Valentina Tereshkova, first woman cosmonaut, is virtually unknown in the United States, and Sharpe tries too hard to remedy this oversight. We are given, not only the details of her wartime childhood and cosmonaut training, but a description of the dress she wore on her first day as part of the space program, the bouquets of flowers she received, even what she and the other ""girl"" cosmonauts ate. ""Valya's"" orbit through space isn't even the climax of her story; apparently even she thought her wedding to fellow spacer Andrian Nikolayev was more important, and the romance of ""Sea Gull"" and ""Falcon"" (their code names) is front and center here. Still, her career is amazing. A tomboy, frustrated in her ambition to become a railroad engineer, Valya went to work in a factory and was recruited into the space program on the strength of her performance as an amateur paratrooper. It couldn't have happened here, and even the Woman's Home Companion ending doesn't disguise the fact that both the scale of the effort and the expectations of a woman textile worker are very different in the Soviet Union.