The Aeronaut's Daughter
Aurora Dawn Merrieweather was born to pursue the quest for flight.
The daughter of two Victorian-era aeronauts, she makes her aerial debut at age nine, assisting her mother in a record-breaking flight over Manhattan in 1888. By age fourteen, she is piloting her own balloon, The Morning Star.
Aurora shares her girlhood adventures—both in the air and on the ground—with Will Nolan, a streetwise orphan employed as an apprentice aeronaut at the Merrieweather Balloon Manufactory.
As Will and Aurora near adulthood, the mathematically gifted Will comes into his own as a master aeronaut. But can he win Aurora’s heart? Or will he become her rival in the race to conquer the Empire of the Upper Air?
At age eighteen, Aurora is off to train aspiring aeronauts at the famous Chautauqua Institute. Here she encounters Simon Vanderlyn, the handsome, ruthless son of a fabulously wealthy robber baron. Vanderlyn desires to own the beautiful and famous Miss Merrieweather, body and soul.
Vanderlyn’s private detectives ferret out a guilty secret from Aurora’s parents’ past—a secret that not even Aurora is aware of, a secret that could ruin them.
With her parents in poor health and the family fortunes at low ebb, Aurora must stand against Vanderlyn armed only with her wits, her youthful audacity, and her dreams of flying free.