Book Review: Landing in My Present

Welcome back, everyone! It’s been a few weeks since my last bookish post. LSBBT took a mini-break. I’ve also been scrambling to get my four-year-old ready for PreK (and battling mild freak-outs.) My birthday also passed this month, the eighth birthday I’ve spent without my grandma. You see, I was born on her birthday, and since her passing they’re always painful. This year, for some reason, hit me especially hard. 

I recently came across pages upon pages of notes I’d made from an interview I did with Grandma. She was an Army Nurse during WW2, and was constantly sharing stories about “her boys” she cared for on the front. Because of her, I’ve always been drawn into stories about the War, and the men and women who did their part to support our freedom. 

With grandma, and her stories so fresh upon my mind, I jumped at the chance to read Mary Walker Clark’s Landing in My Present. I’m afraid to say more as I helplessly wax on about why I loved this book in my review. Suffice to say, this was exactly the book I needed to read. Reading about Clark’s and her father’s lives was a breath of fresh air I can’t wait to tell y’all about. I hope you enjoy! And I hope you take a chance and enter the giveaway below, so you can read your own copy 😉 


by Mary Clark

Biography / Aviation / Historical / WWII

Publisher: Hellgate Press

Date of Publication: June 15, 2020

Number of Pages: 218

Scroll down for the giveaway!


Mary Walker Clark barely knew her father. When he died, he left not only the obvious void every teen would experience, but took with him scores of Indiana Jones-style tales about flying the Hump, a treacherous series of US missions that transported supplies over the Himalayas to China during World War II. 

It would take a chance interview with a pilot who had flown with her father in the war to launch a series of extraordinary journeys—into a shrouded past and halfway around the globe to India and China—for Clark to finally come to know the father whose absence had haunted her for decades. 

Landing in My Present chronicles the adventures of a daughter who chose to pry open a painful past while enlarging her view of an adventurous father long thought lost.



goodreads link


5 of 5 Stars

A veteran pilot. An entrepreneur and innovative farmer. A silent father. Who was Charlie Walker? This is the question his daughter, Mary Walker Clark asks in her debut novel, Landing in My Present. In a journey that spans past and present, across continents and oceans, Clark seeks the answers for long unanswered questions about the man her father was. More importantly, she needs to know who he is for her today.

“Charlie was just different,” the author’s last surviving aunt intones. From the beginning of Clark’s memoir, I was hooked. Stories about “the greatest generation” and all they accomplished fascinate me because they are always larger than life. Charlie Walker’s journey through the Great Depression, his service in World War 2, and a life marked by innovation and determination are inspiring. The author makes the brilliant choice to tell her father’s story in a non-linear format, allowing us to uncover the pieces of his life alongside her. In this manner, we’re not only gifted with Charlie’s story but Mary Walker Clark’s equally fantastic life journey. 

I was raised on tales of the soldiers my grandma nursed in France and England during the War. But I’ve never heard about the Allies’ efforts in China. Clark’s father is stationed in Africa and later India during the war, from whence he’s ordered to fly supplies over the Himalayas. As Clark shares, “Dad’s route to China from India along the Able route—over twelve to twenty-thousand-foot mountains—was considered the most hazardous regularly used air lane in the world. My father would soon fly that route 150 times.” 

While much of the story is told from the author’s perspective, she also utilizes notes from her father, and memories from other veteran pilots, to pen fictional letters. The kind of letters her father might have written home told in his own words. Clark didn’t have the benefit of journals, but she manages to pull the pieces together in the most personal and poignant way. This personal touch is belied by Clark’s memories of a father that seemed largely absent during her formative years. Upon reflection, however, she comes to see how Charlie showed love to his family through his actions. There comes a truly heart-rending point early-on in Landing in My Present when the author shares, “Dad never grayed, and his knees didn’t cripple with arthritis…While my mother diminished in stature, lost firmness in her skin, and details of her memory, my father perpetually smiled back at me in the prime of his life.”

A beautiful tribute to both Charlie Walker’s life, and the brave pilots who risked their lives flying “the Hump,” Landing in My Present is the powerful story of one woman’s journey to discover the father she never had the chance to know. Stories have always had a way of pulling me closer until I feel alongside the characters, but it takes a special story to tug at my heartstrings like Mary Walker Clark’s biography of her father’s life. I was brought to tears and traveled to the places Charlie went. For a few precious moments, I felt like I was up in the skies too. Reading about the author and her father’s life reminded me of all we can accomplish if we face life without fear. That’s when we’ll truly soar. As Charlie might have said, and so Clark writes, “But one thing I’m sure of. Now that I’ve conquered the highest mountain range in the world, I will always fly.”

**I was provided with a copy of Landing in My Present by the publisher and this is my voluntary and honest review.**



Headshot of Mary Clark

Mary Walker Clark is a retired attorney turned travel writer who loves taking readers with her to worldwide destinations. She has been traveling independently and internationally for over fifty years. Her essays may be found in the Paris News, at her blog, “Mary Clark, Traveler,” and her podcasts at KETR 88.9, an NPR affiliate. Clark is an award-winning member of the North American Travel Journalists Association and a contributor to Still Me, … After All These Years, 24 Writers Reflect on Aging. 

In 2016, Clark traveled to India and China to follow her father’s WWII footsteps when he was a Hump pilot flying over the Himalayas. Her journey to connect with him fifty years after his death is told in her book, Landing in My Present

Clark is a fifth-generation Texan living in Paris, Texas.


Website ║ Facebook  ║ Blog ║ Instagram ║ Amazon Author Page 



FIRST WINNER: $25 Amazon card 

SECOND WINNER: Signed copy of Landing in My Present

THIRD WINNER: $15 Amazon card.

 July 21-July 31, 2020

(US only)




Or, visit the blogs directly:



Texas Book Lover



Chapter Break Book Blog



Book Bustle



StoreyBook Reviews



The Adventures of a Travelers Wife



Forgotten Winds



Jennifer Silverwood



The Clueless Gent



It’s Not All Gravy



That’s What She’s Reading



Rainy Days with Amanda



All the Ups and Downs



Reading by Moonlight



Book Fidelity



Sydney Young, Stories



Books and Broomsticks



Hall Ways Blog


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7 thoughts on “Book Review: Landing in My Present

Add yours

  1. Wow, Jennifer. Thank you for such a wonderful review. Your experience in reading my book was everything I hoped my readers would feel. I am fortunate indeed to have been able to rescue the fading story of my father who like all those you describe gave so much. I’m particularly touched by a writer of your age group liking this story. I had always thought it would only be the boomers who would identify with my journey. Thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary, thank you so much for commenting, and especially for writing such a wonderful book! I love how you put that too: rescuing his story. I’m also happy that I could contribute a bit of perspective from my age group ;p I’ll admit, I’m a bit of an odd duck. I grew up with older parents and was raised by boomers 🙂 And if anything, I think people in my generation and younger need stories like yours, now more than ever. We can learn so much from your parents’ generation and the way they faced unthinkable odds head-on. I try to find that same fortitude for life when I can, and maybe their generation was so great because they endured and came out on the other side of great adversity together? 🙂


  2. Loved the review, Jennifer. It was quite interesting to see how your interest in your grandmother’s experiences meshed with the story. I can see how that made it super special for you.


    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it 😀 I almost didn’t go as much into my grandma’s story, since I wanted to really focus on what made this book amazing. But I think it’s better to remember their generation and honor them when we can. And in the end, I couldn’t talk about why I loved this book so much without bringing up Grandma. 🙂


    1. Thanks so much Kristine! 😀 Some books definitely speak to us more personally than others. I honestly wasn’t expecting to connect so much with Mary’s story and writing, but as you said, that’s the mark of what makes her work truly great 🙂


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