Review published on October 25, 2017.
Holiday reading for me featured this book, an older publication but still available, To Brave Every Danger by Judith Cook. As a sub-title it has ‘The Epic Life Of Mary Bryant of Fowey’, and a truly epic life story it is too. Born sometime in the mid-1750s, she grew up in the tiny village of Fowey in Cornwall, and from there her meteoric tale unfolds.
Mainly compiled from archives, the story tells of her being jailed, sentenced to hang, commuted to deportation to Botany Bay, an escape that ranks with that of Captain Bligh, recapture, returned to England, and finally her case being taken up by no less than James Boswell.
An excellent story, it beggars belief how people were treated back then. The class divide is certainly revealed in all its injustice. Suffering that today we can only disbelieve, but it did happen, and more.
I found the book completely engrossing from beginning to end, no matter the wrong doing of these convicts, they should never have been treated like this. Explanations as to how they suffered play a big part in the narrative, incredibly sordid details abound that serve to paint a lavish picture of 1700s existence.
Well written, thoroughly researched, meticulously detailed and, although a tragic expose, it has all the hallmarks of a brilliant, classic, biography.
Reg Seward 5/4
To Brave Every Danger by Judith Cook
Truran 9781850221265 pbk Mar 1999
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