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Mrs Cook

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In the great sweep of history, of winds, tides and seasons, there is a story of courage and survival that belongs not to a great sea captain, but to his wife. While James Cook circumnavigated the globe, travelling further than any man had before, Elizabeth Cook travelled with him in her thoughts, imagining the exotic, the sensual and the strange. There were months, sometimes years, with no word. But as James sailed into the blue, earning his place in history, Elizabeth Cook made discoveries of her own. Though she rarely left London, she was propelled on a journey into the far reaches of the human heart, a journey marked by James' departures and those of her six children, whom she lost one by one. This is a rich portrayal of the life of a woman whose passion and intellect matched that of her celebrated husband. It is a lyrical exploration of imagined interior worlds, shaped by historical fact. It is, above all, a celebration of love and endurance.
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About the Author

Marele Day is the author of the bestselling literary novel, Lambs of God, and the Claudia Valentine mysteries, including The Last Tango of Delores Delgado, winner of the American Shamus Crime Fiction Award.


In the epilogue of her fictionalised biography of Elizabeth Cook, Marele Day points out that a fountain in a southern Sydney park is the only known memorial in the world to the great circumnavigator's loyal wife. In Mrs Cook, she obviously sets out to redress the balance-doing so with historical insight and eloquence. Whilst James was discovering and charting new territory around the globe, Elizabeth (who rarely left London) bore and raised her children mostly alone, spending little more than four years with her husband in the first 13 years of their marriage. She was fated to outlive all six of her progeny and to mourn 56 years as a widow before dying in her 94th year. Day shows great versatility and meticulous research in this offering, so different in genre to her earlier works. Mrs Cook often reads like interesting narrative history, filled with insight into the Cooks' lives and presenting, as minor characters, contemporary celebrities such as Lord Sandwich, Benjamin Franklin and Dr Johnston. Alongside the historical facts are the imagined letters and conversations between James, Elizabeth and her circle, the two seamlessly woven together to give the reader the best of both worlds. Day provides fitting tribute to the little-known character of Elizabeth Cook whilst offering the reader a rollicking good yarn-at once a love story and historical drama. Scott Whitmont is the owner of Lindfield Bookshop. C. 2002 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

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