The Little Balloonist

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The Little Balloonist by Linda Donn

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Sort order. Start your review of The Little Balloonist. Nov 13, Tara Chevrestt added it Shelves: women-in-aviation , historical-fiction , women-that-really-existed-fiction , france. A DNF for me. I had a strong enough interest in the a blind woman inspiring the typing machine to read and actually enjoy some of Contessa but this novel contains too many subjects I have no interest in. Sophie's supposed romance with her childhood friend, Andre.

Napoleon A DNF for me. Napoleon's life. Andre apparently has the power to heal people. Get real!

The Little Balloonist

If the book focused solely on Sophie's ballooning exploits, that would be great, but the romance and Napoleon and a man healing people, not for me. I made it to page 70 and found myself nodding off on the eliptical machine. View all 6 comments. Feb 04, Christina rated it really liked it. This was an interesting work of fiction based on the real person, Sophie Blanchard. If you are familiar with her place in history, this story will intrigue you. I enjoyed this author's fantasies about what her life might have been like. Nov 04, Lisa Mcbroom rated it it was ok Shelves: paris-the-city-of-lights , michele-s-book-club.

Linda Donn took the story of a fascinating woman and bogged it down with horrible writing. After her husband dies, Sophie Blanchard becomes one of the first women balloonist in Napoleonic France. Sixteen-year-old Sophie loves her pretty home by the sea and precious moments spent with her best friend Andre. She dreams of marrying Andre but he seems to have withdrawn from her.


Andre is a healer. He can heal people with a single touch. He has decided that he needs to learn how to be a healer and love Sophie at the same time, which he feels is impossible at this moment.

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  5. Andre heals a young Republican soldier who brings back the story of the charming young Sophie to his friend, Napoleone Buonaparte. Unbeknown to Sophie or Andre, the Armants have already betrothed Sophie to Jean-Pierre Blanchard, a pioneer balloonist who visited their home before Sophie's birth. Though Sophie's mother wishes for her daughter to marry for love, Sophie's father overrules her objection and Sophie is married off to a man twice her age whom she does not know or love. Life with Jena-Pierre is difficult. He is consumed by his passion for creating and flying in new and better balloons.

    Sophie meets the young revolutionary Napoleon and he falls instantly in love and their lives become entwined forever. Sophie, not having any children to love, decides to become an aeronaut. The free spirited young woman loves the feeling of flying free and her husband loves the fame it brings. The beautiful Sophie becomes the toast of Paris rubbing elbows with Napoleon, Goethe, Darguerre and other luminaries of the day.

    Through it all, Andre continues to love her. When her husband dies, Sophie is torn between the love of her childhood friend and the advances of the Emperor Napoleon. Above all else, she desires freedom. This is a really slow moving novel which covers the life of one woman from age 16 to death. It's told in third-person omniscient and sometimes interrupts the narrative to tell the reader what will happen in the future.

    The narrator is detached from the story and never engaged me as a reader. The plot skips around from character to character and there are far too many to keep track of.

    watch Sophie's life is summarized rather than fully shown. The epilogue does not match the prologue or even the rest of the novel. I found this book really slow and uninteresting. I wanted to like it but I just couldn't get into it. The story of Sophie's childhood would make a great young adult novel. Dec 06, Agatha rated it it was amazing. Pretty interesting historical fiction, set in Napoleonic France.

    Sophie Blanchard was the first female balloonist and because she was so petite and adventuresome could soar to new heights that male balloonists could not go. She helped identify and map cloud types and even helped Napoleon spy on enemy battlefields as he was planning his advance into Prussia.

    Jul 28, Jackie rated it it was ok Shelves: read. This is an interesting read based on the true life of Sophie Blanchard, one of the first women to fly in a balloon. It was a rather short, quick read but it was very interesting to learn about Sophie and her extraordinary life. Donn also adds some interesting tidbits and quirks to Napoleon based on historical accounts. The writing was well done and even included some sketches which bought the story to life for me.

    Jul 12, Megan rated it liked it. An almost quiet and sort of subdued read compared to the novels that I have lately become accustomed to. In this regard, it was very refreshing. Charming and smart—singularly high-spirited historical fiction. Ebook —. Product Details.