Long Island, 1911
Alexandra Bromley has everything her father's money can buy. But what she really wants is excitement, adventure and independence. In an age when women are striking out, exploring the world and making their own rules, her future is set in stone. She's expected to marry a suitable man and continue the Bromley dynasty.
When an aeroplane crashes before her eyes, her whole world changes. The injured pilot, aircraft designer Rafe Garrick, turns out to be the most challenging man Alex has ever known. When he talks about flying, and how it feels to soar above the earth, a new passion is born in her.
Rafe wants nothing to do with a millionaire's spoiled daughter. But Alex's determination wins out. She persuades him to take her flying. Right then and there she resolves to become a pilot. After that... To make a long story short, they succumb to desire and end up having to marry.
For a few months Alex is happy being Rafe's wife and the mother of their unborn child. Then a terrible tragedy strikes, leaving her emotionally shattered. Only one thing can save her. Against Rafe's will, she signs up for flying lessons.
Given Alex's history of taking dangerous chances, Rafe is fearful of losing her. Alex sees his opposition as an attempt to control her, just as her father did. The battles begin--and continue until the rash, impulsive Alex makes the most foolish choice of all. That choice comes close to costing her life, her marriage and something even more precious.
What inspired you to write ON THE WINGS OF LOVE?
I've been fascinated by airplanes since a boy I dated in college took me flying in a tiny Cessna. I remember being terrified--and enchanted. Years later, as I researched the history of aviation for a work project, I was struck by the role of women who defied society to brave the sky in those fragile, unpredictable aeroplanes. Some of them died doing what they loved. My favorite among them was Harriet Quimby--maybe because she was so beautiful and so unconventional for her time. I couldn't resist including her as a character who inspires Alex, my heroine, to become a pilot.
How did you research your story?
This book was a fifteen-year project, worked on in stages and submitted multiple times before it finally sold to Harlequin. For starters, I read and read, and rented every related movie I could find. I ordered books with photos and descriptions of early airplanes, and more books with early pictures and maps of Long Island. Years ago I'd visited the wonderful aviation history museum at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio, and I probed the depths of my memory. Early in my research I even took a flying lesson with an instructor in a Piper Cherokee. It was a thrilling experience but scary. I do not have the courage of those amazing women who first took to the sky.
Have you written other historicals with unusual settings? Do you plan to write more?
Yes, and yes! My first book, MISTRESS OF THE MORNING STAR (1980) was an epic biography of Marina, the Indian mistress of Hernan Cortes. My second, DRUMS OF DARKNESS, was a sort of Gothic set in Panama, where I once lived. Then I wrote two big historicals set in China in the 1800s. I loved these books and could have gone on writing them forever. But the market changed, my then-publisher folded, and I didn't sell anything for four long years. Finally the new Harlequin Historical line picked up my Western proposal and I found a new home. Westerns are easy to write, easy to sell, and I've built a readership around them. But Harlequin has been supportive of my desire to write books in other settings. Whirling in my head are stories set in Africa, the Amazon, and Nepal, all places I've traveled. Stay tuned.
For those who respond, I'd like to thank you by drawing three names. The winners will receive their choice of books (with a couple of exceptions because I have so few copies) on my website.