Wednesday, March 1, 2023

The Weight of Air by Kimberly Duffy: Book Review

 *Book received for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Two women--bound by blood, torn apart by circumstance--find together that true strength comes in many forms.

In 1911, Mabel MacGinnis is Europe's strongest woman and has performed beside her father in the Manzo Brothers Circus her entire life. When he dies unexpectedly, she loses everything she's ever known and sets off in the company of acrobat Jake Cunningham in hope of finding the mother she thought was dead.

Isabella Moreau, America's most feted aerialist, has given everything to the circus. But age and injury now threaten her security, and Isabella, stalked by old fears, makes a choice that risks everything. Then her daughter Mabel appears alongside the man who never wanted to see Isabella again, and she is forced to face the truth of where, and in what, she derives her worth.

As Mabel and Isabella's lives become entangled beneath the glittering lights and flying trapeze of Madison Square Garden, their resiliency and resolve are tested as they learn the truth of what it means to be strong.

Kimberly Duffy 
( is a Long Island native currently living in southwest Ohio, via six months in India. When she's not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. He doesn't mind.

I don't know exactly what it is, but there is just something about historical fiction with a circus setting that draws me in. There is a bit of glamour that goes along with the circus with the over-the-top costumes and showmanship, while at the same time a bit of darkness and mystery there as well. Added together, it's the perfect backdrop for a great story and The Weight of Air is a prime example of that. 

Lately, I must admit that it's been rather difficult for me to get into many historical fiction reads... and while I typically am able to get there several chapters in, it certainly takes a bit. From the start of this story, I was absolutely in it! These characters drew me in immediately and I found myself fully invested in their unique lives. 

One of the things I loved most about this book was its very real look at mental illness. One of the main characters deals with what we now know as postpartum depression. While this is not something that I have personally dealt with, I have struggled with other mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, etc. Even now I think there is still some major stigma of these illnesses, and unfortunately perhaps more so in the Christian community. This story takes on not just PPD, but also suicide, abandonment, etc with understanding and grace. 

It is important to note that the characters in this story are imperfect, at times broken people. As such, they make decisions that are imperfect. One of the main characters engages in a physical relationship outside of marriage, with hopes of using that to get ahead. This is something that happens before we get a sense that this character is coming to a relationship with God. While it is clear what is happening, there are no graphic details given and it is not a relationship/action that is glorified within the story... quite the opposite in fact. Likewise, there are moments between a married couple that are perhaps a little more than we are used to seeing within Christian fiction. I personally felt like these were handled well within the story, and thought that added a realness to these characters. Because everything happened off the pages, this didn't personally make me feel uncomfortable. That said, I know that there are other Christian fiction readers who feel differently and don't want even a hint of this type of content, so it should certainly be noted for those readers. 

The faith element of the story was subtle but picked up a bit more towards the end... as such, we get to watch the growth of the characters throughout the story. 

Overall, I found this a wonderful read. It's not my first read from Kimberly Duffy but it certainly is my favorite! 


  1. I was immediately sucked right into this one as well! I haven't read her other books but have been wanting to. Great review!


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