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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Eleanor reviewed

Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Eleanor’s Odyssey: Journal of the Captain’s Wife on the East Indiaman Friendship 1799-1801 is a fascinating voyage, alternating between excerpts from Eleanor’s journal’s, and insightful and entertaining commentary by Joan Druett. The commentaries provide the background behind all the aspects of the trip which would otherwise be either meaningless or mysterious to a modern reader. From the extensive wardrobe requirements of the an East Indiaman captain’s wife; to the courses Hugh plots in an attempt to keep his rather slow ship, even by Indiaman standards, away from privateers; to the societal conventions afloat and ashore; Druett brings Eleanor’s journals to life by providing context to what Eleanor is observing. The commentaries also provide the idiosyncratic details which illuminate the lush and varied background of life aboard ship as well the exotic regions they sail through. The book is full of intriguing details such as how a modest lady might deal with severe and chronic constipation from shipboard food, or that the East India Company was still relying on “lunars” to calculate longitude decades after Harrison’s chronometer made navigation simpler and safer. Both the print book and the ebook are well illustrated, a rarity in an ebook in particular.

Eleanor’s Odyssey is a wonderful trip around the globe with two fascinating women — Eleanor Reid as narrator and Joan Druett as translator and guide. Highly recommended.

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