In an engaging and anecdotal social history, Siân Evans's Maiden Voyages explores how women’s lives were transformed by the Golden Age of ocean liner travel between Europe and North America.
During the early twentieth century, transatlantic travel was the province of the great ocean liners. It was an extraordinary undertaking made by many women, whose lives were changed forever by their journeys between the Old World and the New. Some traveled for leisure, some for work; others to reinvent themselves or find new opportunities. They were celebrities, migrants and millionaires, refugees, aristocrats and crew members whose stories have mostly remained untold—until now.
Maiden Voyages is a fascinating portrait of these women as they crossed the Atlantic. The ocean liner was a microcosm of contemporary society, divided by class: from the luxury of the upper deck, playground for the rich and famous, to the cramped conditions of steerage or third class travel. In first class you’ll meet A-listers like Marlene Dietrich, Wallis Simpson, and Josephine Baker; the second class carried a new generation of professional and independent women, like pioneering interior designer Sibyl Colefax. Down in steerage, you’ll follow the journey of émigré Maria Riffelmacher as she escapes poverty in Europe. Bustling between decks is a crew of female workers, including Violet “The Unsinkable Stewardess” Jessop, who survived the Titanic disaster.
Entertaining and informative, Maiden Voyages captures the golden age of ocean liners through the stories of the women whose transatlantic journeys changed the shape of society on both sides of the globe.
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“[A] riveting slice of social history...Evans does a brilliant job of describing the unexpected textures of life at sea.”–The Mail on Sunday (UK)
“[A] wonderfully readable account [of] the women who crossed the Atlantic…from Lady Astor to the half-starved refugees of Europe, from cabaret artistes and adventuresses to unflappable stewardesses and reliable lifeboatwomen.” –The Times Literary Supplement (UK)
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I love the idea of this book. Narratives on several women who were traveling. I absolutely love to travel and this book immerses you in both travel and history. It’s extremely informative and interesting at the same time I highly recommend it.
Fascinating read! During the early 20th century, transatlantic travel was the province of the great ocean liners. It was an extraordinary undertaking made by many women, whose lives were transformed by their journeys between the Old World and the New. Maiden Voyages, is very well written and researched story of the women who sailed on them, whatever for leisure or work as they cross the Atlantic. We learn of their hopes, lives and secrets. If you like history details, then this book written by Sian Evans, will really please you. I haven't read it completely and decided to read several chapters at a time! "I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin's Press and NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
A slice of social history unlike anything I've ever read before. This book includes women you'll recognize and many more that disappeared into history. It was eye opening and a true pleasure to read.
I must give enormous credit to Sian Evans who has combined social history, military history and delicious anecdotes in this non-fiction delight about women who worked at sea. I loved the style of personalizing the general history with anecdotal stories about specific women who either staffed the ships or traveled on them. I was totally fascinated and I admired the author’s selection of women to highlight. Personally, I am a great fan of the history of the great sailing ships, referred to as the Atlantic ferry. I probably was on one of the final sailings of the United States and I am a frequent traveler on the Queen Mary II and the Queen Elizabeth. So, this book was really engaging for me. As a historian, obsessed with British history I loved the stories about famous characters who the author connected to their travels. The story of a poor Scot, headed on a ship to become a domestic certainly will bring a smile to the face of every reader as we learn she became the mother of Donald Trump. Obviously, ease of immigration impacted his life. This book is endlessly fascinating and I highly recommend it. Thank you Netgalley for this very special book.
20th-century, Atlantic ocean, passenger-ships, historical-places-events, historical research, history-and-culture, nonfiction, women, WW1, WW2, post WW1, post WW2, memoirs***** This book is a history geek's dream! The detailed research through archives and personal records and correspondence of some of the women who worked as stewardesses and more for the Cunard and White Star lines is beyond impressive. As advertised, there are many stories of individual women who needed to go to sea to support those at home, including one woman who served on the Titanic, Lusitania, and another torpedoed ship! There are selected notes about well known women of the era between the wars such as Josephine Baker and Nancy Astor and mentions of film stars Rudolph Valentino, Johnny Weissmuller, and Douglas Fairbanks. Luxury shipping is detailed from the beginning of the 20th century. These same ships and many of the women were also in service during each of the world wars, including the ill fated Kindertransports. It is interesting to note that the Queen Mary was not only the best in luxury, but as of 1927 had a Jewish prayer room and also a rabbi to keep kosher in the kitchen. Another geeky tidbit is that the Aquitania made 580 crossings in 40 years and was the only Trans Atlantic liner to have served in both world wars putting on 3 million miles and transporting 1.2 million passengers. Fantastic book for geeks like me! I requested and received a free temporary ebook copy from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. Thank you!
Siân Evans gives us a fascinating look at an unexpected piece of history. Luxury liners are made up of many different social and cultural stratas which the author reveals through research into archives and personal correspondence. Very enjoyable and interesting read
The subtitle of Maiden Voyages is Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them. This is an anecdotal social history that is set primarily between the world wars, the golden age of transatlantic travel. It contains much more. Much space is devoted to women taking jobs during the Great War, enabling the Allies to win the war. After the war, they had to give up their jobs to returning servicemen, but they liked the independence earning a wage gained them. Women were employed by the shipping companies to pamper female passengers. Sea jobs provided excellent opportunities to earn good livings, travel the world, and acquire knowledge and sophistication not available on dry land. Many of the women profiled worked on the ships: Violet Jessop, famous for surviving the Titantic; Edith Sowerbutts, a conductress who guarded women and children; Hilda James, an Olympic swimmer employed as a swim coach. Other women were passengers: Hedy Lamarr, who used Normandie’s staircase to make grand entrances and secured a lucrative film contract; Martha Gellhorn, a correspondent who took any ship available to get her stories; Mary Anne MacLeod, who left abject poverty in Scotland, married real estate developer Fred Trump, and became the mother of a president. Not all the women are admirable: Tallulah Bankhead and Josephine Baker sailed to Europe to embark on scandalous stage careers. Interesting biographical sketches of both women and ships. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
A well researched and interesting collection of anecdotes and snippets of history, this book provides a look into an otherwise untold bit of the past. It not only goes into fascinating detail about how transcontinental sea travel affected womens' lives, but also about the industry itself.
Jam packed with fascinating history, Maiden Voyages highlights heroic women in life-changing circumstances during the Golden Age, including circumstances and effects of war. I've long wondered what it must have been like for parents to send their children on ships, knowing they probably wouldn't see them again, in hopes for a better life for them. This book includes information about refugees trying to escape, some successfully; smuggling; women working on the ships as stewardesses, chaperones and engineers; travelers including aristocrats such as the Astors and celebrities who "used" travel to promote themselves and circulate. The author explains what it was like for women to work just as hard as men (harder, as they needed to prove themselves) in a predominantly male world. A hierarchy needed to be upheld. But female employees were a boon as they were needed for propriety of female travelers. Some were sailors or chambermaids, hairdressers or hostesses, others nurses or masseuses. All had to be weatherproof. And the storms could be terrifying. The bibliography at the beginning is very useful and includes people who make appearances throughout such as Victoria Drummond, Martha Gellhorn, Maida Nixson and Edith Sowerbutts. The author describes different ships in detail, distances traveled, storms, rescues, torpedo damage, mail and commodity carriers, etc. She includes quotes from the likes of Charles Dickens who meticulously journaled his trip, But the stories like that of Violet, The Unsinkable Stewardess, and Fannie Jane Morecroft who became the Chief Stewardess of the Lancastria, are what grabbed me in particular. Christiana's story on the Pittsburgh is incredible! So much to absorb! I didn't realize passengers usually slept in all their clothes the entire trip for modesty. Well, except for the wealthy who changed outfits up to seven times a day which Louis Vuitton capitalized on. De luxe suites could cost up to $70,000 in today's currency. Read the crushing story of Hilda who trained for the Olympics and about the nurse, Edith, who assisted with baby deliveries on board. One of my favourite stories is about Victoria Drummond, an engineer, and her challenges. Reading about the medical advances and emergencies on board is also interesting. I had no idea there were pamphlets for war brides arriving in America. And thank goodness for Nancy Bell! There was room for advancement in positions and previous experience on other ships counted. Courageous rescues are described as are the dreadful experiences of Titanic survivors, the sinking of the Lusitania and the horrendous carnage of the Britannic caused by its deadly propeller. As an international traveler, one of my greatest joys is exploring different cities and cultures. I fully understand the pull of the sea as well. But you needn't be a traveler to enjoy this fantastic book. All you need is curiosity. My sincere thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this engrossing book!
This was such an interesting social history about the golden age of ocean liner travel and the special impact it had on women's lives. I saw the Queen Mary when she left New York for the last time and was fortunate to have been a passenger on the Queen Mary 2. It was a wonderful time and I enjoyed all the back stories.
Always been a huge reader when it comes to ships and shipwrecks, so was ready to dive into this one. Very well done and would definitely recommend.
Thanks to NetGalley for this advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. Stop for a moment and think of transatlantic crossings in the golden age of ocean liner travel. You might conjure up images of the Astors, the Vanderbilts, the captain and crew. You may think about women on these ships as the wealthy adornments of powerful men, or the shuddering steerage passengers looking for a new life in America. You may even remove the humanness of these women and leave them as vague images. This book ends that. These are the untold stories of the female crew, the refugees, the aristocrats, the famous and not known. They each contributed to the right history of the trans Atlantic passage. My grandmother could be among these woman, as she was one of many who fled Ireland in search of a better life. She came alone in 1914, when women couldn’t vote or make many decisions. This book certainly captures the imagination. Researching all of these women is a feat! Compliments to Ms Evans. For anyone fascinated by the era or by ocean liner history, this is for you.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review. Maiden Voyages explores how women’s lives were transformed by the Golden Age of ocean liner travel between Europe and North America. This was an absolutely fascinating study of women whose lives were changed, indeed history was sometimes changed, by their travels on these magnificent ocean liners. First, hats off to all the working women who became stewardesses, conductresses, chaperones, nurses, chambermaids, support workers and even engineers aboard these ships. The work was hard, the hours long, conditions could be grueling and they spent so much time away from home, but their ultimate payday was that there was enough money to support their families. One of those women was The Unsinkable Stewardess, Violet Jessop. She survived the sinkings of the Titanic and the Brittannic, and was aboard the Olympic when it collided with a British warship. There are entertaining stories of the celebrities who traveled by ocean, and how their lives were changed. For instance, would the Duke of Windsor and the former British King Edward VIII ever have abdicated the throne if it weren’t for Wallis Simpson? Before Wallis, the Duke was enjoying a domestic life with Thelma Furness, also twice-divorced and an American like Wallis. Thelma needed to return to the States for family reasons. Seems her sister, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, was in a bitter custody battle for her daughter, also named Gloria, who became known as the poor little rich girl. Thelma felt bad about leaving the Duke on his own, and asked her best friend Wallis to watch over him. While in the States, Thelma met Aly Khan, who was smitten with her and booked himself on the same ship returning to England. Thelma did not return Khan’s advances, but rumors started, news leaked, and the Duke used it as his excuse to break-up with Thelma. And the rest is history, but what would the royal family look like today if the Duke/King had married someone acceptable to his station in life? Hedy Lamarr’s story was quite interesting. She was of Jewish descent, and married Fritz Mandl, the son of a Jewish father and a Catholic mother. He was also an arms dealer, and had ties to the Nazi party. While she had worked in film, Mandl was controlling and insisted she give up her career. After a fight with Mandl one evening, he went to his hunting lodge to spend the night. Finding her marriage intolerable, Hedy packed some clothes and jewelry, and left. She had little cash, but decided to use it for a ticket on an ocean liner headed to America. Louis B. Mayer was on board, and offered her work at $125 per week. She turned it down, and proceeded to dress up in her evening wear and jewels, making a grand entrance each evening down the staircase. Mayer ended up offering her work, at $500 per week. There are also heart-rending stories of refugee families and their children, all dreaming of a better place. The wartime stories of the ships carrying children from Europe to America was sad and tragic. The book is full of stories, facts, a lot of history, and is highly entertaining as well as informative. https://candysplanet.wordpress.com/
I received Maiden Voyages as part of a NetGalley giveaway. During the first half of the twentieth century, between the first and second world wars in particular, ocean liners were a major source of transportation: used for both business and pleasure, in peace time and in wartime, transporting rich and poor alike. While they comprised a small percentage of the employees on board, women provided important services to passengers of all classes. In turn, the industry allowed women to gain a measure of economic and social independence that would have been denied to them on land. Meanwhile,, women from all walks of life traveled on ocean liners to begin new lives, vacation in luxury, and even scam fellow passengers. Maiden Voyages is the story of women on ocean liners and the opportunities and struggles they presented during a period of rapid change. I really enjoyed this. Told in roughly chronological order, it's filled with the stories of women from all walks of life, the circumstances under which they found themselves on board, and their experiences before, during, and after their time on the ship. While there are a few different women whose long-term affiliation with the industry means that their stories are threaded throughout, we're an otherwise broad range of "characters" and experiences, from the dire (steerage passengers escaping poverty and war, or single women needing to make a livelihood for themselves and their children) to the decadent (the first-class passengers who expected every convenience they enjoyed on land). There's admittedly a bias towards transatlantic crossings (and on a petty note, I could have done without the Trump family anecdote), but on the whole this was an excellent and insightful read.
Sian Evans' nonfictional work documents the lives and careers of women connected to early Twentieth Century Ocean Liners. The documentation is epic. As the great vessels are transformed from pleasure palaces to war ships and back again, the lives and career of these women change. This is a history of how the "big ships" propelled women's independence, creating careers for them, saving families, and raising some of them to celebrity status!
Since we live in a predominately "traveling on a jet plane" world these days, it's been easy for me to forget - to overlook, rather - that transatlantic travel was the major and most popular form of exodus transportation for over half of the 20th century. Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr fell in love while on a luxury ocean liner in An Affair to Remember, which is an old film I adore, but I never gave much thought as to why that setting could be or had been culturally significant. Nor did I take adequate time to assess what that said about, how it rolled into, so to speak, the social history of the time period. Similarly, I don't think I was conscious of how profoundly the Golden Age of Ocean Travel affected women in particular. At least, I wasn't prior to reading this. Maiden Voyages helped to broaden my mind in that respect through use of well-researched history and anecdotal exposition. At face value, what I learned from this book is that transatlantic travel from the 1900-1950's altered entire trajectories for women. It changed many of their lives. Evolved gender roles. Set new standards for employment. Going deeper than that, though, the female passengers and crew members who sailed on these vessels were privy to all sorts of opportunities that had never been extended to them before this. Jobs afloat, for one. Some financial independence. Even a semblance of freedom, with the ability to cross seas, to visit countries around the world, whether it was for work or for leisure. Some of these women worked as stewardess, conductresses. Others were nurses or engineers or hairdressers. There were those who survived shipwrecks, like "the Unsinkable Stewardess," Violet Jessop, who lived through three, and more still who lived through torpedo bombings, smuggling incidents, or hurricanes. Picture Brides traveled across oceans to marry men in foreign lands they'd never met, never seen, except in pictures they'd exchanged in letters. Around the time of the Great Wars, there were influxes of migrant and refugee women who were looking for better lives, fleeing persecution, especially from Germany once it fell under Hitler's Nazi regime. Luxury "floating hotel" cruises appealed to the rich and famous, to film stars and aristocrats and other celebrities, many of whom had their favorite ships or scurried onboard to indulge and imbibe during America's Prohibition Era. The author even makes the case that Thelma Furness's sea-borne love affair may have been a catalyst for Prince Edward's eventual abdication from the British royal throne. Amazing! In other words, whether they were passengers or seafarers, all the women who traveled by sea in the Golden Age had their own experiences, motivations, circumstances, or necessities for doing so. This book did a good job of giving voice to that. Telling those untold stories. Informative as well as absorbing! Recommended to those of you who have an interest in women's history. Thank you to NetGalley and Sara Beth over at St. Martin's Press for the ARC.
Maiden Voyages is an interesting account of women , who served as stewardesses and then nurses, on cruise ships, because they enjoyed the “working life afloat, despite its many tribulations, discomforts and dangers.” From the Titanic to the Queen Elizabeth, these voyages are historically described. Kudos to Sian Evans for her extensive research. Thank you St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review this ARC.
Maiden Voyages by S. Evans, published by St. Martin's Press, is a history nonfiction novel about the magnificent ocean liners and the women who traveled and worked there. A story of Schifffahrt, shipmates, pioneers and commoners set in the 19 hundereds. A story well researched, full of history, famous people, complex and suspenseful, ein Sittengemälde of the early 19 hundereds. I liked the storyline, liked reading about famous and non-famous passengers, a great read.
A marvelous and unique social history focused on woman passengers and workers who sailed the seas during ocean liners’ golden age. Well-researched and written, with a keen look at how such travel forever altered women’s lives. Highly recommended! 4 of 5 Stars Pub Date 10 Aug 2021 #MaidenVoyages #NetGalley Thanks to the author, St. Martin's Press, and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine.
this was an interesting read for fans of early cruise line history and the women who served on them. Violet Jessop who survived 3 different sinking voyages is one of the women profiled. An Upstairs/Downstairs for cruising fans.
A highly entertaining and informative social history of the women who worked and traveled on board ocean liners during the golden age of transatlantic travel. Through a series of biographical sketches covering women of all classes, the author shows how ocean travel, particularly between the two World Wars, afforded women a level of independence that they often could not attain on land. Readers are introduced to, among others, the “unsinkable” Violet Jessup, a stewardess who survived the sinking of the Orinoco, the Titanic, and the Britannic; Victoria Drummond, a ship’s engineer during World War II; Edith Sowerbutts, a conductress for unaccompanied women and children resettling in Canada, Hilda James, a champion swimmer who escaped a physically abusive family situation by becoming a swim instructor for Cunard Lines, and Thelma Furness, Gloria Vanderbilt’s twin sister and the longstanding mistress of the Price of Wales. Her sea-borne love affair with Aly Khan led Edward VIII to find a new mistress, Wallis Simpson for whom he would abdicate the throne. In addition to showing how sea voyages altered the lives of women who worked and traveled on the ocean liners, the author also highlights how the tumultuous events and seismic changes of this era altered sea travel. For example, the sinking of the Titanic led to a new focus on ship safety. Too woo back reluctant travelers, the industry added more lifeboats to existing ships and changed the structural design of new vessels. Modifications to the structural design of the Aquitania, which was already under construction when the Titanic sank in 1912, included a double hull and watertight compartments so that a collision was less likely to sink the ship. The growing number of women taking to the sea also transformed ship design. In 1874, Cunard introduced the first lounge exclusively for women and in 1929, Elsie MacKay, the third daughter of Lord Inchcape—the chairman of the steamship line P & O—was appointed to oversee the interior design of twelve of the company’s liners. The revamped ships included modern conveniences such as passenger lifts, electric radiators, and air ventilation, as well as furnishings inspired by various periods in British history. Similarly, the public spaces and staterooms of the Aquitania were specifically designed to please women—so much so that it was labeled “the Ladies Ship.” Of course, this level of luxury did not extend to those traveling in third class. Cabin accommodations for these passengers were on the lower decks and initially consisted of a windowless cell containing two rows of upper and lower bunks, separated by a toilet seat placed over a bucket. Yet, by the early twentieth century, many liners began introducing improvements here too, prompted by new business possibilities. War also transformed the liners; ships, such as the Aquitania and the Queen Mary, were transformed into troop carriers and/or hospital ships. Many of these repurposed passenger ships did not survive the wars, prompting a postwar boom in ship building that incorporated new technologies developed during the two world wars. The author also tells of the many Jews in the wake of Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 who sought escape from persecution and death through transatlantic travel. One such traveler was the Viennese-born actor and inventor Hedy Lamarr (Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler). Lamarr became a Hollywood sensation in the 1930s and was the co-inventor of an early version of the frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication, originally intended for torpedo guidance. Through the eyes of Edith Sowerbutts, the reader also experiences the ill-fated voyage of the City of Benares. The ship had been charged with transporting children from London to Canada; it was thought that they would be safer there. However, on its fourth day at sea, it was torpedoed by a German U-boat; most of the children did not survive. Yet despite the many stories of the two world wars and of how Prohibition in the United States impacted foreign liners, there is one noticeable gap in the narrative. We hear little or nothing about the “Spanish flu” pandemic. Yet, without doubt, it was ocean-going vessels that contributed to the spread of this disease. Thus, it is rather surprising that this story goes uncommented on. Perhaps, this silence reflects a silence in the primary documents that the author consulted. The book is based largely on English-language sources, and both the US and British government were keen to suppress stories that they perceived as a threat to the public morale; this included news of the pandemic. In Britain, Sir Arthur Newsholme, chief medical officer of the British Local Government Board went so far as to suggest it was unpatriotic to express concern about the flu, rather than the war, and the 1918 Sedition Act had a similar effect on reporting about the flu in the United States. Yet, this oversight does not detract seriously from the narrative. Of more concern is the author’s focus on the “life-affirming” dimension of sea travel. Although she notes the back-breaking labor that women performed on ships, their substandard wages compared to that of their male colleagues, the threat that sea travel posed to their on-land reputations, and the dangers (from storms to abusive male co-workers), her decision to focus almost exclusively on the success stories, that is, women whose lives largely were transformed for the better by their experiences at sea, results in a somewhat lopsided narrative of how transatlantic travel impacted women’s lives. We hear only briefly of the women who gave up everything for a ticket to the new world only to have their hopes dashed at Ellis Island. We hear nothing of the lives of the single women who disembarked from ships with high hopes only to be pushed into prostitution. Without these stories to counterbalance the success stories, the picture painted is likely too optimistic. Still, this book is well worth reading, as it gives the reader a glimpse into a bygone age of transatlantic travel and the women who benefited from it.
Maiden Voyages told the story of the rise of women during ocean voyages from the Titanic to wartime. The stories were very interesting and very well researched. The intersection of the stories really tied the book together well and I found myself wanting to see what came next.
If you like historical books about ships then you will love this novel. The author touched on the sinking of The Titanic and even flappers from the 1920's. Depending on your interest, you might favor certain chapters over an other. I don't know why but I didnt even consider that trafficking and prostitution would be a problem on a transcontinental ship. Women chaperones helped prevent this. You can learn more through one of the stories of a chaperone. I was disappointed that pictures were not included. Though the authors uses excellent descriptions, I would have liked to see pictures of some of the ships, that I had not heard of, Thank you to St. Martin's publishing company for an ARC review of this novel. My review will also be shown on Goodreads.
Women have worked on ships since Victorian times; Dickens mentions gratitude for the woman who assisted his family. The numbers rose and the types of jobs during the twentieth century. Sian Evans in this work profiles the working class women who found financial independence on the ships as well as the women they cared for. Recognizable names are scattered throughout, women who made a name in entertainment, politics, reporting and royalty. The work is filled with facts, anecdotes, quotes and much research to support their stories. Individual ships are highlighted and their long or short careers through years of war and peace. Many of the working women survived sinkings, along with Prohibition and the Depression, learning new skills such as nursing, secretarial, cruise directing and mariner positions. They adapted as well as the ships to society’s needs. On the whole, the lives of these women prove far more interesting than their “onboard” celebrities for they demonstrate tenacity, courage, creativity and sacrifice.
I received this book as an advanced readers’ copy from Netgalley and thought it provided great insights and interesting stories about the lives of women who traveled on voyages across the sea in different occupations such as stewardesses, laundresses, conductresses, and nursery nurses. These women were pioneers in a sense because women had traditionally not been given the opportunities that the women in this book received. The women in this book established themselves as seafarers and changed views of women in society. What made this book really engaging were the stories and characters that were highlighted throughout the book. Characters such as Violet Jessops and Edith Cowerbutts were extraordinary because they not only worked during wartime but in the case of Ms. Jessops survived boat crashes that sunk the ships they worked on. Edith Cowerbutts acted as a conductress and helped emigrants traveling to the US for new opportunities and new lives along their long journey across the sea. I particularly enjoyed reading about the different ships and how the idea of transatlantic travel changed over time. Passenger ships at first were one of the only ways that people could travel to another country but over time air travel became a more dominant and popular way to travel to other parts of the world. The evolution of sea travel was fascinating to read about and to explore how cruise ships overtook passenger liners. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about strong female characters, interesting history, and changes within the travel industry from the 1920s to the present.
This book provides a fascinating glimpse at the by-gone age of ocean liner journeys, when the only way to travel across the world was by ship. Though I’ve read several history books about ocean voyages and their perils, the focus on women as staff and passengers was a refreshing perspective. Since opportunities for female workers were scarce in those days, a stewardess position aboard an ocean-going ship was highly sought after. Evans outlines the stories of these women in a compelling, easy to read style. I admired them not only for their bravery – it took a lot of guts to sail across the world with the threat of storms, shipwrecks, and looming icebergs, not to mention the cramped and closed quarters – but also for the pioneering, adventurous spirit many of them seemed to possess. In short, this a very informative, well researched work of history.
Maiden Voyages by Sian Evans 368 Pages Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Release Date: August 10, 2021 Nonfiction (Adult), History, Travel This book covers the women that worked in the ocean liner industry beginning in the early twentieth century. Chapter 1: Floating Palaces and the ‘Unsinkable’ Violet Jessop Chapter 2: From the Ritz to the Armistice Chapter 3: Sail Away: Post-war Migration and the Escape from Poverty Chapter 4: The Roaring Twenties Chapter 5: Edith Sowerbutts and Her Contemporaries Chapter 6: For Leisure and Pleasure Chapter 7: Depression and Determination Chapter 8: The Slide to War Chapter 9: Women Under Fire Chapter 10: Romance, Repatriation and Recovery Conclusion: Sailing into the Sunset I was unaware that women were required on ocean liners to act as companions and chaperons to unaccompanied women and minors. These are the women included in the book. Josephine Baker Tallulah bankhead Victoria Drummond Thelma Furness Martha Gellhorn Hilda James Violet Jessop Nin Kilburn Hedy Lamarr Mary Anne MacLeod Maida Nixson Marie Riffelmacher Edith Sowerbutts The research on the women and the working conditions was impeccable. The author presents the information in very easy to read format. I learned so much about the women and the industry. If you enjoy reading about women’s history or travel stories, I believe you will enjoy this book as well.
This was a fun and intriguing book, as it focused on women working at sea, usually on a ocean liner, both before and after the Great War, during the heyday of those big ships. After WWI, many women had lost husbands, fathers, fiances, etc., and needed to find work to survive on their own, and some decided to try their luck at sea. They worked long, hard hours, but found the independence they wanted, as well as the opportunity to see some of the world. So many men from England and the Commonwealth died during the war that there simply were too few men of that generation for all the women left behind, and some were able to meet and marry men they worked with on board ship. A few women were featured , which I liked, as it really personalized the whole experience. Overall, a great book about a vanished age.
“Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them,” is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the newly independent women who traveled across the Atlantic on the great ocean liners between the time of the Two World Wars and shortly after the Second World War. The book features biographical sketches of well-known women, such as Tallulah Bankhead, Josephine Baker, and Hedy Lamarr, as well as lesser known women, such as stewardesses, mechanics, a swim instructor and a “conductress,” who cared for unaccompanied women and children on the North Atlantic route. This interwar period has always held a fascination for me, as its vibrant culture and frenetic party scenes provided such a sharp contrast to the austerity and pathos of the two world wars. I am also particularly interested in the ocean liners of that period, so I was overjoyed to be provided an ARC copy of the book for my review. The book was very entertaining and enlightening, especially with its emphasis on women’s new-found independence following the greater roles they were provided during World War I. I particularly enjoyed the chapters which focused on the Queen Mary, describing the history of its construction, the women who designed certain of the ship’s interiors, as well as the celebrities who voyaged on her. In addition, the author does an excellent job of depicting the Queen Mary’s service during the war as a troop transport ship, and the little known role it played in saving German Jews escaping Nazi Germany. I had one minor quibble with the book, and that was an error I found in Chapter 6, in which the author incorrectly referred to the “Majestic” as the sister ship to the ill-fated Titanic and Britannic. The actual surviving sister ship was the “Olympic.” (In fact, these three ships were categorized as the Olympic Class ships). This error was an apparent oversight, as in a later chapter, the author correctly identified the Olympic as the sister ship. Hopefully this type of error will be corrected before the book is published. Notwithstanding the one issue identified above, I found the book entertaining and enlightening and would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the role that transatlantic ocean liners played in offering women social and financial independence.
Kindle Copy for Review from NetGalley and St. Martin Press. I received a free, advance copy of this book and this is my unbiased and voluntary review. It is about a quick historical journey of maiden voyages and the women who worked and travelled on them. A fascinate read that will sweep you into a world of ocean liners. The famous women who used them as a mode to travel while the cross the oceans. In a world before the use of planes, we see both worlds as they collide.
This is a non-fiction book which is something I don’t usually read but when St Martin’s Press asked if I would read it I did so. It is an interesting story of the numerous women that worked on ocean liners throughout the glory days of sea travel. As it has been with other occupations women were not utilized or paid as they should have been. Reading the harrowing tails that some of these women endured made me wonder why they would want to return to sea but the lure of the sea kept them going back. The details on the ship building was not all that informative as it doesn’t interest me but the rest of it was interesting and informative not to mention educational. I believe this book would be of great interest to those that like ocean liners, WWI and WWII, the women’s movement and the rich and famous of olde.
Pros :: Really enjoyed this book! So interesting how the author intermingled less famous people (Violet Jessops, The Unsinkable Stewardess,” or Edith Sowerbutts) and the well-known like Hedy Lamar who “staked everything she possessed on a single transatlantic ticket in order to secure a film contract,” or Hilda James, the world champion swimmer who reflects how hard life can be and yet the ships were able to provide her opportunities to transcend her difficult beginnings to Martha Gellhorn, the fabulous WWII correspondent, and Tallulah Bankhead to pivot to background info on the Queen Mary (Cunard ship.) Nice summaries at the end of each chapter. Well written; reads smoothly and enough historical information accompanied by statistical data to make this well balanced without becoming dry. Hope this author will write a similar book about ships going across the Pacific. Also intrigued about the authors family connections to the shipping industry as well — well placed and interesting. “For many, the Queen Mary had come to embody the triumph of dogged determination and willpower over the enervating effect of the Great Depression.” Page 219 Cons :: Nothing Cover art :: 5 out of 5 Gorgeous!
“Maiden Voyages” is a very well-written, very enjoyable 20th-Century history about ocean liners and the women who sailed on them as passengers or crew. It covers the period from the sinking of the Titanic to the 1950s and encompasses WWI (“The Great War”), the “Roaring Twenties,” the “Great Depression,” WWII, and the post-war years. Author Siân Evans takes us aboard some of the most famous vessels of those times: Titanic, Lusitania, Olympic, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, Normandie, Ile de France, Bremen; and gives us glimpses into the lives of celebrities such as Tallulah Bankhead (star of Hitchcock’s “Lifeboat”), Hedy Lamar (Hollywood A-lister and inventor of technology now used in cell phones), Gloria Swanson (“Sunset Boulevard”), reporter Martha Gellhorn, and Wallace Simpson (for whom King Edward VIII abdicated the English Throne). But “Maiden Voyages” is not a “gossipy tell-all.” In addition to recounting incidents involving some of the rich and famous, it covers a variety of less famous women involved in business, commerce, and design as well as working women who served aboard-ship as stewardesses, “conductors,” chaperones, and even engineers. It is a serious examination of how these women and the ships they sailed affected history; and how the industry contributed to the expansion of women’s independence, their participation in endeavors that had once been for men only, and the furtherance of their careers. I was most impressed by the range of topics Ms. Evans managed to cover, including ship-building and design; disasters at sea; ship-board life and the differences between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class accommodations; crew accommodations; immigration/emigration; post-WWI economies, crossings as generators/facilitators of business opportunities and contacts, Edward VIII’s abdication (and how it might not have occurred but for one particular crossing), the rise of Nazi Germany and the role ships played carrying Jewish refugees to new lands; conversion of liners into troop transports; convoying and German submarine “wolf packs” during WWII, Prime Minister Churchill traveling under an assumed name; post-war reunification of families; and much more. Kudos to Ms. Evans for what, IMO, is a 5-star performance. Indeed, I liked “Maiden Voyages” so much that I may go back and read it again. My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for inviting me to read an advance copy of this work. The above review is my own, independent opinion.
This was a really interesting book for any history buffs out there! It was a fascinating look at the era of ocean liner travel and how women fit into that bygone time. The only woman covered in this book that I was very familiar with is Violet Jessie, so I enjoyed learning about so many other women and their many reasons for their choices and their often fascinating lives. One of the other things I enjoyed most about this book was watching as changes came as we move from th me Edwardian era through WWII. It was like reading a little slice of history through women’s eyes. I had previously read the author’s book ‘Life Below Stairs’ and if you enjoyed reading this book, I strongly encourage you to give that book a read as well! I’m looking forward to picking up many of Sian Evans’s other books which sound interesting too.
Maiden Voyages takes a look at the women who worked and sailed on ocean liners during the Golden Age. It is well researched and very interesting. The women, who worked on these liners, paved the way for the women who work on cruise ships now Only 2% of employees on cruise ships are women. The women who worked during the Golden Age faced ridicule from crew members. Many women left home to have a life on the sea to support their families. When you read this book, you will meet some interesting women. The unsinkable lady, the first woman engineer, the stewardess who worked on the ships to support her ailing mother, nurses and many others. These women not only worked on the liners during peace time, but many worked on the ships during WWI and WWII in different positions. If you like history, I recommend this book. I enjoyed it, but gave it 4 ⭐'s because in some places it I felt it got bogged down. Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and author for the Kindle Version of this book. Happy Reading 😊
WoW! I wasn't expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did! Seriously started this book at 2:01am and finished around 5am I couldn't sleep...... thank you so much NetGalley St. Martin's Press and author for this interesting historical nonfiction ebook! Maiden Voyages is a wonderful piece of history. We follow the lives of thirteen women as they travel onboard. This is such a unique and fascinating book and I really enjoyed the reading and actually learning more!n I loved how well detailed and researched this book was. Evans goes into great detail here and its so fascinating I couldn't stop reading! Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to read and review this amazing book!
368 pages 4 stars Ms. Evans give a colorful and descriptive history of women as crew members on ships. She describes each of their duties and the onerous hours they had to work for very little money. She outlines the evolution of liners from being primarily cargo to carrying passengers and as the number of women passengers increased, the number of women crew necessarily increased as well. Then she tells the reader about certain individual women who traveled the liners. These women were all different from one another, somewhat colorful and handled issues in their lives uniquely. This is a great book. It is interesting and informative. I truly enjoyed learning about the women discussed in the book. I want to thank St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for forwarding to me a copy of this bok for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Evan delivers an examination of the role women had on big ocean liners from 1900-1950s. She interspersed the facts with individuals memories, diaries, recollections to bolster the story. Much of this I have already read about in other books, but she does capture a time that will never be again. I do have one critique when she talks about the Lusitania. The author supports the supposition the Lusitania was not carrying any arms, when in fact it was. Aside from that Maiden Voyages is a nice introduction for the novice reader about women and big ships during their heyday.
An all-encompassing telling of the history of women on ships. Their fortitude, determination, and humour from the dire days of The Titanic to their settlement in far-away countries. This book kept you reading, weaving between the everyday celebrity of the time and the women who had to work to put food on their table. The conditions, pay, devastation of two wars, and the social interactions between passengers and the onboard workers are well-told and bring all these people to life. Highly recommend for anyone interested in history that is deeply researched and made real. The book is long but well-worth it as the focus of the chapters evolves as in any good story. A definite 'thinking book' filled with realizations of what it was to be a working woman during those times, Thank you to #NetGalley and #St.Martin'sPress for the opportunity to review this early copy in exchange for my opinion.
I received an E-ARC of this book through Netgalley. The description mentioning Downton Abbey drew me in, but what I found it to have in common with Downton Abbey is the class system so prevalent in travel from the very rich to the steerage/almost cargo-like passengers piled into the bottom of the ships. This book was at it's most interesting to me when it is talking about real-life examples of women who worked or traveled by sea. It covered a lot of history up until the 1960s when the airlines really took over the travel needs of most customers who had to rely on sea voyages prior to airplane travel. It was interesting to read about women getting better jobs or adventures when they worked on ships instead of the limited jobs available to women between WWI and WWII.
Which is most important to you when you travel – the journey or the destination? Sian Evans sheds light on the pioneering women who sailed during the Golden Age of travel, either as passengers or as seafarers, and points out that the experience transformed their lives for the better. It’s easy to see that at this time in history, the journey was the luxury and was more important than the destination. How quickly this changed! Once technology and engineering progressed, long-haul flights were possible and passengers were able to traverse the 3000 miles of ocean in much less time in the air than by sea. What did change was the experience. Passengers traded the luxury of ocean liners and fine dining for convenience and affordability. No longer is the journey enjoyable. Now it’s the destination. The seats on planes are cramped, you’re invariably stuck beside someone you’d never choose to spend time with, the food is questionable, the entertainment is spotty at best and you’re forced to cooperate as someone roots through your luggage and pats you down. How far we’ve come in 50 years! I’m biased towards sea travel. I’m an avid cruiser with over 400 days at sea. In my opinion, the worst day at sea I’ve ever had is still better than the best day I’ve experienced on a plane – apples to apples – a regular cabin on a ship and a regular seat on a plane. Cruising is the best of both worlds; you get to enjoy the journey and the destination. The delight and appeal of this book is not just the author’s writing skills, but the main era in which it is written. Evans book is a gem which brings to light women of all ages, backgrounds and social classes who chose to travel by sea or work at sea. She touches on the social, technical and historical aspects of ocean liners and sprinkles the information with a generous helping of anecdotes and interesting stories. Interesting fact: Cunard Chief Officer Stephen Gronow of the Aquitania was the author’s great-great uncle. The Golden Age of travel is gone, but the spirit of travel lives on. I think we can all agree that after the year we’ve all experienced, we’re more than ready to dust off our suitcases and hop on a plane or a boat. This non-fiction book is to be published on August 10, 2021. I was gifted this advance copy by Sian Evans, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.
Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them by Sian Evans is an excellent book that begins with the Titanic and moves on to the Lusitania, covering the time period between the two World Wars, and ending shortly after World War II. It is a fascinating look at the women who were seeking an adventure, a better job, or just a way to get away from home and found it by taking jobs aboard the ocean liners on the Atlantic Ocean. Evans includes stories of the well known, like actresses Hedy Lamarr and Tallulah Bankhead who traveled as guests, as well as stories of the stewardesses and the mechanics and others who worked aboard the ships. I especially enjoyed the incredible story of Violet Jessop, a stewardess, who survived the sinking of three ships including the Titanic. In addition to the stories about the people onboard these ships, the book delves into the history of a time when traveling by ship was the only way to travel the world. Evans provides a great deal of history including the construction of the Queen Mary, the role that it played in helping German Jews who were fleeing from the Nazis in Germany, ship safety and the important role women played in the changes in the structural and interior design of the ships. I like that Evans included Notes, a Bibliography and an Index in the book, I found these very helpful. It is a very well researched book that is also a good read. I highly recommend it. Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing me with a digital copy of this book prior to publication in exchange for my review. This review is being posted immediately to my GoodReads account and will be posted on Amazon and Barnes and Noble upon the book's publication.
As travel across the Atlantic becomes more common, the comfort of women travelers must be arranged. Thus, a new avenue of employment arises for intrepid women willing to take it on. From celebrities to stewardesses, including The Unsinkable Stewardess who survives multiple sinkings, this book sheds light on a unique part of human history. I've never been overly interested in the history of ocean travel, but the subject of this book caught my attention immediately. It was fascinating to read examples of the different lives of women who crossed the ocean. There were stewardesses, who began as maids and worked their way up. Celebrities who made multiple crossings for their careers and had favorite ships. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the luxury ships with their staircases and such for dramatic entrances. At times, the narrative feels like it goes off on tangents explaining certain details but will bring it back to the main point. There are a few phrases the author seems to especially like, such as when referring to those who have "a portable typewriter and an outgoing personality." Overall, it was an interesting read. Those who are interested in ocean travel or simply have an interest in an avenue of women's work that allowed them more freedom will enjoy this book.
That was a Great Book! I have just read Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them, by Siân Evans. It is refreshing to read a book that is both interesting and intriguing, plus has a topic that is unique. I thoroughly enjoyed the read. It has so many interesting facts, figures, and tidbits. I had no idea about the impact that women had on this topic. There was a great deal of research put into the writing of this book, and so many details about so many people – both male and female. Thank you to NetGalley, Author Siân Evans, and St. Martin's Press for my advanced copy to read and review. #MaidenVoyages #NetGalley
What a fantastic and intriguing topic to study and write about! I learned so much about what freedom ocean liner travel gave women. Also, I learned what peerage meant on the Great ships and how classism was still very evident in the work that the poorest women did on the ships. I learned so much from this interesting read!
Cruise trips are fun, pampering and rejuvenating when we sip drinks and sail smoothly on the waves. Has it always been like that? How did it all start? How did these facilities evolve? What circumstances created the need for on board photographers, grand staircases, chefs, stewardesses, royal decor, non-stop entertainment and first class parties that we expect on a cruise trip? You can get all the answers and many other details in this book along with illuminating stories of women who set themselves for transatlantic travel during the first half of twentieth century. The intentions and interests for travel are as diverse as the people who travelled during that era. This book I feel is well researched and it was eye-opening on many aspects of long voyages in those early years where women weren’t openly accepted to find jobs, much less to be travelling on sea, delivering duties as efficiently as many men, capable of dealing with storms, icebergs, sea sickness and all other inconveniences while the ships were at the mercy of the wide oceans. The stories of many great women, famous personalities, artists, writers and businessmen who saw trans-Atlantic travel as their ticket to new ideas, exposure to new culture, means to generate new business, get popularity and many other new life changing avenues that these voyages promised is illuminating. I enjoyed reading these stories and I am hoping you would too! My rating: 4.5
Thank you to NetGalley for obtaining a copy of this book for me to read. A highly entertaining and informative social history of the women who worked and traveled on board ocean liners during the golden age of transatlantic travel. The research done to create this story is admirable! Through a series of biographical sketches covering women of all classes, the author shows how ocean travel was between the two World Wars, Women enjoyed a level of independence that they often could not attain on land. One story was. the “unsinkable” Violet Jessup, a stewardess who survived the sinking of the Orinoco, the Titanic, and the Britannic; Then there was Victoria Drummond, a ship’s engineer during World War II; and Edith Sowerbutts, a conductress for unaccompanied women and children resettling in Canada, Hilda James, a champion swimmer who escaped a physically abusive family and was hired as a swim instructor. The book explains the Golden Age of Ocean Travel and how it affected women.. It changed many of their lives. Women set a new standard for employment. . Some women found financial independence. and freedom crossing the ocean to visit American.countries. They took men’s jobs as they went off to war making ammunition’s and planes. They took over administrative jobs. They learned to be sailors, pilots got life boat certificates.. Some of these women worked as stewardess, conductresses. nurses, engineers or hairdressers. These women survived torpedo bombings, smuggling incidents, and hurricanes. War Brides traveled across oceans to marry men they never saw or met in foreign lands.. The upper decks were the wealthy, actors, stars, they brought tons of clothes to change during the day. They brought trunks and their maids and valets. If you are into the history and detail of ocean travel and how women played a changing part then by all means this history with all its detail is for you. It is quite the making to write this with historical characters thread thru the story.
I really liked Maiden Voyages. An in-depth look into the beginning of Ocean Liner travel that crossed the Atlantic and the woman that worked and traveled aboard the grand ships. I was fascinated by the many facts about the Cunard liners. From the 1800's after the great war all the way to today I learned so many things. The descriptive writing made me feel like I was reliving the past through the brave woman and big stars. The stories about the different classes, immigrants, business people and the rich and famous. The way the Ocean Liners were transformed to war ships and the story about the Titanic. A very interesting read, I learned about Donald Trumps family, just fascinating facts that I never knew. I give Maiden Voyages 4 stars for its fact based writing. I would recommend this book to History/Non-Fiction Fans. #Maiden Voyages #NetGalley
I enjoyed this story.. it was well written and interesting. I will definitely be on the lookout for more by this author. Thanks to publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.
I was offered an advanced galley of this book in exchange for an honest review. I was hesitant to read this book at first because it is not a topic I normally am reading about, but I am glad I read this. It was a topic I didn’t know I needed to know about. The anecdotal stories of these brave and courageous women were fascinating. The lives these women led and what they did aboard ocean liners, I never knew was a thing. The progress of these women and their jobs over time is fascinating for me to see because our life is so different today because of women like this. A little bit in the middle that focused on just society norms of the times was a little dry for my taste, though I recognize the importance of this information to the topic as a whole. If you are interested in strong women role models this is a great book of examples from our history. Thank you St. Martin’s Press for this book.
I am so glad I found this book! Maiden Voyages is the interesting story of the women who traveled and worked on ocean liners during the golden age of luxurious ocean travel. This is a unique and fascinating deep dive into the lives of these women: stewardesses, refugees, debutantes, business women, and many more who traveled on these magnificent ocean liners. I learned so much from this book! For example, a stewardess who survived the sinking of the Titanic learned that her pay had been stopped by their employer the night the Titanic sunk! I highly recommend this entertaining book! 4.5 rounded up
Maiden Voyages is a great recounting of life on the high seas beginning about 100 years ago. The women of that time were definitely risk-takers. With humble accommodations for most, threat of war, seasickness, and being separated from their families, these female pioneers persevered. Not only did they work as maids and stewardesses, they completed tasks such as nursing and engineering. Since the Great War, more and more women were working outside the home; ocean travel opened up new opportunities for them. They could find work anywhere in the world. There are many stimulating stories, such as Christiana for example, who secretly stowed away in the hold where hundreds of tons of gravel had been brought in to act as ballast which stabilized the ship. She was sealed in for more than a week before she was let out. It was a dangerous choice she had made but, luckily, she survived. She wanted to get to American in order to send money to her desperate family. There many similar stories of women determined to better their lives. The book covers women from all walks of life, rich, poor, famous, and ordinary. It also describes how conditions aboard ship had improved over the years. A great deal of research was done to complete this nonfictional work, and it made for a very interesting read.
Maiden Voyages is a book about ships and women and so much more. The author discusses women throughout many years and their roles on a ship. Much of the history shared is about an event and or person on a ship. It was filled with fascinating information and facts with some very surprising outcomes. Each ship felt like a historical tour with all the description of a virtual tour at Biltmore. I enjoyed following the survivors of the sinking ships. I can imagine what that felt like. And I had no idea there were so many things for women to do on a ship. I highly recommend if you love history. Thanks St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley.
I was invited by the publisher to read and review this book. I am interested in history and am a seasoned cruiser. The history of travel on ocean liners is particularly interesting to me. This work of nonfiction focused on the women who worked and traveled on ocean-going vessels from the early 20th century until the middle of the 20th century, when air travel largely replaced transatlantic shipboard travel. This book is well-researched and thoroughly covers the topic. The author included numerous women who worked on ocean liners in various capacities including Violet Jessop, who famously survived the sinking of the Titanic. I read "Titanic Survivor: The Newly Discovered Memoirs of Violet Jessop Who Survived Both the Titanic and Britannic Disasters". I found the discussion of Jessop's experiences to be well summarized in "Maiden Voyages". The author also included women who traveled for business or pleasure. Female passengers from a variety backgrounds were discussed including desperate immigrants escaping poverty who traveled in steerage to movie stars and royalty. I found this book enjoyable to read and informative. I would recommend it to anyone interested in women's history, maritime history, as well as people who enjoy modern cruise vacations. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Maiden Voyages by Sian Evans is a well written historical book. It goes through the amazing history of sea travel and its mighty changes. The women who made it happen and historical changes throughout. The idea of what makes comfortable ships traveling possible. Immigration, sinking ships, royalty traveling. Female passengers would like a women to work with them. Going from the RMS Britannica all the way to the Queen Mary. Down to the stewardess dress and appearance to look as dour as possible. To the idea of a self serving independent women who has to be morally perfect on a ship journey. How it was considered domestic work, to being the provider of the family. How women took to seas for different reasons. All down to the change of pace during World war two. Down to all the fascinating celebrities that participated. From Josephine Baker to Talluah Bankhead. Down to using these ships as last escape routes to America for a better life or to save a life. I'm happy to get the opportunity to read this Arc, that is provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The Publishing date comes out August 10, 2021 be sure to check it out!
Maiden Voyages is a wonderful account of the women who worked cruise ships throughout history. I really enjoyed hearing about the different ships and the things that the women endured. Of course, there are some sad accounts, such as the Titanic that are discussed, and there are some really fun ones such as the 20's liners. I am one that always enjoys learning little historical tidbits that I didn't know, and I feel like I got so many of those! I think this will be an enjoyable read for readers that enjoy history and learning of how women have changed history. I was provided a gifted audio and physical copy of this book, and I enjoyed jumping between the two formats. The narrator did a wonderful job with this one!
Maiden Voyages is packed full of facts and interesting stories about the women who worked on oceanliners during their golden age. I enjoyed the glimpse into life at that times, but found the book slow going at times.
Maiden Voyages is the an anecdotal history of the women who sailed on transatlantic crossings during the golden age of ocean liner travel as crew, refugees, entertainers and aristocrats. The book is packed with historical notes and tidbits about real people. Among the many profiled women who worked on the ships are the "unsinkable" Violet Jessop (who first survived the sinking of the Titanic, then the then two more!), Fannie Jane Morecroft (who becaue chief stewardess of the Lancastria), Hilda James (Olympic swimmer who worked as a swim coach), Edith Sowerbutts (who chaperoned women and children. and assisted with births onboard). Anecdotes also highlight the famous: Hedy Lamar, who's grand entrances onboard the Normandy helped secured her a lucrative film contract; Josephine Baker and Nancy Astor, as well as male film stars Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino and Johnny Weissmuller. Mary Anne MacLead, fled abject poverty in Scotland, then met and married real estate developer Fred Trump (and ultimately gave birth to future US President Donald Trump). Starting in the late 19th Century, the author covers the entire golden age of transatlantic sailing from the 1890s through WWII and its aftermath. This book is the ultimate read for history buffs who enjoy reading about international sailing with a special emphasis on the roles played by women. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the advance reader copy of Maiden Voyages. I enjoyed reading it.
Maiden Voyages narrates part of the history of women going to sea as crew and passengers from the 1840’s to the 1950’s. Most of the employees and crew were from Great Britain, but the passengers discussed spanned from the United States across the Atlantic to Eastern Europe. Women worked for the ocean liner companies for many reasons: family support, self support, or just because they wanted to! World War I decimated the population of marriageable men, and at that time, women were mainly forced to rely upon men to earn money to live. In the aftermath of the devastating War, many women emigrated to the United States and Canada for this reason. But women going to sea started a lot earlier than that. Author Sian Evans starts her narrative early in the 19th Century with a young woman allowed to got to sea because of her father’s position with the shipping company. Then she moves on to captain’s wives and to stewardesses who assisted passengers in their cabins; then to conductresses, who were used mainly during large immigration streams from Europe of women and children to safeguard and to guide those passengers through the immigration process. The narrative then moves on to famous and infamous passengers and their behavior while afloat. I have to say this was very interesting, and it finally cemented in my mind who Thelma Furness, mistress to the Prince of Wales and friend of Wallis Simpson, was (American fashion designer and celebrity Gloria Vanderbilt was her sister). The harrowing adventures of women at sea during both WWI and WWII is recounted; most of it I have not read before or seen in documentaries. I am a bit of a WWII history buff and it was refreshing to see this slice of history. I liked the little bit included about the Wrens (WRNS, Women’s Royal Naval Service). Formed in 1917 and disbanded in 1919, it was reformed in 1939 at the start of WWII; generally, the Service has not been covered very much in popular histories. All in all, this was a very interesting and enjoyable book to read; I already recommended it to several friends while I was only half-way through the book. There is a local book club (in western Wisconsin) that may use it because of my strong recommendation. I was provided with an e-Galley of this book in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Sara Beth Haring at St. Martin’s Press, author Sian Evans, and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
Well researched, hugely interesting and highly entertaining, Maiden Voyages tells the story of women who sailed the seas. Starting with early seafaring pioneers who started as stewardesses and became ships engineers and carried ranks equivalent to those held by men, and including women who influenced major changes to sea travel through two world wars and beyond, Maiden Voyages clearly shows us the impact that women had on how we travel on ships, an impact that lasts until today and touches every part of sea travel from the boats themselves to the services provided to help immigrants o the sometimes brutal journeys, to the marketing of cruise travel and the design of rooms and other spaces. A thoroughly interesting read which includes the famous such as Hedy Lamarr and Josephine Baker to the previously unknowns Violet Jessup and Edith Sowerbutts and even an ancestor of a former president, these women prospered, succeeded and influenced the seafaring world. A must read!
Maiden Voyages By Sian Evans This book is about many inter-related subjects: the halcyon days of Atlantic crossings; women in the cruise industry work force; immigration from Europe to North America; and social classes and mores in both Europe and North America and on cruise ships. Told in a series of anecdotes, the stories of women who worked on and travelled on these ships is very interesting. The author introduces everyone from impoverished immigrants to film stars to royalty. We meet Valentino and Chaplin, the Prince of Wales and Wallace Simpson, and various other celebrity and society personages, and we learn their backstories. We learn about the hierarchy of women who worked the ships – hairdressers, nurses, directresses, and more. The author even includes the story of Mary Anne MacLeod, who arrives in New York to work as a domestic and manages to marry and found a wealthy dynasty. This book is an engaging read. For anyone who enjoys ocean voyages, the book holds lots of information concerning shipboard history.
I got so much more than I expected from this book! Maiden voyages by Sian Evans is an interesting and insightful read that takes you on a tour of the magnificent ocean liners that traversed between the continents during the 20’s and 30’s. You get to peek into the lives of different women who had no choice but to take on jobs on these liners serving as stewardesses and conductresses (chaperones for unaccompanied women or children) or hairdressers and masseuses in order to support their families, siblings and aging parents. It also brings you into the lives of socialites as they enjoyed traveling from New York to France and England to either find the latest fashions or find a single rich suitor. These socialites weren’t the only ones finding husbands as dancers and showgirls were able to get in on the available catches also. Some history lessons were learned as well: “The Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth transported more than a million troops as part of the war effort.” “August of 1939 when war was announced the Queen Mary was on her way to NY loaded with those fleeing Europe to avoid getting caught up in the war. On board were Albert Einstein and his wife as well as Bob Hope and spouse. Lots of great reading in the pages of this novel.” I found this to be an excellent read and one that I just couldn’t put down.
This is just what a popular history book should be -- thoroughly researched, fascinating and entertaining, yet not the least bit dry or pedantic. Very, VERY highly recommended. Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC copy for my review.
A heartfelt thank you to St. Martin's Press for inviting me to read this title for the purpose of a review. Maiden Voyages is the book I didn't know I needed in my reading life. I'm an historian by training and I'm always looking for new narratives that can teach me something outside of my areas of research and interest. I've never really thought much about steamship travel and women's role in it, but this book paints such a vivid picture of this important method of transportation and the social history of the period. Evans's narrative is highly readable and unique. It's a definite recommended title.
Maiden Voyages is a must read story. Full of interesting women and their lives it gave me real Eric Larson Dead Wake Vibes. Fast paced and an easy page Turner, it was a hard book to put down. I couldn’t recommend it enough!!
Thank you to St Martin’s Press and to NetGalley for sending me an ARC of Maiden Voyages by Sian Evans to read and review. “Seafaring women tended to be self sufficient and independent characters.” The evolution of ships for travel and the gradual employment of women is fascinating. Many got their start during the wars as members of the armed forces and showed amazing bravery and courage. Travel before airplanes crossed the Atlantic was as much a social event as well as a means of transportation. Ms Evans tells us about many famous people and the comfort, glamour and safety of ships since the Titanic. I was privileged to have sailed on Celebrity Edge in early 2020 with Captain Kate Mc Cue, the first American woman to command a mega ship. And to have met her hairless cat, Bug Naked, who travels with her. Maiden Voyages is non-fiction but the interaction of the women, passengers and crew, almost reads like a collection of short stories. One story is about Marks and Spencer supplying warm clothes for 90 children being sent away to safety from potential bombings on a ship escorted by women employees. Unfortunately the ship was torpedoed and sank. Look for this book which publishes August 10, 2021. .
Thank you to NetGalley for providing an eARC and an Advanced Listening Copy in exchange for an honest review. Maiden Voyages is a welcome study of women on the water. Much of what I've read and seen focuses on men, especially those in the Navy or on board a ship during the First and Second World Wars. And while both wars are certainly discussed in Maiden Voyages, they aren't the focal point. Evans looks at the women who worked on ships, the women who took passage on them, and even those that performed on them. I was expecting a fairly light book about rich passengers on ocean liners (a la The Titanic) but this is far more wide-ranging and thoughtful. I have to say, I was a little worried when The Titanic came up early on- a lot of books fixate on it- but she discussed it and then moved on to equally interesting ships and women.
This was a fascinating book about the golden age of ocean liners told through the stories of women who traveled or worked on them. I've always been fascinated with ocean liners since I first learned about the Titanic. Combine that interest with my long history of working seasonal positions in Yellowstone and this book instantly caught my interest. I loved being immersed in not only the stories of the women working the ships but of those travelling on them as well. Working such personal stories into the chapters made history come alive and seem much more personal. I so enjoyed this book and am ready for my next ship journey!
Maiden Voyages by Sian Evans Pub. Date August 10, 2021 What a great book! It was refreshing to read such a wonderful book with subject matter that was so unique. I will be recommending this book and purchasing it for our library. I had no idea the impact that women had on this topic. Thank you to NetGalley, Author Siân Evans, and St. Martin's Press for my advanced copy to read and review. 5 star
This book covers how women, from a variety of backgrounds, came to work or play on ships as cruise ship travel became a way of life for many. The book covers how women lived and worked on ships as well as how female passengers' lives changed because of ships. To me, the most fascinating parts were how these ships were used during and after both world wars. The book goes into details of post war recovery that I hadn't read about before. The author clearly did a great deal of research and uncovered some amazing stories of love, loss, and perseverance. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
I have just read Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them, by Siân Evans. It is refreshing to read a book that is both interesting and intriguing, plus has a topic that is unique. I thoroughly enjoyed the read. It has so many interesting facts, figures, and tidbits. I had no idea about the impact that women had on this topic. There was a great deal of research put into the writing of this book, and so many details about so many people – both male and female. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for my advanced copy to read and review. This comes out on my sons birthday, so make sure it pick it up! 4 out of 5 stars.
MAIDEN VOYAGES A glamorous fur and bejeweled movie star making an elegant entrance down a grand mirrored staircase. A stowaway hidden on a munitions ship traveling to England during the war. An Olympian sailing to America to escape from an abusive family. This book was terrific. Maiden Voyages tells of women’s roles in ocean liner travel, mainly during the heyday of the early 20th century. The author, who’s great great uncle was a Cunard Chief Officer, has a wonderful way of sharing the dreams and fears and excitement of each of these women in their endeavors aboard these magnificent ships. I loved the strength and courage of the women of various ages and social status who took such brave leaps of faith into their future. Before airplanes, these huge ships were the link between the old world of Europe and the new world of America. This book examines why women traveled; for work, pleasure, immigration, escape, professional ambitions, social ambitions, and to find potential mates. It also takes a look at the variety of positions women held on these ships from maids, hairdressers, swimming instructors, chaperones, housekeepers, cleaning and laundry staff, stewardesses, physiotherapists, masseuses, typists, and to eventually serving as pursers, officers, and captains. The book also focused on the various roles women played during WWI and WWII both on the ships and within the shipping industry on land. Nursing and war reporting were highly valued skills during this time. Personal stories included those of Josephine Baker, Tallulah Bankhead, Hedy Lamarr, Edith Sowerbutts, and Mary Anne MacLeod. A great deal of research went into the writing of this book and there are pictures and extensive notes and references. I would like to thank NetGalley, Siân Evans, and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review this book. I highly recommend it.
Are you interested in the history of women sailing? Then this is the book for you! Maiden Voyages gives us an overview of how the golden age of ocean liners changed the lives of women from those traveling, sailing to a new home, or working aboard the great vessels. We get detailed looks into what it was like for those women who aboard aboard ocean liners and the stories of real women. who worked aboard the ships and in some cases, like the unsinkable stewardess, those who survived sinking ships. And while the ocean liners provided women with new opportunities, the ships also came with issues like trafficking and fighting off dangerous interest from men. The portraits of real stewardesses and their stories helped highlight the atmosphere and challenges the women faced in their careers. While many of the research was new to me, there were still plenty of names and ships I recognized, like the Titanic and the Lusitania as well as famous women like Wallis Simpson. This book gave me a new perspective on those stories when it came to the women working aboard ships or sailing to new countries and how their jobs evolved as sea travel evolved.
This was one of the most gripping books I've read in a long time. We often forget how long it took women to be accepted into roles customarily held by men. This was also true in the marine industry. Although documentary in nature, Maiden Voyages entertains the reader with true life stories of those women who worked on the various ships as stewardesses as well as the celebrities, royalty and intrepid women journalists who would stop at nothing to cross the Atlantic. The detailed descriptions of the ships' designs, menus and activities were also fascinating. It makes one nostalgic for the days when the ship WAS the destination.
The term maiden voyage generally refers to a ship making its inaugural voyage. In this historical account of early 20th century ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean, there is another meaning for the term “maidens”. The stories are about women who traveled aboard large ships during the heyday of ocean travel. There were many female travelers who cruised the Atlantic as high society entertainment, but there were essential female workers aboard the vessels, too. Overall, the stories about individual workers were fascinating, but the book was also laden with too many details especially in the introduction. My favorite story was about Violet Jessup, a stewardess who survived the sinking of the Titanic and continued to work on other ocean liners. Work was tiring about the ships, but the pay and tips were good enough for these women to support their extended families. Thank you to Net Galley for asking me to read about this unique time in world history.
This author has done her research, and what a gem of a book! A charming anthology of women's travel stories. I especially found the stories of those who worked on the Titanic, survived, and worked on another large ship shortly after quite fascinating. Maiden Voyages is a book to savor and take your time with. I recommend it for history lovers. Thank you St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for this ARC. All opinions are my own.
I was very lucky to have been able to procure an advanced copy of Maiden Voyages by Sian Evans from Netgalley and am very grateful for it! Maiden Voyages is such an amazingly written non-fiction book that gives a tremendous amount of detailed information pertaining to Women's History. Maiden Voyages is essentially about women who decided to use ships as a means of employment or to travel in the hopes of being able to reinvent themselves and become successful. It was a very fascinating read and I have come out with about fifty names of women who I want to continue reading and researching about. Violet Jessop, Edith Sowerbutts, Tallulan Bankhead, Mary Macleod Trump, and Victoria Drummond are just a few. I am sorry to say that before reading this book, I have never heard of any of these women which is a downright shame since they all lived extraordinary lives. I am indebted to Sian Evans for obtaining all of this wonderful information that allowed me and fellow readers to get to know these incredible women. I will definitely recommend this book to my library for purchase. It would be a great addition to the books we put on display for Women's History Month. I give this book a five out of five stars!
Fantastically feminist stories of how women broke barriers and paved the paths for us today. This novel crosses socio-economic backgrounds and has us meet women from all tropes of life and reminds us that we are resilient.
Thank you St Martin Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read Maiden Voyages which I recommend highly. It is a an impressive and extremely interesting well-written portrait of the courageous and intrepid women who worked and travelled on transatlantic ships. Whether they tirelessly provided for all the passengers on board at any time of the day and night, war or not or crossed the Atlantic to find a better life on either side of the ocean, their story is compelling but also entertaining. I enjoyed this book tremendously.
Fascinating book about the ocean liners in the early to mid 20th century. The book gave an inside look on various ocean liners sailing between Great Britain and US and Canada between 1910-the early 1950s We learned the stories of several women who worked on these liners and their roles aboard ship and among a crew of mainly men. Even though it read like a textbook at times, it was truly fascinating to learn about a miniscule piece of history that is virtually never talked about.. stewardesses and female chaperones aboard the main form of transportation between North Ameriva and Europe in the early to mid 20th century. Excellent researched and full of detailed. Anyone that enjoys women's history, 20th century history, or even history in general would enjoy this. It told from the British prospective. Thank to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for an ARC of Maiden Voyages.
Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them by Siân Evans explores the women whose lives were transformed by the Golden Age of ocean liner travel between Europe and North America. During the early 20th century as transatlantic travel was dominated by the great ocean liners, many women undertook the journey. Some traveled for leisure, some traveled for work. Some traveled to reinvent themselves and find new opportunities. They were celebrities, migrants, refugees, aristocrats and crew members. The ocean liner was a snapshot of contemporary society, divided by class. From the A-listers of the day like Marlene Dietrich and Josephine Baker, to the steerage who sought to escape poverty. Ms. Evans sets out to bring their untold stories to light, to honor their trailblazing courage. Maiden Voyages is an engaging and informative book filled with the anecdotal social history of the women who crossed the Atlantic. Ms. Evans presents their stories in an engaging and fascinating portrait of these women’s amazing stories. Stories of women who went to work to support families, to escape pressures from society and seek adventure. I particularly enjoyed the story of Violet Jessop who survived several sinkings, including the Titanic, to be nicknamed “The Unsinkable Stewardess.” As well as the countless stewardesses who dared cross the Atlantic in war time, even after the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 and became nurses on hospital ships in World War II. Ms. Evans also features the stories of the war brides who were brought to America on ships like the Queen Mary. I highly recommend Maiden Voyages. Maiden Voyages: Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them will be available August 10, 2021 in hardcover, eBook, and audiobook.
Maiden Voyages is a beautiful glimpse in the lives of strong and independent women who traveled the ocean on the great ocean liners. The book gives eye-opening accounts into the stories of women who would have otherwise been lost to history. This is definitely a book I want my daughter to read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin's Press and NetGalley. Opinions in this review are my own.
Impeccably researched and detailed, this book is filled with fascinating information about the women whose lives Impeccably researched and detailed, this book is filled with fascinating information about the women whose lives were impacted by the Golden Age of transatlantic travel and the ships on which they sailed. This author brings to life these extraordinary people and this important time in history. Skillfully crafted, this book is well worth reading. Highly recommended.
I enjoyed Maiden Voyage. The real life accounts of women working on ships between Europe and the U.S. This was a male dominated industry. Women became necessary due to the men going to the World Wars and roles were needed where women helped female travelers and children. I enjoyed the stories from the Titanic, the Lusitania, and the ladies role in bringing war brides to their new country and lives. The ladies stories were fascinating. They were working hard to break through the glass ceiling and facing some of the same challenges that exist today. Some of the cruise lines exist today so it was interesting to see familiar names. I could imagine traveling in the Golden Age on these beautiful ships. I am not a cruise person but the ships seemed special and classy compared to the mega cruise ships of today. They also gave a lot when they were needed in the World Wars. It does give a different perspective and not another World War book that are everywhere in the book world. I would like to thank #Netgalley for #MaidenVoyage in return for an honest review. #SianEvans
Thank you to #St. Martin’s Press and #netgalley for an ARC of this book in return for an honest review. I truly enjoyed the stories portrayed of individual intrepid women living and working aboard ships, especially in the eras leading up to WWI, WWII, and in the interwar years. From immigrants and refugees fleeing poor economic and/or political issues, war brides immigrating to America and Canada, these were fascinating stories. The stewardesses, nurses, swimming instructors, and clerks (later in the book’s individual stories) faced not only tumultuous weather, but in war years, bombings and sinkings. And of course, the lady pioneers faced immense difficulties in trying to move up a male-dominant workforce and values of the time concerning “a woman’s place.” There were times I found this fine book a bit of a slog due to the general detail on various ships and general background, but the individual women’s stories were so engrossing—from those refugees seeking work in America after the Armistice and grim situation in England, to those of writers and wealthy. I enjoyed this book very much as a whole, and some vignettes were hilarious to boot.
This well-researched nonfiction book explores the golden age of transatlantic ocean liner travel with a focus on the female perspective. From roughly 1910 through 1950, “floating hotels” like the Olympic, the Aquitania, the Queen Mary, and the Titanic changed the lives of thousands of women. For some women these were tickets to a new life in a new land. For others they were a job opportunity—a way to make a living and to see the world. For others, they were a networking tool and a stage to cement their image. Siân Evans explores all these situations and more on both a general and individual level. The book is also a look at global events of the early 20th century through the lens of transatlantic travel. The sinking of the Lusitania eventually led to the U.S. joining WWI. Many of the “surplus women”, women who found themselves without marriage prospects after the death of so many men in The Great War, decided to seek gainful employment as stewardess and other onboard positions. In the 1920s, Prohibition in the U.S. led to a change in how and when alcohol was served on ships in American waters or those owned by American companies. Although this is definitely a history book, complete with references to primary sources, it is very readable for the average person. Especially those with an interest in women’s history, ocean travel, or Downton Abbey-style stories. Siân Evans gives compelling descriptions of both individual women and general life onboard an early 1900s ocean liner. I particularly liked the stories of Victoria Drummond, Martha Gellhorn, Hedy Lamarr, Hilda James, Edith Sowerbutts, and Violet Jessop. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for an Advanced Reader Copy ebook.
If you are a history buff as I am, you will love this maritime story about the beginning of traveling by ocean liners as they make their transatlantic voyages and the women who worked on them. This is a very well-researched and well-written book which is both very informative and very entertaining. Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC of this fun read.
I'm typically a historical fiction fan because I love reading and learning about a particular time in history while enjoying a good story. But I really enjoyed this non-fiction book immensely because it not only provided a great deal of information about ocean liners and the role women played in their history but because the author did a wonderful job of weaving in individual stories of women who had jobs on the ships, from hairdressers to stewardesses to nurses. Since this takes place primarily in the early 20th century, the women were in more "domestic" roles but I was so impressed by the bravery, strength, and ambition shown by many of them, particularly during the war and economic downturns. There were also stories of celebrities and stars who frequented the luxury liners. There was not a great deal of technical data but just enough to give you a feeling for the power of these great ships. My only negative comment is that there was some repetition throughout the book. People were often mentioned in several places and presented as if they were being introduced the first time. But overall, I would highly recommend this book. Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martins Press and Sian Evans for giving me the opportunity to read this book. Opinions are my own. #netgalley #sianevens
MAGNIFICENT OCEAN LINERS AND THE WOMEN WHO TRAVELED AND WORKED ABOARD THEM Maiden Voyages explores how women’s lives were transformed by the Golden Age of ocean liner travel between Europe and North America. Up until the twentieth century, travel across the Atlantic was done on great ocean liners. Like the Ritz Carlton of the sea. Amenities that bordered on excess. So many women made that crossing for a better life. Some were traveling for work or pleasure and job opportunities. Of course, not everyone was traveling in style. The first deck passengers enjoyed the best of the best while the second and third class was quite different. But these women were determined to make the best of what they could do. All the famous names are here. Wallis Simpson, Josephine Baker. First-class all the way. But the second and third class were less fancy. The stories of women who traveled the oceans and made a difference were my favorite. Doing a man’s work was new to both sexes and there was a lot of learning going on. A lot of research went into this one. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. NetGalley/10 Aug 2021 St.Martin's Press
What a long overdue subject! I was absolutely engaged by the stories of the females who crossed the oceans after WWI and engaged in WWII as steamship matrons, passengers or nurses, to name a few. Unfortunately I found the book rather lengthy, but still enjoyed what I was reading. An astute editor will bring it all together, of that I have no doubt. Kudos to the author!
The ‘maidens’ of this title include both passengers and those employed on ships from the 1800s thru the hey day up until the 1950s. The details amaze and inspire. You meet many inspiring women in its pages, from the stewardess who survived the sinking of 3 ships on which she sailed to the woman engineer who was failed 31 times on her engineering test by British authorities due to her gender only to pass the first time she took the test in Portugal’s anonymous grading system. The latter undertook alone to engineer a ship under sustained attack. after sending the men to a safety she did not share. The description of the designs for each class of passenger and of the foibles of the rich and famous, the travails of the more modest sailors are all addressed. The book inspires and horrifies in equal measure. A moving exploration of a little known era in sailing. This should be on the shelf of everyone interested in the unsung women of history.
This was kinda a who’s who on the big cruise ships. It seems to be a well researched book. It was full of interesting facts. I think anyone who is a big fan of ships and those who cruise on it will enjoy this book. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy
I actually forgot I requested this book and also took out the audiobook so my review is based on that instead of the print version. That said I enjoyed the whole entire book, listened to in sections here and there, and actually preordered it for my grandma. Overall, I'm so glad I came across this.
Interesting non fiction read. You will learn a lot of information and history of ships and voyages. I was invited to read this galley in exchange for an honest review. 4 stars as I found this truly fascinating and I love learning while I read!
"Maiden Voyages" by Sian Evans is a great book! I learned so much! This nonfiction account of various women who worked or travelled on the great ocean liners of the past is both entertaining and interesting. I absolutely loved the stories of these strong and independent women, all of whom would make great role models for girls today. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all history lovers, especially those who enjoy learning about how women have help shaped the world we live in.
Maiden Voyages Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them by Siân Evans St. Martin's Press Pub Date 10 Aug 2021 #MaidenVoyages A compelling and entertaining, Maiden Voyages captures everything of the golden age of ocean liners. The book weaves through the stories of those women whose transatlantic journeys helped shaped the world. Siân Evans gives the reader a meticulously researched book through archives and personal records and correspondence of the woman employees for the Cunard and White Star lines. An insightful look at the transatlantic crossings in the golden age of ocean liner travel. An exceptional tale of those people that undertook these crossings from all walks of class. From the many historical well known celebrities to those who are the struggling immigrants, the authors writing gives you a glimpse of these individuals time aboard these monumental ocean liners transatlantic crossings. A wonderful book for historical fiction lovers everywhere.
I received an advance reading copy of this book from NetGalley.com in return for a fair review. 'Maiden Voyages' is an interesting look at the evolution of ocean liners and the women who came aboard to serve. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, travel by sea was the only option people had if they needed to cross the Atlantic. The industry was dominated by men, but there were a few instances when women were hired. For example, ship stewards took care of male passengers, but when female passengers were part of the roster, it wasn't considered proper for men to care for them. Hence, 'stewardesses' became a part of most shipping lines. These women were usually single and sought adventure, travel, as well as a decent paycheck. Author Sian Evans does a great job detailing many of these ladies who were brave enough to try something different. The bias they faced from male crew members and society at large did not deter them. They took their work seriously and almost always put their passengers first--even in dire emergencies. Evans traces the shipping industry through both World Wars until the arrival of aviation threw the industry a curve. While I found it all very interesting, I was distracted by the many tangents the author explored. She got off topic many times and took pages to explain various situations that had little to do with her subject. Other than that, this book was a terrific read and I learned a lot about the great ocean liners and the plucky women who sailed with them. I do recommend it.
Women and the Golden Age of Transatlantic Travel This interesting book chronicles the transatlantic ocean travel in the first half of the 20th century and focuses mainly on the female passengers and crew members who traveled or worked aboard ocean Liners: Edith Sowebutts and Violet Jessop just to name two. Most of us will remember the famous liners such as the Titanic, the Queen Mary and the Britannic, but the book doesn’t stop with these three. On board often seen where the rich and famous who travelled in first class, Marlene Dietrich, the Prince of Wales, Mrs. Simpson and many others often boarded these luxurious ships to travel back and forth from Europe to the Americas. In the earlier years, those famous liners gave widows the needed jobs in order for them to care for their family, thousands of emigrants escaped poverty in 1930 for a better life in Canada and the USA. After the war, war brides wanted to join their husband were also passengers......etc..... Most of all, this true account is of women who pierced the gender barriers and worked as “conductress, stewardess or nurse” and made a career that lasted decades, in fact, opening the doors for future generation. Reading “Maiden Voyage” added pieces to the puzzle of all the books I read of this era. Fifty years a period from the end of the Edwardian era, WW1, the interwar years, WW11 and its aftermath. The author gives us a huge range of information vividly said with colour and drama. I love the story of the “Unsinkable” Violet Jessop who survived the sinking of the Titanic, what an amazing woman. I admit the first few chapters left me indifferent but I soon changed my mind as it moved along the story became such an interesting account I couldn’t put it aside and continuously gave my husband a wrap up of what I had read (I rarely do this). Although, I would have preferred the author to have stayed on track with the lives of the women who staffed the ocean liners instead of covering panoply of subjects, I think it would have made an easier read. Nevertheless I enjoyed passing time with “Maiden Voyages”: a well-research account and one skillfully written. Well said, well-done.
During the early twentieth century, transatlantic travel was the province of the great ocean liners. It was an extraordinary undertaking made by many women, whose lives were changed forever by their journeys between the Old World and the New. Some traveled for leisure, some for work; others to reinvent themselves or find new opportunities. They were celebrities, migrants and millionaires, refugees, aristocrats and crew members whose stories have mostly remained untold—until now. Maiden Voyages is a fascinating portrait of these women as they crossed the Atlantic. The ocean liner was a microcosm of contemporary society, divided by class: from the luxury of the upper deck, playground for the rich and famous, to the cramped conditions of steerage or third class travel. In first class you’ll meet A-listers like Marlene Dietrich, Wallis Simpson, and Josephine Baker; the second class carried a new generation of professional and independent women, like pioneering interior designer Sibyl Colefax. Down in steerage, you’ll follow the journey of émigré Maria Riffelmacher as she escapes poverty in Europe. Bustling between decks is a crew of female workers, including Violet “The Unsinkable Stewardess” Jessop, who survived the Titanic disaster.
What a nice non-fiction change from psychological thrillers and cozy mysteries. Maiden Voyages delivers as promised: it is most definitely an engaging and anecdotal social history detailing the lives of women traveling as wealthy guests, women looking to make new lives for themselves, and women employed as staff on magnificent ocean liners traveling between Europe and North America during the Golden Age of ocean liner travel. The narrative jumps from anecdote to anecdote, but that just adds to the charm of the stories. Author Sian Evans keeps a clear timeline going, returning to wrap up stories of women previously introduced so we aren’t left wondering, “What happened to her?” The book is full of history, but it’s not dry like a history book can be. It’s easy to read, moves along smoothly, and is a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of days. I already knew some of the facts presented (it’s history, after all) but I learned a lot of interesting tidbits. A variety of women passengers as well as those working on board are profiled. The strict lines of society and how they were not to be crossed are apparent. The dedication, bravery, and heroism of many of the women employed and the constraints they had to work under are highlighted. And we are also teased with a bit of scandal about some of the passengers. Maiden Voyages is well-written, well-researched, informative and entertaining. Author Sian Evans has done a brilliant job bringing this unique type of travel by these wonderful women to life. It was a fascinating period in history and makes for a great read. I read a digital copy but I believe I will get a copy of the hardcover book to enjoy the photos even more. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing an advance copy of Maiden Voyages via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I loved it and recommend it without hesitation. All opinions are my own.
Maiden Voyages is a wholly unique take on both feminist history and travel books. Evans creates a really magical intersectionality between the two in a way that engages the audience and keeps you wanting more. Very grateful for the early access to this title!
What a treat! Fans of ocean voyages and those who have never taken a cruise alike will enjoy this look at the role women held on ocean liners in the first half of the 20th century, Evans takes a look at occupants of rooms on each deck or class but for me the more interesting women were those who worked on them. From the woman who taught swimming to one who escorted children to an engineer, they all contributed even if they were unseen. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC. A very good and informative read.
Maiden Voyages; Magnificent Ocean Liners and the Women Who Traveled and Worked Aboard Them by Siân Evans is a truly fascinating read/listen that I highly recommend to anyone wanting to learn about women's history! I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this book. It was a wonderful combination of history and narrative keeping me both entertained and engaged.
Very good non-fiction read. During the first half of the 20th century, ocean liners offered women unusual and adventurous career opportunities. This was the story of some of those ships and some of those women, who worked as stewardesses, nurses, chaperones, and even (rarely) engineers. There were also a few stories of women who changed their lives by traveling on these ships. Loved the descriptions of the ships and life on these transatlantic voyages. Easy read, but I learned things!
Enjoyable read - lots of great history facts mixed in with stories of truly remarkable women. Makes you really think about the luxury of going on a cruise in the 21st century versus what so many women had to preserver through before the technologies that we have now.
A very informative and interesting collection of tales of women taking to the sea. Some as a stewardess. Each tale was interesting and filled with information of life as a woman working on the ships.
#maidenvoyages is the second non-fiction book about trailblazing women in the travel industry I’ve read this year. Much like Come Fly the World, which is about the first stewardesses in the travel industry, this story looks at the stewardess on ocean liners. The ladies who worked Ocean Liners like the Titanic faced unbelievable challenges. I was in awe as I listened to this story of ships being sunk by icebergs and wartime submarines. The stories of unruly passengers, hurricanes, and the sacrifices of leaving their families to help others were unbelievable. I was so engrossed that I kept forgetting the book was non-fiction. If you love women’s history, the history of travel, or stories about the titanic, this is the book for you!
4.25/5⭐️ I was pleasantly surprised by this fascinating look into the golden age (1920-40s) of ocean liners and especially women’s roles onboard. Before flight, these giants were the only way of travel, and there were a myriad of reasons passengers flocked to them…escaping economic desperation, PR for various careers, fleeing persecution/violence, or simply for pleasure. Ms. Evans did an excellent job of describing the hierarchy aboard ship and women’s slow evolution from basic caregivers to more leadership roles. Her insights into the various ways these ships were utilized, especially during both world wars, were both interesting and enlightening. I also loved knowing that she had a family connection to one of the major British shipping companies during this period…it gave the book more of a personal feel to me. And I admired those brave and hard-working women that she showcased, as well as the daring independence of some of the ambitious/well-known women of the day. They took on a new, unknown realm for females. Very well done and happy this landlubber read it. My thanks to #NetGalley and #StMartinsPress for providing me the free early arc of #MaidenVoyages . The opinions are strictly my own.
I received an ARC of this one based on my interests and honestly, so worth it. Learning about the women who made transatlantic journeys on ocean liners was really interesting.
Maiden Voyages is an exploration of how women shaped and were shaped by the golden age of ocean liner travel in the interwar period. Evans provides portraits of women from all walks of life aboard these ships, from those fleeing poverty in steerage to individuals like Wallis Simpson travelling first class. Most interesting to me were the parts focused on the female workers, most of whom worked as stewardesses. In particular, Violet Jessop, who was a stewardess aboard the Titanic managed to survive three shipwrecks in total. Large portions of this book were dedicated to the immigrant experience as well. I was reminded of the movie Brooklyn while reading about the conditions of immigrant women on these ships. This book also contrasted these horrific conditions with those of the ladies in first class. While I was by no means looking for a book about this subject, I am so glad I read this one. Thank you to St. Martin's and Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.