©1999 Kate Hickman; (P)2006 Oakhill Publishing Ltd
"Katie Hickman's fascinating Daughters of Britannia looks beyond the pomp and pagentry of the British foreign service and into the reality of making a life abroad in foreign lands." (Vogue)
"This is a lovely book: affectionate, celebratory, and as conscious of the glory as the hardship. These women lived: they saw dolphins in the Bosphorus at dawn, took tea with empresses, watched eclipses in Turkistan. And they were so lonely that they wrote it all down." (Sunday Times)
The subject is fascinating, and it is well researched. Having said that I give this audiobook 3 stars because I don't think audio is the best format to highlight the material. There are so many details that in my opinion it is best suited for text, perhaps an abridged version might be better in audio.
I liked the subject a lot, but I could not listen to more than four hours of this. I think it proves that I am not a good candidate for listening to non-fiction.
Fascinating detail, although I found it a bit repetitive, with an awful lot of lists. Because the book is divided into chapters according to subject matter, the same characters and places crop up throughout the book, and it was difficult to keep track of who was whom, and where - with an audio book, you can't just flick back through the pages to remind yourself!
It was interesting to hear about the harsh and unpleasant reality behind the scenes of the supposedly glamorous diplomatic service. So many trivial points of dress, etiquette and protocol that had to be observed! There were some harrowing accounts, too, such as Jane Ewart-Biggs's account of her husband's assassination by the IRA in 1976, and I really felt for Veronica Atkinson and her family, hiding in the basement of the British Embassy in Romania in 1989, during the uprising that overthrew the Ceacescu regime.
I just felt it was slightly too long - Katie Hickman seems to have put in every single item she has researched, some of which would have been better edited out.
"Unusual and interesting"
A well-read book full of fascinating details and many amusing incidents. Unlike other reviewers, I did not find the reference to different periods confusing. This is a book I am happy to recommend to others.
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