The Muse of Kill Devil Hills: A Historical Fantasy by Mary K Kaiser

What a delightful book!  Kaiser has taken the historical events of Wilbur and Orville Wright and infused them with mythology from Mount Olympus.  Before you stop reading this review, I want to point out that you do not know what or who inspired the Wright Brothers so cast aside your first reaction because this book is a lot of fun.  

It all began years ago when Zeus had a nine-night affair with Mnemosyne, the Goddess of Memory, after which she gave birth to nine daughters in nine days.  These daughters are all Goddesses for various areas.  It just so happens that Polyhymnia is the Goddess of Geometry, Agriculture, and Sacred Hymns.   As such she is the muse gently encouraging the people who work in these fields.  One of her best relationships is with George Washington Carver and she has no problem admitting that some of his ideas for peanut use were actually hers.

Although the youngest of the Goddesses, Polyhymnia is good at what she does and follows the boundaries set for all the muses.  As the story goes she becomes interested in human fascination with flight and when she finds the Wright Brothers, particularly Wilbur she can not help but get involved in encouraging their endeavors.  

Kaiser does a great job of blending the two worlds.  The characters are great; Polyhymnia is one for the records!  She will make you laugh and make you totally believe in her existence as well as fret over poor Dr. Carver’s experiences with his muse.  Less you worry that Kaiser has left out the science and engineering of flight, I am happy to tell you that there is plenty of that and it is all fascinating.  I can not imagine the hours of study that had to be done to achieve flight.  All in all a terrifically fun novel with a good deal of history.

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