Saturday 28 December 2019

Liz and Nellie

Finished December 13
Liz and Nellie by Shonna Slayton

This book was one I sought out last year to fit a challenge (to read a book by an author with the same first or last name). I didn't get it read last year, but did this year, and enjoyed it.
The story follows two real women, Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland who each set off to beat the time for global circumnavigation set in Jules Verne's fictional Around the World in Eighty Days. They left in November 1889, and returned in early 1890.
It was Nellie's idea to do this. She was a young newspaper reporter looking for an edge, a story, and a way to get more interesting assignments. For Elizabeth, it was her boss's  idea that she also try to set a record, and compete against Nellie. Elizabeth was also a New York journalist, but this wasn't a journey she really wanted to do.
Nellie traveled east and Elizabeth traveled west, both leaving from New York City.
The author based her story of real historical documents including the women's own writings. She's filled out the missing information based on history, while making the writing more modern in style.
Both women were independently minded, adventurous and smart. They were curious about the places they visited, and about the people they met. I hadn't heard of Bisland before reading this, but actually found myself liking her the better of the two.
A very entertaining and enlightening read.

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