A resourceful couple’s exhilarating recollections of sailing to India and beyond.

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In this debut travelogue, a husband and wife share their observations, insights, and inspirations during a cruise that starts and ends in Australia, with a treasure hunt thrown in.

The Beales set out on a big adventure after Michelle was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2009. After saving their pennies and battling the tumor to a standstill, they set sail from Sydney on May 20, 2013, on a cruise that would take them west on the Sea Princess through Indonesia to India (where they stay a few days and catch up with the ship farther on). Then the vessel heads to the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic, the Panama Canal, Hawaii (“Paradise is all around and unavoidable”), Samoa, and so forth, arriving in Sydney 104 days later. Readers learn about life on the high seas—and the endless work it takes to run and maintain the Sea Princess—the challenge of doing laundry, the daily routines, the friendships, the colorful ports of call: all that one would expect. As background, readers learn of the Beales’ history together, Michelle’s cancer (a battle not yet won), and their life philosophies. Each page is a log entry, complete with daily status (weather, position) and an inspirational aphorism or reflection (for example, “I have not told half of what I saw”—Marco Polo). Off Somalia, the ship stations crew members to look for pirates. In Scotland, readers learn of the astounding Falkirk Wheel. Edward handles much of the photography and the technical stuff; Michelle is the writer, and not just good, but gifted. At one point, she says of the Sea Princess in the middle of the ocean, “We are all in the same boat,” a cheekily resuscitated metaphor. She also recalls a stirring sunrise at sea, where “a fireworks show of boiling blues and raging reds bubble out” from the horizon. Then there is the inventive treasure hunt based on hints made throughout the volume. Who can resist such a lure? And the log format makes this a book for dipping into anywhere—perfect on the nightstand. Readers should enjoy spending time with the Beales, especially gutsy Michelle. Bon voyage!

A resourceful couple’s exhilarating recollections of sailing to India and beyond.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-692-38310-0

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Expeditionaire

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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