Monday, March 22, 2010

Historical Fiction Book Review - LEWIS & CLARK- CONTEST WINNER!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest for a free copy of the recent release The Fairest Portion of the Globe by Frances Hunter!

The challenge was to name your favorite PAIR of historical figures (and why) and we got some GREAT answers!

The winner is Regis Pluchet (from France!!), with this terrific and interesting pair:

Philibert (Commerson) and Jeanne (Barret)

As described by Regis:

"February 1767 : the french botanist Philibert Commerson, 39 years old, joined the Bougainville’s expedition around the world. His young housekeeper, Jeanne Barret, 26 years old, would accompany him, but expeditions were forbidden for women. Philibert was in great love with Jeanne. He disguised her as a man and as his valet, nicknamed Jean Bonnefoy. Incredibly, the passengers remained ignorant of her gender during 14 months.

April 1768 : the expedition reached Tahiti. The "savage" Tahitians recognised and revelead her true gender.

November 1768 : the expedition reaches Port Louis of Mauritius. Philibert remained at Port Louis with Jeanne, where Jeanne became a good botanist. After a journey to Madagascar without Jeanne, Philibert fell sick. Jeanne cared for him, but Philibert died in 1773.

Jeanne returned to France in 1774. She was complimented by King Louis XV for her courage and her botanical labours and granted a pension. She died in 1807.

Jeanne was the first woman to circumnavigate round the world. Philibert dedicated to her the plant genus Baretia (plants with ambiguous sexual characteristics !)

What a GREAT pair and a GREAT story!


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