus as it also has not one, but two love stories we get to watch evolve as the story progresses. The dynamics of the Grayson family was engrossing, and Carrie did not miss a beat as we witness the interactions between the siblings Bella and Sylvia and their parents as they both become independent young women. Carrie Turansky captures the aviation race across the English Channel in true form mixing actual events and figures with fictional ones with flawless transition and her attention to detail is marvelous. My heart went out to James and the Professor as they struggled to overcome all of the obstacles thrown in their path to try and be the first to fly across the English Channel. Now days we think nothing of flying around the world but back in the 1900s it was a victory just to get off the ground, fly for fifteen minutes, and survive the landing. Carrie also reminded us that women were also striving to change history during this time as Bella fought to become a journalist in a male dominant field, and the suffragettes were fighting for women’s right to vote. Wow, we have come a long way. The faith of Professor Steed that everything has a way of working out if you just believe, and that we have so much to be thankful for, which he instilled in James as his father figure while he was growing up, was inspirational. It was the Professor who molded James into the man we get to admire in Across the Blue. I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook and Multnomah Publishing via Edelweiss. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
ecclecticnurse More than 1 year ago
This was my first book of Carrie's, and I am now a fan. This is a great and easy read to escape into. Carrie invites us into the exciting world of early aviation in a time that was on the verge of so many political and cultural changes. Across the Blue is filled with faith, romance, heartache, social injustice, intrigue, and joy. I highly recommend this book. I received an advanced readers copy to read and review.
J_Augustine More than 1 year ago
Their dreams will take them up, up, to the sky… When you grow up in a house with plane enthusiasts some of it is bound to rub off a little. I've read several of Carrie Turansky's Edwardian fiction books, and enjoyed them, so there was a double draw to Across The Blue. The whole historical angle of the race to be the first to fly across the English Channel is quite fascinating! While reading the book I even had to look up who accomplished the fete to see if I remembered correctly, and I actually had. Bella and James are not the stereotypically perfect historical romance couple. They make plenty of mistakes and jump to conclusions even as they discover that love and family are worth the difficulties. They are also dreamers, the kind of dreamers that go far because they have the gumption needed to work hard to make those dreams a reality. Across The Blue is a sweet historical romance with a fascinating time in history as the backdrop, it's also a bit of an adventure story with a nice dash of mystery. If you are a Carrie Turansky fan Across The Blue is a MUST read. (I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
J_Augustine More than 1 year ago
Their dreams will take them up, up, to the sky… When you grow up in a house with plane enthusiasts some of it is bound to rub off a little. I've read several of Carrie Turansky's Edwardian fiction books, and enjoyed them, so there was a double draw to Across The Blue. The whole historical angle of the race to be the first to fly across the English Channel is quite fascinating! While reading the book I even had to look up who accomplished the fete to see if I remembered correctly, and I actually had. Bella and James are not the stereotypically perfect historical romance couple. They make plenty of mistakes and jump to conclusions even as they discover that love and family are worth the difficulties. They are also dreamers, the kind of dreamers that go far because they have the gumption needed to work hard to make those dreams a reality. Across The Blue is a sweet historical romance with a fascinating time in history as the backdrop, it's also a bit of an adventure story with a nice dash of mystery. If you are a Carrie Turansky fan Across The Blue is a MUST read. (I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
Fiction_Faith_and_Fun More than 1 year ago
Most Americans think of the Wright brothers when they think of the pioneers of flight. Several Europeans were working toward the same goal, though, and Across the Blue highlights what might be lesser-known aviation history. James and Bella both counter the cultural norms of their time. They share a determination to succeed that may be their greatest adversary. I loved that the story did not unfold as I originally expected. The twists kept me turning pages until the end! The variety of secondary characters makes it hard to choose a favorite. From the invested professor and sweet Martha to Bella’s father and his determination, the characters are likable and diverse. If you enjoy historical fiction that broadens your understanding of the time period, you’ll want to read Across the Blue and race alongside the pilots as they attempt to be the first across the English channel! (I received a complimentary copy of this novel. The thoughts expressed here are entirely my own.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carrie weaves an imaginative story with characters you want to cheer from the very beginning. While we so often see stuck up rich characters in England set stories, Bella is a gentle spirit who learns how to go after what she wants. I think I loved her within the first few pages. James is a working man with ambition and a dream to cross the English Channel. I found myself right next to Bella cheering him on. His love for the Professor is one of his most admirable qualities. I also really enjoyed the history part of this story and the aviation race. I found myself Googling and reading Wikipedia because I wanted James and Bella to be real. I did get frustrated with both James and Bella's mother at points in the story, but to an extent, the frustrating parts are a reflection of cultural views of the time. While it takes them longer to come around then I would've liked, it would've made for a shorter story. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions are my own.
cscott9 More than 1 year ago
I love reading historical fiction, especially Edwardian Romances! Across the Blue is Carrie Turansky's newest novel and it is one that you will want to read over and over again. Set in 1909 England, a time where what women wanted to do was not an option, the rules for women were already set by society. Isabella Grayson wanted to be a journalist for one of her father's newspapers but new it wasn't going to happen. Women didn't do those things in her day. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor, her parent's are impressed and agree to let her write a series of articles about aviation. James Drake is an inspiring aviator who crashes his plane at the estate of the Grayson's and well Bella is intrigued, fascinated and wants to learn more. All James wants to do is win the race and the prize that the Grayson's newspaper is offering. James has plans for the winnings, and he hopes to win Bella's heart. I love watching airplanes land and take off, my enjoyment of planes comes from husband. We've been to airshows and watch the Red Bull races on TV. Its fascinating watching them. I can imagine the love Bella had for aviation. This book is wonderful, one that I will recommend to others. One that will stay on my shelf to be read over and over again. Ms. Turansky has done it again, another astounding novel!! “I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone." 
hes7 More than 1 year ago
Carrie Turansky writes excellent historical fiction, and Across the Blue is no exception. Set in the Edwardian era, this book explores early developments in aviation—and includes some pretty great romance, too. Aviation brings Isabella Grayson and James Drake together as they eagerly pursue their dreams. As I read, I fell in love both with these two strong, determined characters and the exquisite detail in which their story is told. Every page along the way fascinated me with history and adventure and mystery and romance, and Bella and James develop so well over the course of the book. Sweet and inspiring, as a whole, Across the Blue proves to be a delight. Fans of historical fiction, do not skip this latest novel from Carrie Turansky. I really enjoyed it, and I’m sure you will, too. Thanks to Celebrate Lit, I received a complimentary copy of Across the Blue and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
How many of you dreamt that you could fly when you were a child? I remember dreaming one night that I had on a cape and was standing at the edge of a cliff. I took off and suddenly I was flying. The wind grazed my face as I flew through the air. I glanced down and saw trees that looked like little plants. When I woke up all I could think of was how wonderful it was to feel free. We all have dreams and this story reminds us to never up on your dream. The story of the Wright Brothers is very famous and the author does an incredible job of explaining about flying machines in the 1900s. I absolutely adored Bella right away. She is a very determined young woman. She comes from a very wealthy family who owns several newspapers. Her parents are determined to see their daughter marry into a prestigious family. I loved how Bella had other ideas. Her dream is to become a journalist. Oh my Bella what a dreamer you are. Has anyone told her that women can't be journalists? Her interest in aviation is refreshing and I loved how she was so supportive of this new adventure of flying machines. Will her father believe in her and allow her to write for the paper? James is a very skilled pilot and is determined that nothing will stop him from being the first to fly across the English Channel. He sure has his work cut out for him when his flying machine crashes on Bella's family estate. At that moment I felt a connection between the two characters. They each have a dream and decide to support each other to achieve what is so important to them. What dream have you had that others supported? Did you give up or continue to pursue the dream? Will James be the first to fly across the English Channel? What I loved about the story is how the author makes readers feel like they have traveled back in time and are witnessing James as he prepares to follow after his dream. Each time he took the flying machine up in the air, I could visualize how he must have felt. He never gave up and with Bella supporting him his confidence became stronger. There were times my heart bear a little faster as he tried to keep the flying machine in the air. Mixed in the story is a bit of mystery about James. What secrets about his childhood have been hidden from him? The relationship between Bella and James is sweet and has a few bumps that they need to work out. Thank you for writing a story that is filled with hope, faith, forgiveness and dreams. It is a beautiful story that not only highlights the start of aviation everywhere but reminds us that dreams do come true with determination and faith. I received a copy of this book from the author and Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
RobinWillson More than 1 year ago
This story takes place in England when aviation was just getting started. The Wright brothers had just made their historic flight in Paris and inspired others to try their skills at making their own plane and flying. It also inspired their onlookers and made investors of some. And pointed out a country's vulnerabilities to planes being able to fly over. Bella's father is a wealthy self-made newspaper man looking for prestige in society to go with his wealth. She of course is expected to marry a man with a title to bring that social connection to the family. But she is like her father and likes to write and be in the middle of current affairs. And Bela and her father share a fascination for aviation. Jack happens to crash land his plane on the Grayson's field as they're touring their new estate. His mother wasn't married and he doesn't know who his father is. He's in the running to design airplanes and fly across the channel and has captured the attention of Grayson and his daughter. With only these facts he wouldn’t be in the running as a suitor for Bella – unless he wins perhaps, and captures the prize money and fame. It's not unusual for any of us to examine our self-worth and standing with others we live around. It's easy to let others conception of who or what we are to limit us. It's just so satisfying to watch people break out, stand tall and prove to themselves and others what they really are capable of. In this story it applies to both Jack and Bella, standing on both sides of high society lines. Each has to follow their own plan that God has for them in order to excel. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free – from the WaterBrook & Multnomah Publishers - Netgalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
Across the Blue was a historical novel that took a look at the competition that was going on for new aviation planes and what country could win the first crossing of the English Channel. During 1909 young men were inspired by Wright to make and fly their own airplanes and to even test out new and better designs. This was a time of status changes, when new money families was making their way in the world and even purchasing old money family estates. This is what was happening to Isabella and her family. However, her father’s chase for wealth and prestige took no little toll on the peace of the family. Isabella also wants to break free from the cultural binds that ensnare her. She would like to become a journalist like her father and perhaps even marry for love and have that be enough. James Drake is the aviator who not only catches Isabella’s father’s attention, but Isabella’s heart as well. James is not wealthy and does not live up to the match her parent’s want for her. He also has no idea who his parents are, and he carries the shame of his beginnings around with him. It was exciting to see the risks that these young men were determined to take to fly through the skies. I am thankful for their ingenuity and courageous attempts so that we today can now have a much faster way to travel. I was definitely on James’s side to win the race and Isabella’s heart but I was also very interested in the unraveling mystery of his birth and his birth mother’s strange circumstances concerning her death. I received a complimentary copy of this novel. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.
MeezCarrie More than 1 year ago
“Now was the time for men to break free from the bounds of earth and fly unhindered.” Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky is full of fascinating history and great characters, as well as a riveting plot that reminds us to trust God’s dreams for us. Bella and James are an endearing pair of characters who quickly carve out space in your heart. Their daring dreams – James, to be the first person to fly across the English Channel in an airplane and Bella, to be one of few female journalists for the time. You will be cheering them on every step of the way, and I must confess that I held my breath more than once while following James’ air adventures. Their shared interest in aviation establishes a friendship that eventually develops into something even sweeter, and Turansky does a great job of building their relationship as the story progresses. It’s a gentle romance, but there’s also a bonus romance or two brewing in the background and I admit that one of those background romances was my favorite relationship in the story! The setting of Across the Blue puts us right at the center of all the buzz and anticipation surrounding air travel by plane. What a thrilling time in history that must have been, to witness such a great advancement in transportation! There are ups and downs in the progress (quite parallel, in fact, to the actual flights lol) and Turansky nicely captures that crackle of excitement in the air! (No pun intended) From the race to see who will be first to cross the Channel successfully to the competitions at the air meet in Rheims, France – the atmosphere hums with tension and expectation. Bottom Line: Across the Blue by Carrie Turansky keeps readers engaged in the characters’ lives as well as the excitement of the time period. While it gets a little bogged down in details at the beginning, it evens out into a sweet story of putting our dreams in perspective with God’s dreams for us – and how His are so much better than we imagine. The characters feel like dear friends and settle into our hearts, and the setting comes alive with sights and sounds and experiences. Perfect for history enthusiasts, particularly of the Edwardian-era, and fans of Turansky’s other books! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This was a fantastic book as always from Carrie Turansky. I could not put this book down. I even had to look up who crossed the English Channel first. I loved the history and the romance. The characters were fantastic. This is one of the first books I have read about the first airplanes. It was fascinating. I received a copy of this book from bloggingforbooks and Celebratelit for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
Laundry_Whispers More than 1 year ago
I haven’t felt the need to gush about a book in a short minute. I had never read Turansky before but have heard great things. When the opportunity to review this book came up I had to take it. What’s not to draw you to it? Early 1900s England, money, prestige, adventure, a touch of intrigue, and love. The dawn of flight brings together a wealthy English woman with desires to become a journalist and a not wealthy pilot with a questionable background. Add some irritating parents, relateable side characters, and a couple of wealthy rivals who also happen to be jerks and you have a pretty great story. I enjoyed how this story took the dawn of aviation and actually provided much detail and knowledge about this topic while blending it so well into the story that it didn’t feel heavy or ‘educational’ so to speak. I was rooting for James and Professor Steed. I wanted them to find success after years of trial and error. I needed for James to be the first to cross the channel and win the prize. James took my heart with him on his journey to discover who he really is and where he came from. James and Bella were such well developed, embraceable characters; flaws and all. Their flaws gave them dimension and shape. Even the secondary characters (Bella’s family, the professor, other aviators) had such depth to their characters and solid personalities that even as the story grew and changed they remained true to their roots. The book brought their stories from an interesting meeting as James plane crashed in her family’s field on the day they moved into to their new country estate to a mostly satisfying conclusion. James and Bella’s lives wove in and out of each other’s through their shared interests and his history. You could almost call their initial meeting kismet. Had they not met would he have discovered his past? Had they not met would she have found her future? There was one little story line that was not completed wrapped up but it’ll let it slide since it was partly resolved. This was my first Carrie Turansky book but it will definitely not be my last. I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by CelebrateLit. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
BethErin More than 1 year ago
An adventure in aviation, a legacy of journalism, and a familial mystery are skillfully woven into this lovely sweet and inspirational Edwardian era romance. Isabella Grayson is torn between pursuing the desires of her heart and honoring her parents' wishes for her future. Her unconventional pursuits and growing faith make her a simply charming and endearing character. James Drake longs to build a life for himself in aviation but unanswered questions from his past hinder his confidence. He proves himself to be a determined man of faith and integrity. Prepare to learn a little something from this story, it is packed with interesting historical details of everything from fashion and society to newspapers and airplanes. Fans of Downton Abbey and the innovation of this time period will especially enjoy this book and I definitely recommend it! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.
SBMC More than 1 year ago
"It's not easy to forgive someone when what they've done has caused a deep wound, but when you do, it benefits you as much, or maybe more, than the person you forgive. It's like a burden is lifted off your shoulders, and it opens the path for healing and restoration." This book is the first book I've read written by Carrie Turansky. She's well-loved by many and I have been meaning to get to some of her books; I'm thrilled that I had the opportunity to read this book and the author now has one more fan in her corner. This historical fiction is well-researched, well-written, completely enthralling and engaging. The author has everything needed for the perfect recipe - a beautifully laid-out plot, wonderful dialogue, memorable and lovable characters, a smidgen of intrigue, and a strong faith component that defines the characters. In 1909 England, many are inventing and re-inventing the airplane and pilots are eager to cross the English Channel for a prize sum. James is one of the aspiring aviators, born under speculative circumstances and reared by an aviation professor and his sister. He is haunted by his past that he does not know, burdened under the threat of failure but still kind, loving, faithful, and loyal. He is intelligent, innovative, and able to admit his faults even though he's proud. Bella is the daughter of a newspaper tycoon, always being urged by her mother to make a match with someone titled to elevate their family status but wishes to be a journalist for her father's newspaper. She is inquisitive, intelligent, tender-hearted, and loving. Bella and James must struggle through deception, disparate society standings, misunderstandings, pain of the past, and disappointments to discover what they really mean to each other. James and his mentor professor's faith are incredible examples for us all. Even in the midst of turmoil, disappointment, hurt, and uncertainty, both James and the professor choose to cling to the God who sees all and knows all. I also learned quite a bit about the beginnings of aviation through this book. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction that is well-written will love reading this book. I was given a copy of this book by the author/publisher via Celebrate Lit Tour. I was not required to write a favorable review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this read and quickly found myself rooting for James Drake to be the first to fly across the English Chanel, and we see the beginnings of the air industry in Europe. Wait until you take your tour of the beautiful estate that our girl’s parents have purchased, the breath-taking gardens and the massive mansion, and then watch, or read, how everything is connected, including James. We see jealousy rear its ugly head, and wonder how Bella is going to explain everything to her parents. Will James get answers to his questions about his parentage, and how is Bella and her family involved? Will she end up marrying someone she doesn’t love to fulfill her bargain with her folks? Bella is a spunky girl and I was surprised at how this girl gets involved in the air industry, especially as a woman, at this time woman didn’t even have the right to vote. Come and enjoy you time in Edwardian England, and watch as the world soon discovers flying. I received this book through Celebrate Lit and the Publisher Multnomah, and was not required to give a positive review.
Phyllis_H More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful story! It was so fascinating learning more about aviation at the turn of the century. The challenges faced by those aviation pioneers are a little staggering to think about, especially their courage in persisting despite the perils they faced. We think so little of a short flight across the English Channel, yet, as I learned from this story, it was anything but simple. James was by far my favorite character in the book. I loved the way he had to overcome his poor perception of himself and enjoyed the way the author helped him to see that his worth does not come from his parentage or his accomplishments but from God. Oh, for all of us to be able to come to that realization! Ms. Turansky did a fantastic job in imparting a lot of information about early aviation and social mores at the time without it sounding like a lesson in history. The facts were beautifully woven into the story. You can read Carrie's guest post at This review was originally posted on I am grateful to Celebrate Lit for giving me a copy of this book. The fact I received this book for free does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
LGHudson More than 1 year ago
INSPIRATIONAL! This is the first time I’ve read a book by Carrie Turansky but it definitely won’t be my last! Across the Blue is a historical fiction set in Edwardian England. Isabella Grayson is a woman ahead of her time. She desperately dreams of becoming a journalist and seeing some of her articles appear in one of the several newspapers her father owns. However, all her parents want is for her to find a suitable husband, marry, have a family and be the Lady of the Manor as she has been taught. Isabella is bored at the whole idea! This is age when men like the Wright Bros. are inspiring others to learn about flight. Isabella is extremely interested in this as well. She is fortunate because her father’s Newspaper is interested in offering a Grand Prize to the first man to Fly Across the English Channel! Turansky offers a cast of delightful characters including aviator James Drake and a host of others. Turansky’s fabulous word pictures draw you in and you feel as though you are taking those first test flights with the pilots! You feel the shudders, hear the noises, hear and feel your heart beat and experience the exhilaration of the flights! This is a beautiful story of family, enduring friendships and love. I was provided an ARC by Waterbrook & Multnomah and NetGalley. The opinions expressed here are completely my own and without influence.