The Fishing Fleet

  • by Anne de Courcy
  • Narrated by Greta Scacchi
  • 13 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the late 19th century, when the Raj was at its height, many of Britain's best and brightest young men went out to India to work as administrators, soldiers, and businessmen. With the advent of steam travel and the opening of the Suez Canal, countless young women, suffering at the lack of eligible men in Britain, followed in their wake. This amorphous band was composed of daughters returning after their English education, girls invited to stay with married sisters or friends, and yet others whose declared or undeclared goal was simply to find a husband.
They were known as the Fishing Fleet, and this book is their story, hitherto untold. For these young women, often away from home for the first time, one thing they could be sure of was a rollicking good time. By the early 20th century, a hectic social scene was in place, with dances, parties, amateur theatricals, picnics, tennis tournaments, cinemas, gymkhanas with perhaps a tiger shoot and a glittering dinner at a raja's palace thrown in. And, with men outnumbering women by roughly four to one, romances were conducted at alarming speed and marriages were frequent.
But after the honeymoon life often changed dramatically: Whisked off to a remote outpost with few other Europeans for company and where constant vigilance was required to guard against disease, they found it a far cry from the social whirlwind of their first arrival.
Anne de Courcy's sparkling narrative is enriched by a wealth of first-hand sources - unpublished memoirs, letters and diaries rescued from attics - which bring this forgotten era vividly to life.
Read by Greta Scacchi.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Go east, young woman...and they did!

Where does The Fishing Fleet rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?


I enjoyed this book but, unusually, might have preferred a print version (see below).

Some of the stories, diary extracts etc were fascinating glimpses into the lives of women in the Raj, and pointed up the striking contrasts between the physical privations and the unimaginable grandeur the yendured and witnessed.


If you’ve listened to books by Anne de Courcy before, how does this one compare?

This was my first Anne de Courcy book


Have you listened to any of Greta Scacchi’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I only know Greta Scacchi as an actress, but thought she was perfect for this book


If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

See title above


Any additional comments?

As I was listening I longed to see photos etc., so am now buying the illustrated print version of this book.

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- susan

A Different World

Would you listen to The Fishing Fleet again? Why?

So much of the content seemed so strange, that I could do with a second hearing. I have always enjoyed reading about India, and about the lives of women, and about history; this book combines all three.


What other book might you compare The Fishing Fleet to, and why?

Cannot think of another book quite like this


Have you listened to any of Greta Scacchi’s other performances? How does this one compare?

I have not heard her read before. Her voice seemed perfect for conveying the experiences of British women.


Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, made me laugh; some of the anecdotes were very funny. Some of the incidents were incredible. Most of all I marvelled at the courage of these women, the attitudes of the British as colonists, and the exotic setting of that vast country, India.


Any additional comments?

A wonderfully thorough survey of many diaries, journals and books, with memories of life in India in previous centuries.

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- A

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-11-2012
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Group Limited