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Flying Jenny


A young female pilot brashly defies gender restrictions in the Roaring Twenties.

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

Finalist for the 2019 Oklahoma Book Awards, Fiction!

“Another New York novel, Flying Jenny by Theasa Tuohy, is a fictionalized account drawn from an obituary that appeared in The New York Times in 2010. As seen through the eyes of Laura Bailey, a tabloid newspaper reporter, Jenny Flynn, a stunt pilot (inspired by the exploits of Elinor Smith), begins the book by swooping under the East River bridges on an audacious flight west.”
New York Times, Sam Roberts’s Bookshelf

“Besides Earth, females are also overtaking the sky. Flying Jenny is another read by Theasa Tuohy. Her mom, friend of Wiley Post, first to fly solo around the world, was a pilot in the ’30s. And Elinor Smith in 1928 flew a Waco 10 plane under all NYC bridges. Mayor Jimmy Walker then suspended her for 10 days.”
New York Post, Page Six/Cindy Adams selection

“Tuohy uses both Jenny and Laura to explore gender roles in the late 1920s and how two young women push their own boundaries as well as the society around them.”
Historical Novels Review

“The heroes and heroines and the characters Tuohy brings to life in the book were derived from tales told to her by her mother, the daring, petite fire-cracker female pilot (named Theasa as well), who was a contemporary of Will Rogers and friend of Wiley Post, the first pilot to fly solo around the world.”
Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine

“It is August, 1929, and this romp through the early days of women’s aviation history arrives with all the immediacy of a late-night edition. Theasa Tuohy memorably limns the adventures of not one but two pioneering women. Debutante pilot Jenny Flynn and cub reporter Laura Bailey carry the spunk of Thelma & Louise to new heights as they fight for space in the cockpit and the city room.”
—Janet Groth, author of The Receptionist: An Education at The New Yorker

“[Protagonists Jenny and Laura] eventually find commonality in staring down the sexist mechanisms of the time, each in her own way. Tuohy uses fun period details and jargon to create a lively 1920s setting for this story about self-discovery, friendship, and upsetting the patriarchy.”

“Set in 1929, this is a story of female friendship and empowerment, a story of self-discovery.”
Kirkus Reviews

“The Woman’s Air Derby and the National Air Races of 1929 form the backdrop of this story of women and the early days of aviation.”
Library Journal

“As entertaining a piece of historical fiction as I have read this year . . . Tuohy engages readers in all sorts of flying activities — air shows, air races and flying derbies — in which women pilots in the 1920s and ’30s participated . . . I recommend it to anyone who might be interested in women who prepared the airways for today’s female pilots.”
The Oklahoman


A historical fiction novel on Akashic’s Kaylie Jones Books imprint.

People are doing all sorts of screwy things in 1929. It is a time of hope, boundless optimism, and prosperity. “Blue Skies” is the song on everyone’s lips. The tabloids are full of flagpole sitters, flappers, and marathon dancers. Ever since Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic solo, the entire world has gone nuts over flying. But everyone agrees that the stunt pilots take the cake.

Jenny Flynn defies the odds and conventions in her pursuit of the sky. She attracts the attention of Laura Bailey, a brash reporter crashing through her own glass ceiling at a New York City newspaper. Laura chases the pilot’s story—and the truth about her own mysterious father—on a barnstorming escapade from Manhattan to the Midwest.

Flying Jenny is a vivid portrait of an earlier time when airplanes drew swarming crowds entranced by the pioneers—male and female—of flight.

Kaylie Jones is the award-winning author of five novels and a memoir. She teaches writing at two MFA programs and lives in New York City.


Book Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Published: 5/1/18
  • IBSN: 9781617756214
  • e-IBSN: 9781617756450


THEASA TUOHY is the daughter and namesake of a pioneering pilot who flew an old World War I “Jenny” with an OX-5 engine. She is the author of The Five O’Clock Follies and is a longtime journalist who worked for five daily newspapers and the Associated Press. Her “first woman” stints include assistant city editor at the Detroit News and the copydesk at the (Newark) Star-Ledger. Tuohy lives in Manhattan. Flying Jenny is her latest novel.

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