Ship Fever – Andrea Barrett

For once, choosing a book by its cover proved a good decision!

A great collection of short stories, themed around the scientific explorations flowing from the Enlightenment, and set against the backdrop of daily life – ordinary, and, in Ship Fever (the novella which closes the collection) extraordinary.

Ideas crop up in different guises throughout the collection – the most memorable being the part played by amateurs and women in piecing together the small discoveries and theories into the patchwork of the sciences we are taught today.

The River Crossing – Peter Rippon

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!