In Search of Mary (The Mother of All Journeys) by Bee Rowlatt

Rowlatt embarks on an extraordinary journey in search of the first celebrity feminist, Mary Woolstonecraft.

Rowlatt embarks on an extraordinary journey, complete with toddler in tow, in search of the first celebrity feminist, Mary Woolstonecraft.

In Search of MaryI knew very little about Woolstonecraft before reading this book and it’s absolutely not necessary to; the enjoyment comes from discovering along the way, along with the author, who is most definitely a fan.

I adored the travel pieces here, in particular the beautiful descriptions of Norway. The clean frosty air, the rosy cheeked amiable people who welcomed her and her child into their homes.

I revelled in the wooden houses that are packed up and moved plank by plank to a new location, such as the fruits of the sea on the table, and the sea captain who is in charge of the rackety ferry that made me feel seasick with the choppy waters.

When Rowlatt gets to Paris, along with toddler, the reasoning as to why you should never visit that city with a baby is hilarious.

Her determination and research into her heroine is fascinating, and leads her to some very outlandish places indeed - the witches coven in California is a treasure trove of oddity, and her meeting with the infamous Miss Sprinkle is awkward and oh so Californian.

The only minor moan I have is that the travel element of the book is far more compelling than the Woolstonecraft element, but, having said that I really enjoyed it and learnt something about Mary Woolstonecraft along the way, which can be no bad thing.