Lisa Doucet Reviews Heather Stemp’s Under Amelia’s Wing
Under Amelia’s Wing
by Heather Stemp
Having finally convinced her mother that a career as a pilot is a viable option for a young woman, Ginny has now taken the next step in pursuing her dream. Leaving her home and family far behind in the small town of Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, Ginny arrives at Indiana’s Purdue University to get her degree in mechanical engineering and ultimately her pilot’s license.
Ginny soon makes some loyal and dear friends, but must also contend with a professor who adamantly opposes her acceptance in the program, firmly believing that a woman doesn’t belong in engineering. Facing his antagonism as well as the scorn of many of her classmates, Ginny struggles to prove herself.
She gratefully accepts the support of her new friends at Purdue, as well as the encouragement of Amelia Earhart, her friend and mentor who is also a career counselor and advisor at the university.
But after Ginny endures numerous hardships, the unthinkable happens: Amelia’s plane is lost. Ginny is devastated and must find a new batch of courage to continue on the path she has chosen.
This second story about Ginny Ross is rich with historical detail, authentically rendered relationships and an endearing protagonist. It is a compelling exploration of what numerous women who chose non-traditional roles endured while also depicting many of the more typical aspects of university life. While Ginny’s relationship with Amelia Earhart is not the focus of the story, it adds an interesting element to the plot as Ginny and her roommate Mabel, along with the other girls, eagerly follow Amelia’s journey around the world.
Ginny’s friendship with Mabel is well developed and the strain on their friendship when Mabel’s beloved Uncle Malcolm turns out to be the professor who is determined to get rid of Ginny is convincing and adds an extra layer of tension.
This is a successful standalone novel that will also leave readers anxious for the next volume.
Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax. She shares her passion for children’s and young-adult books as our young readers editor and book reviewer.