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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All A Bawd!
I apologise in advance, I am sure my review will undoubtedly fall short of the style of many a more experienced literary critic.

Wow! This book is truly a work of art, it has been so carefully written.

I bought this book on a whim, I liked the title and it sounded 'ok', since it arrived I have only had my head out of it to carry out my daily job, any...
Published on 17 May 2007 by Weremadog

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old Style Crime and Punishment
The story begins on the streets of London in the winter of 1788. The author then tells us the stories of a number of 'common women' and how they end up being in Newgate prison. We are then given a description of how the poor people were forced into stealing,begging and prostitution in order to live.Part of the problem was due to the large increase in population brought...
Published on 1 Oct 2006 by G. M. Buchanan


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All A Bawd!, 17 May 2007
By 
This review is from: The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an 18th-Century Ship and Its Cargo of Female Convicts (Paperback)
I apologise in advance, I am sure my review will undoubtedly fall short of the style of many a more experienced literary critic.

Wow! This book is truly a work of art, it has been so carefully written.

I bought this book on a whim, I liked the title and it sounded 'ok', since it arrived I have only had my head out of it to carry out my daily job, any other time has been dedicated to reading and in some places rereading certain passages.

Have you ever experienced seasickness? I have and I can imagine all too well how sick many of the woman on that voyage must have felt, the rank smell of the animals and other humans aboard the ship must have been horrendous. Sian Rees shows us all of this and paints a story that will, I am sure endure and show the world how Australia and other colonies came to be populated by English convicts.

How I wish history had been taught like this at school, I am sure I would have become interested a lot sooner - I like to read about the ordinary folk, the people who did amazing things and travelled great distances to new continents.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old Style Crime and Punishment, 1 Oct 2006
By 
G. M. Buchanan "Page marker" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an 18th-Century Ship and Its Cargo of Female Convicts (Paperback)
The story begins on the streets of London in the winter of 1788. The author then tells us the stories of a number of 'common women' and how they end up being in Newgate prison. We are then given a description of how the poor people were forced into stealing,begging and prostitution in order to live.Part of the problem was due to the large increase in population brought about by the number of men discharged from the army. This army surplus was due to the defeat of the Kings army in America. When these men came home they took over jobs women had been doing and thereby forcing women onto the streets. These social conditions led to a huge number of homeless people wandering the streets which in turn led to shop lifting,robbery and prostitution. The streets were overcrowded as were the prisons and a solution had to be found. The colony Beyond the Seas (Australia) offered the magistrates a solution. People in high places had agreed that if the new colony was to be a success it would need a constant supply of new blood and eventually non-convict blood. It was decided that a percentage of people sent Beyond the Seas must be female.This book covers all the above social problems and takes us right through the courts and the sentence to Seven Years to Parts Beyond the Seas.It then describes all the arrangments of getting the ship ready to sail and describes the living conditions of those aboard.We then have a great detailed passage of the actual voyage which covers the battle against the elements and the friendships that were allowed to develop between captive and captor. Sometimes it is hard to keep up with who is in love with who but apart from that this is a good story which describes a part of our history where,what would be described today as a trivial petty crime,carried a seven year sentence to Parts Beyond the Seas.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating insight, 18 Mar 2003
By 
Ms. H. Sinton "dragondrums" (Ingleby Barwick. U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an 18th-Century Ship and Its Cargo of Female Convicts (Paperback)
Sian Rees has written an extremely readable book which is not in the least 'dry' or 'dusty' although it is history.
The Floating Brothel of the title is the ship 'The Lady Julian' used to transport 250 female prisoners to Australia in the late 18th century.It is quite horrifying to see how these some of these women could be sentenced to seven years 'in land beyond the seas' for what today would be classed as minor misdemeanors.
However, the women aboard the Lady Julian were more fortunate than many being aboard a ship with a decent, honest agent and captain to ensure their welfare was taken care of.Many of them became 'wives' to the crew for the duration of the voyage which of course gave them certain advantages. Nonetheless this book still manages to convey the horror of this punishment and the harsh conditions of the day.
Sian Rees manages to inject a little humour at times (such as the antics of some of the women in Tenerife ) which provides a welcome relief and stops the book becoming too grim. She also adds some nice touches of history by recounting snippets about Captain Cook and Lieutenant Bligh and the Bounty.
This is a good account of crime, punishment and survival in Georgian England and well worth a read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The story of "disorderly women" transported to Australia., 12 Jan 2001
By 
This is the little known story of 240 women who were sentenced at the Old Bailey in London to transportation to Australia in the summer of 1789. The idea was to provide the new colony with breeding stock. These "disorderly" women were convicted pickpockets, prostitutes, thieves and muggers ranging in age from 11 to 68. They had one thing in common - they were all streetwise.
Despite the reasons for their journey and the risks involved in travel over such vast distances in the 18th Century most of the "cargo" arrived in Sydney after 11 months at sea fitter and healthier than when they set out.
The description of life aboard the "Lady Julian" is excellent displaying the author's knowledge of all things maritime.
I found the whole book authoritative, well researched with plenty of attention to detail. It made easy reading and with my interest in 18th Century crime and punishment an excellent addition to my library.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written, 9 Aug 2007
By 
SJSmith (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an 18th-Century Ship and Its Cargo of Female Convicts (Paperback)
I read about this book not realising it was non-fiction. I genuinely thought it was complete fiction and following reading it I went on to find out some information about the ship, Lady Julian. The beginning of the novel was a little tiresome and some points could be skipped through. It depends exactly on what part of the ship's life you are interested in.

I appreciate Rees is setting the scene and introducing us to the ladies on board and the men who had the power over them. I wasn't always interested in reading about their affairs, life and crime and therefore skipped accordingly. What did catch my eye was the inconsistency in punishment leading to transportation to parts beyond the seas. The debate within the book as to why men were hanged and women burnt at the stake was interesting and one of the women who was due to die at the stake was pardoned following the celebrated recovery of King George.

Her writing style is excellent. It feels like a reading of fiction; she intermingles quotations exceptionally well with her own narrative. The eight pages of photographs/sketches help to paint a picture especially pof John Nichol, whose memoirs I may well search out.

One improvement for me would just be to really know what life was like in the colonies. Rees paints such a detailed picture of the convicts before their arrest and during their year at sea that I would have liked a little more. However I guess the book is about the Lady Julian as well as its passengers. The voyage is unbelievable, I hope you find it as enthralling as I did once I became engaged.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars readable, interesting, tragic., 11 Jan 2001
This is the story of a sailing ship used to transport about 250 convicted women to Australia in 1789, basically to empty the jails in England of petty criminals, and to provide the new colony with "breeding stock"
For those who have not previously read the subject, they will be surprised at the cruelty of the English legal system in the 18th Century. Prisoners were sent to the colonies not just for serious crimes, but for minor offences - petty theft, shoplifting and prostitution. The heart ache at being separated from your family, and being sent to the other side of the world, just after it had been discovered, with virtually no chance of return, can only be imagined. Sion Rees describes their fate in a common sense way, not trying to apply modern day standards to 18th century justice, but the horror of the fate of these woman, many of whom left children in England, speaks for itself. It is not only a book about the English legal system, but is a fascinating insight into the social history of the time, and graghically describes a sea voyage from England to Australia via South America under sail, and with 250 women convicts in the hold.
It is not just a horror story - there is kindness and humour - but overall it is a story of human tragedy almost beyond belief.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 5 July 2014
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This review is from: The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an 18th-Century Ship and Its Cargo of Female Convicts (Paperback)
Good accurate and well researched history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Historically accurate and a good yarn, 14 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an 18th-Century Ship and Its Cargo of Female Convicts (Paperback)
This book was recommended to me and I was unsure if I would like it. However, it gripped me from the start and was a real eye-opener as to the lives and situations of those poor women who found themselves locked up and eventually transported.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Floating Brothel, 14 Aug 2013
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K. Middlecoate "Ken" (Cleethorpes, England) - See all my reviews
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A brilliant read, for someone who is keen on genealogy it was perfect. It goes a long way into explaining the hardships for these poor souls.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great, 23 July 2013
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This review is from: The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an 18th-Century Ship and Its Cargo of Female Convicts (Paperback)
im not qualified to judge as anything but a layman but i love hornblower. aubrey maturin and anything describing historic naval times. more historic feel of the time and there is lots of it in this book. i always feel i am there and a great book provides this. this is a great addition to my collection
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