The Queen Of Whale Cay (CH) (Charnwood Library)

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9780708990797: The Queen Of Whale Cay (CH) (Charnwood Library)
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'A fascinating insight into the life of a remarkable woman' - BOOKS BY MAIL Joe Carstairs was renowned in the 1920s as an 'invert' who smoked cheroots and dressed as a man, as an heiress to the Standard Oil fortune and as the world's fastest female speedboat racer. In 1934, she bought an island in the West Indies and created her own kingdom. She exercised absolute power over a colony of five hundred black Bahamians, demanding obedience and moral virtue while herself continuing to live as she pleased. She entertained actresses, duchesses and priests, but reserved her greatest love for her boats, her cars and the enigmatic Lord Tod Wadley. When Carstairs died in 1993, aged 93, she was all but forgotten.

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British eccentric Marion "Joe" Carstairs (1900-1993) was a world-class speedboat racer, heiress to the Standard Oil fortune, ruler of her own Caribbean Island ... and a cross-dressing lesbian. This biography places Carstairs's adventurous life in the context of 20th-century attitudes toward sexual deviance. During the permissive 1920s, Carstairs was able to flaunt her taste for women in the bohemian circles of London and Paris. She had affairs with numerous gals, including Natalie Barney and Dolly Wilde, Oscar's niece. When writing about Carstairs's boat races, the press of that roaring decade regarded her as a loveable tomboy. But as social norms shifted in the '30s, Carstairs's lifestyle was frowned upon. So she acquired Whale Cay, an island off the coast of Florida, turned it into her own version of paradise, became a gentleman farmer, and had an affair with Marlene Dietrich. Carstairs's most important and long-term relationship, though, was with Lord Tod Wadley, a stuffed leather doll. --Rebecca Brown

About the Author:

KATE SUMMERSCALE is the author of the number one bestselling The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2008, a Richard & Judy Book Club pick and adapted into a major ITV drama. Her first book, the bestselling The Queen of Whale Cay, won a Somerset Maugham award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography award. Her most recent book is Mrs Robinson's Disgrace. Kate Summerscale has also judged various literary competitions including the Booker Prize. She lives in London.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780140276138: The Queen of Whale Cay: The Eccentric Story of 'Joe' Carstairs, Fastest Woman on Water

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