The fishing fleet : husband-hunting in the Raj / Anne de Courcy.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First U.S. edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "From the author of the critically acclaimed biographies Diana Mosley and The Viceroy's Daughters comes a fascinating, hugely entertaining account of the Victorian women who traveled halfway around the world on the hunt for a husband.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 glamor and--with men outnumbering women by roughly four to one in the Raj--the best chance they had at finding a man.Drawing on a wealth of firsthand sources, including unpublished memoirs, letters, photographs, and diaries, Anne de Courcy brings the incredible world of "the Fishing Fleet," as these women were known, to life.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, amateur theatricals, picnics, tennis tournaments, cinemas, 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. With her signature diligence and sensitivity, de Courcy looks beyond the allure of the Raj to tell the real stories of these marriages built on convenience and unwieldy expectations. Wives were whisked away to distant outposts with few other Europeans for company. Transplanted to isolated plantations and remote towns, they endured heat, boredom, discomfort, illness, and motherhood removed from familiar comforts--a far cry from the magical world they were promised upon arrival.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"-- Provided by publisher.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "The fascinating and entertaining true stories of the young Victorian women on the hunt for husbands among the colonial businessmen and bureaucrats in the Raj"-- Provided by publisher.
    • Content Notes:
      'Champagne has been known to allay sea sickness when all else failed' : The voyage out -- 'Happy hunting-ground of the single girl' : The women who went out -- 'Kisses on the boat deck' : Love at sea -- 'A Ł300-a-year man-- dead or alive' : The men they met -- 'Welcome to India' : Arrivals -- 'A hell of a heat' : The climate -- 'Parties, parties, parties' : The social whirl -- The viceroy's daughter : Elisabeth Bruce -- 'There are so many "ladies"' : Viceregal entertainments -- 'I told him it was only the moonlight' : Courtship -- 'It would be a pleasure to be in his harem, I thought' : Maharajas -- 'Us and them' : Brits and Indians -- 'I thought my heart was going to jump out of my body' : Grace Trotter -- 'Where every Jack has someone else's Jill' : The hills -- '"No" would have been unthinkable' : Engagement -- Daughter of the Raj : Bethea Field -- 'Colonels must marry' : Marriage -- 'No one will want to marry me now!' : Perils -- 'As I inspected ours I sighed a bit' : The first home -- 'But what about horses? And polo? And parties?' : Iris Butler -- 'Just lift up your skirts and you'll be all right' : Up country -- 'Cheerio, old girl' : Sheila Hingston.
    • Notes:
      Includes bibliographical references (pages 315-318) and index.
    • ISBN:
      9780062290076 (hardback)
      006229007X (hardback)
      9780062290083 (paperback)
      0062290088 (paperback)
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:
    • Accession Number:
  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      DE COURCY, A. The fishing fleet : husband-hunting in the Raj. First U.S. edition. [s. l.]: Harper, 2014. ISBN 9780062290076. Disponível em: Acesso em: 11 ago. 2020.
    • AMA:
      De Courcy A. The Fishing Fleet : Husband-Hunting in the Raj. First U.S. edition. Harper; 2014. Accessed August 11, 2020.
    • APA:
      De Courcy, A. (2014). The fishing fleet : husband-hunting in the Raj (First U.S. edition.). Harper.
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      De Courcy, Anne. 2014. The Fishing Fleet : Husband-Hunting in the Raj. First U.S. edition. Harper.
    • Harvard:
      De Courcy, A. (2014) The fishing fleet : husband-hunting in the Raj. First U.S. edition. Harper. Available at: (Accessed: 11 August 2020).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      De Courcy, A 2014, The fishing fleet : husband-hunting in the Raj, First U.S. edition., Harper, viewed 11 August 2020, .
    • MLA:
      De Courcy, Anne. The Fishing Fleet : Husband-Hunting in the Raj. First U.S. edition., Harper, 2014. EBSCOhost,
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      De Courcy, Anne. The Fishing Fleet : Husband-Hunting in the Raj. First U.S. edition. Harper, 2014.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      De Courcy A. The fishing fleet : husband-hunting in the Raj [Internet]. First U.S. edition. Harper; 2014 [cited 2020 Aug 11]. Available from:


Booklist Reviews 2013 November #2

Romance, adventure—and malaria. For the women who traveled to British-ruled India during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, often seeking husbands, the trip could bring more than they bargained for. Commonly referred to as "the Fishing Fleet," these women travelers and their era are brought to life with vivid firsthand accounts of their journeys. Every aspect of their experiences is examined, from the conditions on the boats out and the particulars of courtship to the challenges of housekeeping and isolation that faced a Raj bride. De Courcy can paint a detailed picture and provide context seamlessly, but she wisely takes a backseat to the first-person recollections of the members of the Fishing Fleet, which are both charming and sharply drawn. Using extensive quotations, de Courcy weaves together the highlights of their stories from letters, diaries, and more. The result captures the dichotomy of a culture both adventurous and restrictive, with its glittering social whirl and exhausting battles with heat, humidity, and insect infestations. The only way to get closer would be to join the Fishing Fleet. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

PW Reviews 2013 September #4

What's a marriage-minded young Englishwoman to do when so many eligible young men have gone off to India to uphold the British Empire? Follow them, of course. Journalist De Courcy (Snowden: The Biography) 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. Their matrimonial objectives were Englishmen of the Indian Civil Service and officers in the British army, the cream of the Raj crop, whose position and salary made them fine catches. First for the single women came the voyage, with its promise of shipboard romance that could quickly seal the marriage deal. The majority didn't secure husbands that fast, so once the new arrivals settled in with relatives, they paid social calls and attended dinners, parties, and sporting events—all opportunities to meet eligible young men under the watchful eyes of chaperones. Typical of colonial outposts, interracial romance and marriage were banned. Successful fleet members became like Cinderella after the Prince fitted the slipper: married with a home and children to care for; unsuccessful ones, De Courcy notes with subtle irony, went back to England where they were known as "returned empties." Three eight-page b&w photo inserts. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC