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The Hazelbourne Ladies Motorcycle and Flying Club
A young woman’s life is forever changed in the summer after World War I when she befriends a group of independent, motorcycle riding women in a seaside town on the English coast—a captivating novel from the bestselling author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
It is the summer of 1919 and Constance Haverhill is without prospects. Now that all the men have returned from the front, she has been asked to give up her cottage and her job at the estate she helped to run during the war. While she looks for a position as a bookkeeper or (horror) a governess, she’s sent as a lady’s companion to an old family friend who is convalescing at a seaside hotel. Despite having only weeks to find a permanent home, Constance finds herself swept up in the social whirl of Hazelbourne-on-Sea after she rescues local baronet’s daughter, Poppy Wirrall, from a social faux pas.
Poppy wears trousers, operates a taxi and delivery service to employ local women, and runs a ladies’ motorcycle club (to which she plans to add flying lessons). She and her friends enthusiastically welcome Constance into their circle. And then there is Harris, Poppy’s recalcitrant but handsome brother—a fighter pilot recently wounded in battle—who warms in Constance’s presence. But things are more complicated than they seem in this sunny pocket of English high society. As the country prepares to celebrate its hard-won peace, Constance and the women of the club are forced to confront the fact that the freedoms they gained during the war are being revoked.
With sharp humor, biting wit, and a warm heart, Simonson captures the mood of a generation facing the seismic changes brought on by war. The Hazelbourne Ladies Motorcycle and Flying Club is a timeless comedy of manners, refreshing as a summer breeze and bracing as the British seaside.
Praise & Reviews
The Hazelbourne Ladies Motorcycle and Flying Club is an absolute joy of a book. Warm, and romantic, it also has so much to say about the lives of women in the years following WWI. This is historical fiction of the highest order—pleasurable and smart.”
—Ann Napolitano, bestselling author of Hello Beautiful
“With cinematic verve and a keen eye for detail, Helen Simonson captures a vibrant group of unconventional women who defy social norms in their determination to forge their own futures. Beautifully written and brimming with charm, The Hazelbourne Ladies Motorcycle and Flying Club is both a fizzy escape and a moving portrait of a nation on the cusp of change.”
–Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and The Exiles.
“The Hazelbourne Ladies Motorcycle and Flying Club captures the ambitions, frustrations and inevitable tragedies of women and men emerging from the great war. Written with great humour and compassion, it is an absolute delight.”
–Pip Williams, Bestselling author of The Dictionary of Lost Word