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Sunday, February 22, 2015


The book's number one review on

5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful insight 2 Feb. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a fascinating book on many levels. Eleanor Reid's journal, compiled during an extensive voyage taken while England was still in the midst of the French Revolutionary war is, in itself, a valuable record of the period. During 1799 the Friendship, an East India Company vessel, set sail from Cork for the penal colony at Port Jackson, before continuing to more exotic calls in the South Seas. Throughout the journey Reid used her privileged position as the captain's wife to comment, not only on places visited and people met, but a vast array of associated matters. These included political changes and social etiquette as well as the more mundane minutiae of meals aboard ship and ashore.

So what we have are the writings of a young, perceptive and recently married woman (Reid was just twenty-one at the outset), that simply ooze charm. Sympathetic editing makes them slightly more acceptable to the twenty-first century reader without losing any of the original spontaneity or detail, while a contemporary commentary has been added that gives background information, explanatory notes and the mature overview we would expect from one of our leading historians. The result is truly absorbing reading; it has certainly captivated me, and I would highly recommend it to anyone with a feel for the period.

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