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Maiden Voyages | Siãn Evans | Book Review

April found Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them on Netgalley and immediately recommended it to me based on my love of Titanic and strong adventurous women. It took me a while to get into it. I’m not sure if it was the set up of my e-arc or what but, I really had a hard time following all the different women who were mentioned as well as the ships. I think it might have been a little bit easier if I was able to see the graphics that accompany the information.

Maiden Voyages reveals the history of some of the most daring women who sailed the ocean. Not all of them were daring though. Some of them were just simple women trying to help make ends meet for their families. The book discussed the various hardships that women had to endure. This included just being on an ocean liner to protecting themselves from sexism and attracting unwanted attention. Of course some women enjoyed the attention of the male passengers and fellow stewards. There was also mention of non-heterosexual relationships and friendships as well.

While the book was hard for me to yet into, I enjoyed learning about these various women. I always get excited when a book pays tribute to the unspoken hero of society and I felt that is exactly what this book did. Working aboard ocean liners especially wealthier ones could be an unforgiving job. There were times when the employees were forgotten about and the focus was all on the employer.

There were several ships that faced great parel over the years. From ice bergs to torpedoes, the ship were an easy target due to their structure and size. Once an accident struck it often became the responsibility of the women workers to make sure all passengers got off the ship as safely as possible. One of the stories that I really enjoyed from Maiden Voyages was the story about the stewardesses that were put in charge of the children and how the children bonded with them. It was both heartwarming and heartbreaking depending on the ending circumstances.

I think Maiden Voyages provides a good insight on the relatively under discussed topic of women’s employment and responsibilities on ocean liners. Personally, it did not always flow together and would get confusing. I spent alot of my time re-reading information to ensure that I had grasped it correctly. I think some of this may have been alleviated if there were visuals with the e-arc. However, I also think that this particular documentary style does not work well for me. This is not to discourage other readers from this book though – I think it could be very interesting to those who love learning about women’s history.

Rating: 3 Stars

*I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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