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REVIEW: Gipsy MOTH, Aviatrix

Updated: Jan 3, 2021

Compelling History of Women in Aviation

Alta Wehmeyer

Gypsy Moth - Aviatrix, pays homage to exceptional ladies who had changed perceptions of women in aviation. Willy Mitchell leads the reader through this rich history on either side of the Atlantic during the late 1920s up to 1944. The lives of his aunt Nicky and her friend Amy Johnson, who lived in Britain, had striking parallels with that of the American, Amelia Earhart. Their stories are portrayed in historical context while embracing societal perspectives through rich layers of exquisite storytelling.

Nicky Beatty-Baxter and her childhood friend, Amy, inspired each other’s careers and personal lives. Their biographies are poignantly recounted by Nicky’s nephew, Willy. He connected congruities, which echoed their journeys with that of Amelia Earhart. Constructed masterfully, Gypsy Moth - Aviatrix grips attention and shares public and private achievements of these three remarkable women, flying de Haviland Gipsy Moth equipment, yet always reported in the media as subservient to the feats of their male counterparts. Insights gained here add an authentic luster to what female pilots experienced and had to contend with during this era. Their contributions in aviation remain unquestionable.

Eloquent detailed descriptions transport readers back in time while providing a compelling reconstruction of this bygone era. Dark family secrets and intrigue intertwine the lives of these outliers, their families, associates, and friends. Mitchell skillfully crafts the Gypsy Moth Lymantria dispar as an extended metaphor and powerfully weaves this thread throughout this golden age of women’s aviation history.

The Epilogue and Author’s Notes are indispensable. Information provided as a timeline of technology evolution needed for flight, and women in aviation pays homage to numerous individuals, who received varying levels of recognition in their lifetimes. The compounding effect of their contributions have since served women in aviation well yet glaring disparity in this industry remain. Insight as to what motivated this book positions the reader to understand the passion that fueled the countless hours of research and creative storytelling. Willy Mitchell’s hand at poetry frames the overall extended metaphor.

This is a compelling read for anyone, especially for those who has connections and interest in aviation.

BRAVO Willy!


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 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, 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:

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