Kate Summerscale The Queen Of Whale Cay

ISBN 13: 9781857026689

The Queen Of Whale Cay

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9781857026689: The Queen Of Whale Cay
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Born in 1900 to a promiscuous American oil heiress and a British army captain, Marion Barbara Carstairs realised very early on that she was not like most little girls. Liberated by war work in WWI, Marion reinvented herself as Joe, and quickly went on to establish herself as a leading light of the fashionable lesbian demi-monde. She dressed in men's clothes, smoked cigars and cheroots, tattooed her arms, and became Britain's most celebrated female speed-boat racer - the 'fastest woman on water'. Yet Joe tired of the lime-light in 1934, and retired to the Bahamian Island of Whale Cay. There she fashioned her own self-sufficient kingdom, where she hosted riotous parties which boasted Hollywood actresses and British royalty among their guests. Although her lovers included screen sirens such as Marlene Dietrich, the real love of Joe's life was a small boy-doll named Lord Tod Wadley, to whom she remained devoted throughout her remarkable life. She died, aged 93, in 1993.

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Review:

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

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0140276130 ISBN 13:  9780140276138
Publisher: Penguin Books, 1999
Softcover

9780670880188: The Queen of Whale Cay: The Eccentric Story of

Viking..., 1998
Hardcover

9780007276660: The Queen of Whale Cay

Harper..., 2008
Softcover

9780965617956: The Queen of Whale Cay

Viking..., 1997
Softcover

9781408830512: Queen of Whale Cay

Blooms..., 2012
Softcover

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