Crossing the Horizon

A Novel

Crossing the Horizon

Soar back to the fearless 1920s with #1 New York Times bestselling writer Laurie Notaro—beloved author of The Idiot Girls’ Action Adventure Club—in a stunning historical novel that tells the true, little-known story of three aviatrixes in a race to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.

Ten thousand feet in the sky, aviatrixes from London to Paris to New York—fueled by determination and courage—have their eyes on the century’s biggest prize. The year is 1927, and Amelia Earhart has not yet made her record-breaking cross-Atlantic flight. Who will follow in Charles Lindbergh’s footsteps and make her own history?

Three women’s names are splashed daily across the front page: Elsie Mackay, daughter of an Earl, is the first Englishwoman to get her pilot’s license. Mabel Boll, a glamorous society darling and former cigar girl, is ardent to make the historic flight. Beauty pageant contestant Ruth Elder uses her winnings for flying lessons and becomes the preeminent American girl of the sky.

Inspired by true events and real people, Notaro vividly evokes this exciting time as her determined heroines vie for the record. Through striking photos, meticulous research, and atmospheric prose, Notaro brings Elsie, Mabel, and Ruth to life, pulling us back in time as the pilots collide, struggle, and literally crash in the chase for fame and a place in aviation history.
  • Gallery Books | 
  • 464 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451659405 | 
  • October 2016
List Price $35.00 (price may vary by retailer)



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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Crossing the Horizon includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Laurie Notaro. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


“The freedom in the sky was austere, no boundaries, no stopping, no starting, going as fast as you wanted to go. It was limitless.”—from Crossing the Horizon

In her first work of historical fiction, Laurie Notaro delves into the fascinating and little-known world of female aviators in the late 1920s. Notaro maps the trajectories of three women obsessed with crossing the Atlantic by plane: Elsie Mackay, a wealthy daughter of an English peer and the first woman to earn her pilot’s license in Britain; Mabel Boll, a society page damsel known as the “Queen of Diamonds,” and widower with a bottomless bank account also eager to make the historic flight; and Ruth Elder, a twenty-three-year-old beauty pageant contestant from Alabama who used her winnings for flying lessons that helped establish her as the “American girl” of the sky.

Following Charles Lindbergh’s historic 1927 flight from New York to Paris, Mackay, Boll, and Elder become ev see more

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About the Author

Laurie Notaro
Photograph by Cat Dosset

Laurie Notaro

Laurie Notaro was a reporter and a daily columnist at the metro daily The Arizona Republic before publishing twelve books of fiction and non-fiction with Random House and Simon and Schuster, several of which have been New York Times bestsellers. Her work covers the genres of humor, women’s fiction, historical fiction, and literary fiction. She was a finalist for the Thurber Prize, and has been awarded the Hearst Award, the Golden Circle Award, and several awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. She lives in Eugene, Oregon.