Sophie Blanchard broke many of the first gender barriers in aviation, only for them to go up again after she was gone

Last month, I had the opportunity to write a couple of guest posts for Women’s History Month. I’d originally wanted to highlight pioneering balloonist Sophie Blanchard as an overlooked subject for historical fiction. But her life story begged for a longer piece and she does in fact have a couple of books based on her life. So I saved my post for here instead.

This is also part of a new feature I’d like to try. The Real is where I’ll highlight a real-life historical personality and make book recommendations (particularly fiction based on their lives.)

Sophie Blanchard was one of history’s earliest aviators. In the early 19th century, she became the first woman to pilot her own balloon and also became the first female military aviator, appointed by Napoleon himself!