Updated: Jan 4
Two girls, their friendship, love, courage, as they transform into extraordinary women, true pioneers, aviatrix both, during the golden age of aviation.
“Two girls from the north of England grow up with big dreams. After university they head to London to spread their wings. Between work they learn to fly and become among the first female pilots in Britain. From there, the sky’s the limit, or so they thought. A tale of friendship, of love, courage, and ultimately, of tragedy.”
While growing up privileged in the north of England during an extraordinary era that included the Wright Brothers’ first flight and a war raging across Europe, Nikki Beattie finds relief from her boisterous brothers and a burgeoning sadness brought on by her absent parents in her nanny, Miss Boswell. But it is not until she meets another Yorkshire lass that Nikki’s life begins transforming in ways she never imagined.
When the lives of Nikki and Amy Johnson collide, they establish a lasting friendship that takes them from Yorkshire to London and beyond to places they only once ever dreamed of. As their paths lead them into the pioneering days of early aviation, they catch the bug and join the ranks of the Air Transport Auxiliary, one of the most influential groups of women in the history of British avionics. But just as Amy becomes a celebrity in the evolution of flight, a shining light for women’s rights, and an international heroine, tragedy strikes and buries a dark secret forever—or so everyone thinks.
Gipsy Moth: Aviatrix is a story of friendship, love, and courage as two extraordinary women transform into true pioneers during the golden age of aviation.
“An action-packed story of adventure and romance with an intriguing beginning to an unexpected ending, Gipsy MOTH takes you through the life of two women, during the golden age of aviation, a gripping account of the characters’ lives and those extraordinary times.”
THE MORNING OF THE AWARDS CEREMONY, Captain Valentine, known as Bakes to his friends, picked them up in his 1925 British racing-green Bentley, whose three-liter engine grunted and rattled as a signal that he had arrived.
Originally from Wales, Bakes had served in all three of Her Majesty’s services, and between 1914 and 1921, he had picked up the Military Cross and the Air Force Cross for his service. He was a good-looking man with a big, warm smile, and since his military days, he’d been known as the Teacher of Dukes due to his extensive list of students in the upper ranks of society.
That day, he was crowning his two princesses of the skies as queens of the air, as he had often joked throughout their training—a great elevation from their first day of training, when he’d eyed them in their brand-new, starched, and stiff coveralls, teased them, and nicknamed them the Hampstead Harriers.
Nikki and Amy trotted out down the pathway to the road, greeted by Valentine, who opened the door, which had Racing 9 painted on the door. He held out a hand and helped Nikki into the back, helped Amy into the front, and then sped off north up Bishops Avenue between the golf clubs and toward the Great North Way to take them to Edgware and to Stag Lane.
Like her brothers, having grown up around cars, Nikki loved the thrill of the speed but also, especially with this Bentley, the grunt of the engine, the smell of oil and petrol fumes, and the heat coming from the engine. It reminded her of her childhood and of her father. She also associated the same feeling, smells, and sensations with flight, the difference being the moment when she was airborne and soared above the clouds. For Nikki, cars came second to flying, but she had to admit, especially with Bentleys, that cars were a close second.
Twenty minutes later, they pulled into the aerodrome of the London Aeroplane Club, and Nikki remembered her first day of training like it was yesterday. The past few months had flown by.
There had been so much learning and studying to do before they even got into a plane, never mind flying one. The first phase had been the theory of flight, familiarization with the plane and its controls, navigation, and, of course, the emergency drills. After the first phase of the basics, Bakes had taken them up as passengers for familiarization for weeks before they had started taking off and landing themselves as copilots.
That had been a year earlier, and six months ago, they had both picked up their aviator certificates, numbers 8662 and 8663, and they had become the first women to certify as ground engineers. Now they were being awarded their pilot’s A licenses, numbers 1979 and 1980.
Gipsy Moth: Aviatrix tells the story of two friends, Nikki Beattie and Amy Johnson and how during the golden age of aviation, Amy had risen to the top of stardom and notoriety, along with her counterpart, Amelia Earhart on the other side of the pond. Together they trail blazed the skies and the advancement of women and became celebrities worldwide. Growing up in the north of England, as young girls, who could have predicted the journey they made together, the love, the lost, the adventures, and the tragedy.
Willy Mitchell is an indie author, writer, and storyteller. His first title was Operation ARGUS, and then the sequel Bikini BRAVO where a group of former Special Air Service operatives enter the dark and murky world of maskirovka and discover the lengths that some people will go for power and greed. Cold COURAGE tells the epic tale of Shackleton's 1914 Trans-Antarctic Expedition and all that was happening in those extraordinary times. Book four, Northern ECHO is now released and tells the story of two boys growing up during the punk rock revolution in the north of England, and how a dark secret keeps them apart until the end. Mitchell's latest installment, about to be released at the end of 2020, is Gipsy MOTH about his Aunt Nikki, her friend, and fellow Aviatrix, Amy Johnson, and Amelia Earhart on the other side of the pond during the golden age of aviation.
Up next? SS Indigo is the story of an eclectic mix of guests mysteriously invited to a cruise on a luxury steamship around the Caribbean. The only thing they have in common is their lust for power, advancement, and wealth.
All of Mitchell's books so far are novels, works of fiction, blended with real events. For further information or how to buy his books, visit his author website: