GUTSY GIRL

Geist - - Endnotes -

Why would an el­derly cou­ple from the north drive all the way to In­dian Head, Saskatchewan, to adopt an ugly lit­tle girl who has a scar across her face? This is the ques­tion that nine-yearold Bri­ony asks her­self as she leaves the Or­ange Or­der Or­phan­age to start a new life. Moll, her new mother, is easy to get close to just by help­ing in the gar­den and the kitchen, but her new fa­ther, Dagget, is gruff and un­ap­proach­able—un­til Bri­ony gets cu­ri­ous about the yel­low Norse­man bush plane he flies. Pretty soon Bri­ony has her own over­alls and is put­ter­ing around, learn­ing about en­gine re­pair and main­te­nance. From there she goes on to the co-pi­lot seat and even­tu­ally she gets her pi­lot’s li­cence. Bri­ony’s story is filled with twists and turns that will keep the reader turn­ing pages, and even­tu­ally she fig­ures out the an­swer to the ques­tion she asked her­self on her last day at the or­phan­age: part of Bri­ony be­longs to the north. Along the way, we find out how to land a plane on wa­ter and on ice, how to pre­heat a frozen en­gine with­out set­ting fire to the plane, how dif­fi­cult it is for a fe­male pi­lot to keep from pee­ing her pants on long flights, how to make a “dead­stick land­ing” (the dead stick is the pro­peller that isn’t go­ing around any­more be­cause the plane has no power) and how to fly a bush plane from north­ern Saskatchewan to Eng­land with­out run­ning out of fuel (you have to stop a few times). The beauty and re­mote­ness of the north per­me­ate the pages of Heart Like a Wing (Rons­dale) by Dan Pax­ton Du­n­away, which, al­though it is clas­si­fied as a YA novel, will ap­peal to grownups too. —Patty Os­borne

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