Grand Ambition

“An absorbing, affecting, and beautifully written novel.”
— New York Times

Grand Ambition tells the tale of two young newlyweds, Glen and Bessie Hyde, who set out in 1928 to run the rapids of the Grand Canyon. The pair hoped to set a record: Bessie would be the first woman to face that treacherous stretch of the Colorado River. When they failed to arrive at their destination on time, Glen’s father mounted a desperate search to find them. Based on the few known facts of a true story, Grand Ambition is a portrait of a new marriage, tested by a great physical threat, and a meditation on the power of youthful passion.


Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year
Booklist “Best Novel of the Year”
Longlisted for the IMPAC/Dublin literary award (2003)
Bay Area Book Reviewers Award nominee in fiction
One Book Arizona pick, 2005 

Praise for Grand Ambition

“Lisa Michaels answers the mystery of [the Hydes’] disappearance in her own surprising and magnificent way…a brilliant success.” — Los Angeles Times

“Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm springs to mind…In Grand Ambition Michaels achieves that most difficult feat of depicting historical events as real and engaging, and does so with a spare eloquence that makes this book linger in the mind.” — The Times (London)

“Michaels has fastened on true events well worth appropriating. Because no one ever found the glory-seeking couple’s bodies, the quality of the story offers ample latitude for invention. ..[T]he quality of Michaels’ writing allows for frequent grace notes that such an exciting story would ordinarily crowd out.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“Michaels’ debut novel swirls with mystery and optimism, love and unwavering trust—a grand read.” – Seattle Weekly


New York Times Book Review of Grand Ambition

Los Angeles Times Review of Grand Ambition

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