Debra C. (Vienna, Georgia)
Lost at Sea with Jeanne Baret
The very BEST parts of this novel were Chapters 8 and 9; these chapters absolutely told the story I thought I was reading - the story of Jeanne Baret...a good read. Ridley held my interest with those two chapters; however, the other chapters, although well researched and detailed, were frightfully boring. I felt as though I was reading the bio of botanist, Bougainville - not a good read. I got lost in the wealth of information that Ridley presented to me.
Mary L. (Madison, MS)
A wonderful discovery
As many other reviewers have stated the story is fascinating, well researched, and contains little information on the real Jeanne Barret. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I too wish there was more information to fill in the blanks of her life but with imagination you can see the courage, bravery, and skill of this fascinating woman. I do not read nonfiction often, but I would recommend this to all readers.
Harriette K. (Weston, FL)
The discovery of Jeanne Baret
We are treated to the story of Jeanne Baret, a truly gifted herb woman, who assists a noted French botanist while gathering and naming plants during a round-the world trip during the mid 1700's. We are aware of the competition between nations and the deprivations suffered on the tiny ships that take these people on their voyage. I read the story eagerly and was saddened at the lack of knowledge of Jeanne's efforts. So much is supposed. My one complaint is some of the author's repetition. Other than that, I truly enjoyed reading about this remarkable woman.
Lesley F. (San Diego, CA)
A Great Discovery!
WOW! The research is deep and accurate, the story fascinating, as a new page in women’s history is written. The author has managed skillfully to make sense of very scant (what else) information about the first woman to circumnavigate the globe. Women’s Studies groups and sailing fans as well, will enjoy this one immensely. This will soon be on our social history book group’s list.
Mary G. (River Forest, IL)
Just a Shadow of the Title Character
I wish I could give this book a better review because Ridley has done extensive research; unfortunately, as even she admits, there is simply not enough to be found about Jeanne Baret. The result is a book about 18th century botanical exploration and research, with a good dose of the expected role of women of that time. I almost felt the frustration of Ridley trying to work Jeanne's story in. ..there is so little to tell. Almost every reference to her is prefaced by a "we could assume" or "we might imagine." I guess I felt cheated - the book did not live up to its title. The story or Jeanne would have made an interesting magazine article; perhaps botanists will enjoy the book-length treatment.
Daniel A. (Naugatuck, CT)
The discovery of Jeanne Beret
This is a pretty good biography, and I learned many things by reading it. I never knew that the nursery rhyme "Peter Piper" was about a real person until I read this book. The author did some extensive research in writing this and it is filled with information about 18th Century France, and mainly the expedition led by Lewis de Bougainville. I recommend this story to history buffs, and anyone studying botany.
Diane S. (Batavia, IL)
The Discovery of Jeanne Baret
I have to admit when I first started this book it reminded me of reading a college thesis, but the more I read the more interesting it became. I really enjoyed reading all the background material on Paris and the trivia on tea as well as the fascinating study of herbal medicine. Would like to have known more about Baret but the author explained that there is not a lot of her to be found in the reports send back by the others on the expedition. She was, however, by all accounts a remarkable woman and deserved more than she received by her mentor and lover Commerson. This book will appeal to those interested in botany, expeditions and strong woman historical figures.