One woman, three journeys, many perspectives.
A chance find in one of Hay-on-Wye’s many bookshops, this has turned out to be one of my favourite books of the year so far.
Part historical novel, part mystery with a romantic hue, this slight novel demanded to be read in one sitting. A rare book, combining history and travel, together with astute observations on the emerging desire of and support for women to be able to share in the freedoms and the intellectual and educational becoming opportunities available in the closing decades of the 19th century.
An excellent read for anyone who enjoys history (in particular women’s history) and travel. And not as heavy as I might have made it sound!
WLTM solvent Scottish 30something w GSOH and enthusiasm for voyages of discovery
Partly poking fun, partly providing helpful hints, this book is an enjoyable gem for those of us living in the modern age.
Illustrated with factual diagrams and covering such scenarios as
Almost ‘too much information’ about London in the mid-18th Century
Bite size chunks of history, social and economic, about London as it was 250 years ago, and the Londoners of that time. Some things remain surprisingly familiar:
“Hackney coaches had been plying for hire in the streets of London for 200 years. By 1711 there were 800 licences issued in the City alone…”;
whilst others amuse:
“another traditional ploy took place on Twelfth Night. People used to stop and stare into the windows of pastrycooks, at the gorgeous Twelfth Night cakes on sale. As they stood, boys sneaked up and nailed their clothes to the wooden shopfront.”;
and others enlighten:
” The expression ‘old hat’ should be avoided, as it was one of the countless synonyms for ‘a woman’s privities’.”
An accessible yet fascinating book. Perfect for both the early morning commute and the bedtime read. And there are pictures too!
Oh yeah….and “Readers who liked this book also liked books by Peter Ackroyd and Christopher Hibbert”
I took Cait at her word and bought this to tide me over the festive season ‘en famille’ …
Any complaints? Well, yes. I didn’t by the complete trilogy, and this first volume only lasted me from Christmas Eve through to the end of the Queen’s Speech.
The similarities between the world we live in and that of Lyra and the Gyptians are many, but it’s the differences which lure you in, keep you hooked, then leave you thinking “what if…?” about a million and one facets of 20th/21st century life; from society and politics to evolution and morality.
I’m off to buy vols 2 and 3 tomorrow – Hereford Waterstone’s permitting.
Pot Luck Paul Theroux
Louis’ dad isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but this collection gives you a taster of Paul Theroux’s travel writings from the years running up to Y2K.
Snapshots of the lives and lifestyles of people from all around the world, not only of the individuals Theroux encounters but also of the writer, his family and friends, including Bruce Chatwin.
With stories of sailing off Cape Cod, luxury cruising down the Yangtze a mere 4 years after the end of the Cultural Revolution, and surf-kayaking off Hawai’i’s North Shore, there’s a definite bias towards water-borne exploration.
Whether you are seeking inspiration for holiday destinations or, like me, feel the occasional need to relive travels of your own (or to undertake fresh ones, albeit on a vicarious basis), ‘Fresh-Air Fiend’ fits the bill.