A Voyage Around My Mother

A Voyage Around My Mother : Surviving Shelling, Shipwrecks and Family Storms

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Eleanor Stewart had always had a difficult relationship with her mother, but when her mother's persistent ill-health, caused by Parkinson's Disease, meant she needed a new home, Eleanor offered her one. 'It will only be for six months' she assured her husband - but it wasn't. It was for ten years. And, initially, those years were hard. Her mother, Mary, had very little interest in Eleanor's life, or even in her two grandchildren. So if a bridge was to be built between the two women, Eleanor would have to build it - and find the necessary solid ground to do so. She found it by exploring her mother's past with her. Mary had had a fascinating life, which included being shelled during the Second World War, shipwrecked and a passionate affair while sailing to India. As Mary Stewart reveals more and more of her past, Eleanor discovers a woman she has never really known, and the two forge a strong relationship that was not possible before.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 130 x 198 x 17.78mm | 258.55g
  • Lion Books
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 074596883X
  • 9780745968834
  • 1,145,192

Review quote

This book is as much about a parent's extraordinary back story as it is about a daughter who has tenderly pieced it together. -- Jane Christmas Author of Incontinent on the Continent Eleanor Stewart introduces us to the adventures of her intrepid mother in a way that is sympathetic without being sentimental. Coming to understand our parents simply as human beings, as flawed and fragile as we know ourselves to be, is often the gateway to inner maturity, and even peace, which Eleanor demonstrates. As this humorous and personal tale unfolds, we not only voyage across the world, we also travel into the hearts of a feisty woman and her dedicated daughter. -- Sharon Grenham-Thompson Author of Jail Bird This book is a terrific reminder that no life is ordinary. Starting with the frailty of her mother's old age, the author tells a story of adventure, tragedy and immense courage. Once started, you won't want to put it down. -- Gethin Russell-Jones author of My Secret Life in Hut 6 'While taking us on a voyage through hostile waters in wartime with her mother, Eleanor Stewart plunges us into one of the many forgotten episodes in a long and cruel conflict at sea. So many so-called ordinary people endured extraordinary events that would test even the bravest of us to the limit and beyond. Too often it is the big episodes of war that are remembered and written about. In bringing so vividly to life the sinking of the liner S.S. Britannia by the notorious Nazi disguised raider Thor, Eleanor Stewart reveals not only her own incredible family history - and the amazing courage of her mum - but also makes us all wonder what we would do adrift in that lifeboat for days, surviving only on biscuits and condensed milk.' -- Iain Ballantyne author of Killing the Bismarck "This is a vivid account of a relationship between a daughter (Eleanor) and her elderly and frail mother (Mary). Their uncomfortable relationship nonetheless reveals a remarkable story of one woman's experience of life and notably of the Second World War. Particularly vivid is Mary's description, powerfully recounted by her daughter, of alarming experiences in the Atlantic ocean at the height of the battles in which the German U-boats sought to throttle the lifeline between the United States and Britain. It is a fine account of a remarkable phase in a not to be forgotten period." -- Jonathan Dimbleby
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About Eleanor Stewart

After eight years in a French order of nuns, Eleanor trained as a nurse and midwife in Liverpool, before leaving to marry. She studied French before lecturing in the subject at the University of Portsmouth.
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