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The Fishing Fleet: Husband-Hunting in the Raj

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Fishing Fleet: Husband-Hunting in the Raj.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Anne De Courcy(Author)

    Book details


By the late nineteenth century, Britain's colonial reign seemed to know no limit--and India was the sparkling jewel in the Imperial crown. Many of Her Majesty's best and brightest young men departed for the Raj to make their careers, and their fortunes, as bureaucrats, soldiers, and businessmen. But in their wake they left behind countless young ladies who, suddenly bereft of eligible bachelors, found themselves facing an uncertain future. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, some of these women decided to follow suit and abandon their native Britain for India's exotic glamour and--with men outnumbering women by roughly four to one in the Raj--the best chance they had at finding a husband.

Drawing on a wealth of firsthand sources, including unpublished memoirs, letters, photographs, and diaries, Anne de Courcy brings the incredible world of "the Fishing Fleet," as these women were known, to life. In these sparkling pages, she describes the glittering whirlwind of dances, parties, tennis tournaments, tiger shoots, and palatial banquets that awaited in the Raj, all geared toward the prospect of romance. Most of the girls were away from home for the first time, and they plunged headlong into the heady dazzle of expatriate social life; marriages were frequent. However, after the honeymoon many women were confronted with a reality that was far from the fairy tale they'd been chasing.

Rich with drama and color, The Fishing Fleet is a sumptuous, utterly compelling real-life saga of adventure, romance, and heartbreak in the heyday of the British Empire.

"Vividly sketches the lives lived in this strangle limbo...richly entertaining."--Boston Globe"Making liberal use of letters and journals, The Fishing Fleet paints a fascinating picture of these women and their history...a glimpse of a unique era."--Minneapolis Star TribuneA "lively history.... Colorful."--Daily BeastThe contrasts are irresistibly melodramatic, the characters colorful yet tantalizingly repressed. . It is enough to make you wonder why Julian Fellowes hasn t sent a few more members of the Downton Abbey cast on the heels of Miss O Brien, seeking their fortunes in Delhi and beyond... --New York Times Book Review"Vividly sketches the lives lived in this strange limbo richly entertaining. --Boston Globe"Making liberal use of letters and journals, The Fishing Fleet paints a fascinating picture of these women and their history a glimpse of a unique era. --Minneapolis Star Tribune"A lively history . Colorful. --Daily Beast"Journalist De Courcy provides a fascinating account not quite gossipy but loaded with juicy anecdotes of adventurous women sailing for the subcontinent in the 19th and early 20th centuries to fulfill their destinies as wives. --"Publishers Weekly"""The contrasts are irresistibly melodramatic, the characters colorful yet tantalizingly repressed. .... It is enough to make you wonder why Julian Fellowes hasn't sent a few more members of the Downton Abbey cast on the heels of Miss O'Brien, seeking their fortunes in Delhi and beyond..."--New York Times Book Review"Vividly sketches the lives lived in this strange limbo...richly entertaining."--Boston Globe"Making liberal use of letters and journals, The Fishing Fleet paints a fascinating picture of these women and their history...a glimpse of a unique era."--Minneapolis Star TribuneA "lively history.... Colorful."--Daily Beast"Journalist De Courcy provides a fascinating account--not quite gossipy but loaded with juicy anecdotes--of adventurous women sailing for the subcontinent in the 19th and early 20th centuries to fulfill their destinies as wives."--Publishers Weekly-The contrasts are irresistibly melodramatic, the characters colorful yet tantalizingly repressed. .... It is enough to make you wonder why Julian Fellowes hasn't sent a few more members of the Downton Abbey cast on the heels of Miss O'Brien, seeking their fortunes in Delhi and beyond...---New York Times Book Review-Vividly sketches the lives lived in this strange limbo...richly entertaining.---Boston Globe-Making liberal use of letters and journals, The Fishing Fleet paints a fascinating picture of these women and their history...a glimpse of a unique era.---Minneapolis Star TribuneA -lively history.... Colorful.---Daily Beast-Journalist De Courcy provides a fascinating account--not quite gossipy but loaded with juicy anecdotes--of adventurous women sailing for the subcontinent in the 19th and early 20th centuries to fulfill their destinies as wives.---Publishers Weekly

3.4 (3381)
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Book details

  • PDF | 384 pages
  • Anne De Courcy(Author)
  • Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (3 Mar. 2015)
  • English
  • 2
  • History

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Review Text

  • By Simon Binning on 20 May 2016

    This book has a lot of interesting stories and detail but is, for me, ultimately disappointing.It does well in telling the story of British women's experience in India; how they came to be there, how they found husbands (because there was no other way for women to live in India), and how they coped with life. The 'fishing fleet' of the title was the name given to the groups of young women arriving in India every year, who were eagerly sought by eligible bachelors, as there were always far more single men than women. It also does a good job of detailing the unreality of British life in India; far more restricted and rigid than life back home.That said, I was disappointed that most of the stories and detail come from the end of the Raj period - mostly from the First World War onwards. I would have liked more about the earlier period. I also feel that there is a lot of duplication and repetition, which at times led me to lose interest. If you have not read much about the British in India, then this is well worth a read; but if you already have some knowledge, then this may not add much

  • By Guest on 19 June 2017

    Amusing and poignant by turns. The book maps out the trials and tribulations of a stratum of society who couldn't make it in the UK and resorted to 'trying their hand' in India. It's an interesting way to understand the development of the 'Memsahib' and her socio-cultural influence on the Raj down through the decades. A malign and benign influence affecting many lives. It's all here - optimism, despair, courage, cowardliness, naivety and calculation. You name it. The Fishing Fleet has it by the barrowful.

  • By m. webster on 2 August 2017

    An easy read and a revealing insight to the much maligned British in India. Evenly balanced noting the stultifying social rules and snobbery, but equally making clear the decency of the 'conquerers' trying to rule in a benign manner. Young women should read this book and marvel at their ancestors stoicism.

  • By KWAdms on 11 March 2017

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book.

  • By BINA P. on 23 December 2015

    I have already read this book and enjoyed it so bought this for a friend. An excellent book for anybody interested in the British Raj.The book arrived promptly.

  • By Boris on 6 September 2012

    This beautifully written book was a real page turner, especially since my paternal grandparents fit the mould. My grandfather was in the ICS and married my grandmother in a whirlwind romance on one of his long 3 year leaves. When my father read this book he immediately ordered copies for the rest of the family so that they could understand his story. Sent back to England at the age of 5 with his younger brother he suffered enormously from the absence of his parents and was determined to do better for us. The war and the break-up of Empire broke the tradition but this wonderful book explains perfectly the price that was paid by so many.


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