Monday, August 02, 2010

Five best books about female adventurers

Frances Osborne worked as a barrister and investment research analyst before becoming a full-time writer.

Her latest book, The Bolter, is the true story of Idina Sackville, an extremely adventurous English aristocrat who divorced five times in the 1920’s and 30’s, had lovers without number and hosted partner-swapping party games in her farmhouse in Kenya.

For the Wall Street Journal, she named a five best list of books on female adventurers. One title on the list:
Gertrude Bell
by Georgina Howell

Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) fell in love with both the Middle East and its archaeology when visiting an uncle at the British Embassy in Tehran in 1892. A woman of tremendous energy, she began tirelessly crisscrossing the region, learning all that she could—at one point she was dubbed "Daughter of the Desert" by Bedouins who found her camping near the Dead Sea in bad weather. She was so steeped in the Middle East that during World War I British intelligence sought her help. Bell became the only female political officer in the British forces and, together with her friend T.E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia, lit the fuse for the Arab Revolt of 1916-18 against the Ottoman Empire; the two were also instrumental in the creation of Iraq, drawing out its borders on a map. Biographer Georgina Howell captures both the personal drama and the historic consequence of an extraordinary life.
Read about another book on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Frances Osborne's The Bolter.

Also see Jennie Rooney's list of the top ten women travelers in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue