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Serpent in Paradise
Off the Beaten Track: Three Centuries of Women Travellers
Spinsters Abroad: Victorian Lady Explorers
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Mary Kingsley: Imperial Adventuress
Jella: From Lagos to Liverpool - A Woman at Sea in a Man's World

Co-edited by Dea Birkett
Amazonian: The Penguin Book of Women’s New Travel Writing

Spinsters Abroad: Victorian Lady Explorers

Spinsters Abroad

‘Subtle, acute and fascinating’ – Sunday Times

When I first started travelling, I wasn’t brave enough to go on my own. I took a sturdy Victorian woman traveller with me on each of my journeys – Mary Kingsley to West Africa, Marianne North through North America and Isabella Bird up the Yangtze. Instead of Lonely Planet, I used their published books and journals as guides. Spinsters Abroad is a result of these journeys. It’s not my story – it’s the Victorian spinsters’ stories - Mary Kingsley
 
Taki Honda, a gardener from the Royal School of Garden Design at Nagoya, whom Ella Christie employed to transform her estate in Perthshire, Scotland, into a seven acre Japanese garden called Sha-rak-ven, 'and place of pleasure and delight', to remind her of her travels.
breaking free from the confines of a darkened Victorian parlour to sail to the coast of Cameroon, forging a new life for herself among the Fang people; Marianne North, tucking her easel under her arm and restlessly wandering around the world, capturing in vibrant oil colours the exotic flora and fauna that so fascinated her. But it is a faintly disguised description of my own longings. It’s also a critical portrait of women who have been painted as perfect rolemodels. Rather than angels in girdles, these women were as greedy and ambitious as their male counterparts. I liked them no less for discovering they were not unnaturally nice, but horribly human.



Above: Taki Honda, a gardener from the Royal School of Garden Design at Nagoya, whom Ella Christie employed to transform her estate in Perthshire, Scotland, into a seven acre Japanese garden called Sha-rak-ven, 'place of pleasure and delight', to remind her of her travels.

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