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It's the early 1930s. Antarctic open sea whaling is booking and a territorial race for the mysterious continent is in full swing. Aboard a ship setting sail from Cape Town carrying the Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen are three women: Lillemor Rachlew, who tricked her way on to the ship and will stop at nothing to be the first woman to land on Antarctica; Mathilde It's the early 1930s. Antarctic open sea whaling is booking and a territorial race for the mysterious continent is in full swing. Aboard a ship setting sail from Cape Town carrying the Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen are three women: Lillemor Rachlew, who tricked her way on to the ship and will stop at nothing to be the first woman to land on Antarctica; Mathilde Wegger, a grieving widow who's been forced to join the trip by her calculating parents-in-law; and Lars's wife, Ingrid Christensen, who has longed to travel to Antarctica since she was a girl and has made a daunting bargain with Lars to convince him to take her. As they head south through icy waters, the race is on for the first woman to land on Antarctica. None of them expect the outcome and none of them know how they will be changed by their arrival. Based on the little-known true story of the first woman to ever set foot on Antarctica, Jesse Blackadder has captured the drama, danger and magnetic pull of exploring uncharted places in our world and our minds.


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It's the early 1930s. Antarctic open sea whaling is booking and a territorial race for the mysterious continent is in full swing. Aboard a ship setting sail from Cape Town carrying the Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen are three women: Lillemor Rachlew, who tricked her way on to the ship and will stop at nothing to be the first woman to land on Antarctica; Mathilde It's the early 1930s. Antarctic open sea whaling is booking and a territorial race for the mysterious continent is in full swing. Aboard a ship setting sail from Cape Town carrying the Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen are three women: Lillemor Rachlew, who tricked her way on to the ship and will stop at nothing to be the first woman to land on Antarctica; Mathilde Wegger, a grieving widow who's been forced to join the trip by her calculating parents-in-law; and Lars's wife, Ingrid Christensen, who has longed to travel to Antarctica since she was a girl and has made a daunting bargain with Lars to convince him to take her. As they head south through icy waters, the race is on for the first woman to land on Antarctica. None of them expect the outcome and none of them know how they will be changed by their arrival. Based on the little-known true story of the first woman to ever set foot on Antarctica, Jesse Blackadder has captured the drama, danger and magnetic pull of exploring uncharted places in our world and our minds.

30 review for Chasing the Light

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This was a fascinating fictional account of the first women to visit Antarctica. Long denied inclusion in male dominated excursions to the North and South Poles women eventually ventured to Anctarctica as passengers on the Norwegian whaling fleet. In this account, Jesse Blackadder imagines what it must have been like to be a young woman on such a journey. In her appendix, Blackadder relates what is known of the women, Ingrid Christensen wife of whaling king Lars Christensen and her female compan This was a fascinating fictional account of the first women to visit Antarctica. Long denied inclusion in male dominated excursions to the North and South Poles women eventually ventured to Anctarctica as passengers on the Norwegian whaling fleet. In this account, Jesse Blackadder imagines what it must have been like to be a young woman on such a journey. In her appendix, Blackadder relates what is known of the women, Ingrid Christensen wife of whaling king Lars Christensen and her female companions. In all Ingrid went on three trips to Antarctica with her husband in the 1930s and here Blackadder has condensed this into a single voyage with two of Ingrid's companions on board. She imagines the interactions between the three very different women and their reponses to the long voyage, the cold and danger of the ice and the brutality of the whaling they see when their refueling ship docks with the whaling ships. There is some beautiful descriptive prose making it possible to imagine the beauty of the ice and the light but also the brutality of the landscape and the cruelty inherent in whaling. A highly recommended fictional view of the history of a group of intrepid women overlooked by history. "It was true, she had found something essential. But in finding it, she’d lost something else. The Antarctica of her imagination, that mystical, wondrous place, was gone. In its stead was the real Antarctica, at once smaller and larger than she’d imagined, at once more wondrous and more ordinary. It was a place indifferent to humans. It was itself, no more and no less."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Mangler

    Others who wrote reviews of this book seem to adore it. I did not. It bothered me quite a lot to get to the end and to find two of the driving forces behind Lars and Ingrid's actions in the book were completely fictional. I get this is a fictional account, but completely fabricating their motivations is a bridge too far for me. Also, I had serious issues with how awful the women were to each other. It really reinforces the stereotype that women don't get along, that they don't support each other Others who wrote reviews of this book seem to adore it. I did not. It bothered me quite a lot to get to the end and to find two of the driving forces behind Lars and Ingrid's actions in the book were completely fictional. I get this is a fictional account, but completely fabricating their motivations is a bridge too far for me. Also, I had serious issues with how awful the women were to each other. It really reinforces the stereotype that women don't get along, that they don't support each other, that they are in constant competition with each other. That stereotype is so tired and so wrong. I did love the descriptions of Antarctica. My fascination with the continent is why I chose this book in the first place, and those parts of the book did not disappoint. And the encounter Ingrid had with the whale was breathtaking.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kate Forsyth

    This is the most beautiful, haunting novel about the first women in Antarctica - I'd really recommend it to anyone who loves books about forgotten women in history (in fact, I'd recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction.) This is the most beautiful, haunting novel about the first women in Antarctica - I'd really recommend it to anyone who loves books about forgotten women in history (in fact, I'd recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction.)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘But all explorations were funded by something, Lars had told her more than once.’ Ingrid Christensen has waited for twenty years for her husband Lars to meet his promise to take her to Antarctica. Twenty years, during which Ingrid has given birth to six children and Lars has built a whaling empire. In 1931, subject to conditions, Lars agrees to take Ingrid with him when he sails to the Southern Ocean as part of his whaling business. A landing in Antarctica may be possible. One of Lars's conditio ‘But all explorations were funded by something, Lars had told her more than once.’ Ingrid Christensen has waited for twenty years for her husband Lars to meet his promise to take her to Antarctica. Twenty years, during which Ingrid has given birth to six children and Lars has built a whaling empire. In 1931, subject to conditions, Lars agrees to take Ingrid with him when he sails to the Southern Ocean as part of his whaling business. A landing in Antarctica may be possible. One of Lars's conditions is that Ingrid cannot be the only woman aboard the Thorshavn. Mathilde Wegger, withdrawn and grieving for her husband, is invited by Ingrid to join her as her companion. Mathilde, pressured by her parents-in-law, reluctantly agrees. Mathilde does not want to leave her children, but is afraid that she will lose them to her parents-in-law otherwise. Lillemor Rachlew is fascinated by Antarctica. When she learns of the Christensen's planned trip, she very much wants to be part of it. And with her husband Anton's assistance, she joins the expedition. Three very different women: each with her own motivation for making this trip, in the enclosed space of a ship carrying fuel oil to the factory ships. Ms Blackadder creates both the beauty and the terror of the sea as well as the claustrophobic cabins of a working ship. Alliances are made, broken, and remade between the women as they rely on each other to survive in such a harsh environment. While some members of the crew are helpful, most of the men would prefer that the women were not on board. And which of the women will be the first to set foot on Antarctica? `This was Antarctica, hard and bloody and full of need, longing and repulsion, fury, competition and jealousy, bargains made and payments extracted, everyone implicated, everyone faced with their own desire and brutality.' I enjoyed this novel immensely. While the cruel reality of whaling is part of this journey, it underlines rather than undermines the broader story of the search for territory in Antarctica. It is Ms Blackadder's descriptions of the environment that primarily held my attention: the austere beauty and treachery of the ice. While, for me, the women were largely secondary to the surroundings, I was intrigued by their manoeuvrings and manipulations as each sought to try to gain an advantage. The voyage described in this novel is loosely based, the author writes, on four trips made by Ingrid with Lars on board the Thorshavn. Lillemor and Mathilde accompanied her on different voyages. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  5. 5 out of 5

    Max Coggan

    An excellent novel of historical fiction. 1930’s.... funded explorations of the Antarctica..... life in Norway and powerful men ..... motivated women who want to achieve ........ the blood and guts of the whaling industry ....... and the power of large companies.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Seals

    As someone who loves historical fiction, I’ve been trying to branch out behind WWII historical fiction and based countries I am less/not familiar with their history. A book based on the first women to see Antarctica certainly fit! While this is based on actual people, the author really made up the characters’ traits. It is extremely fictionalized and I was much more intrigued and interested in the afterword with author’s notes on the actual facts. This book is based on Ingrid Christensen’s 4 tri As someone who loves historical fiction, I’ve been trying to branch out behind WWII historical fiction and based countries I am less/not familiar with their history. A book based on the first women to see Antarctica certainly fit! While this is based on actual people, the author really made up the characters’ traits. It is extremely fictionalized and I was much more intrigued and interested in the afterword with author’s notes on the actual facts. This book is based on Ingrid Christensen’s 4 trips to Antarctica, not a single epic journey. Also, I felt a bit deceived upon finding out that there is no record of Ingrid wanting to be the first women to step foot on Antarctica, as this book is so heavily premised on. A journey to Antarctica is an adventure itself, without the added need of a fake race to be first. One detail that particularly bothered me was how Blackadder painted the stereotypical women in competition and jealousy bit. In the afterword, there is no mention of Ingrid having any hostility to any of the female companions during her journeys. I rather disliked each of them for different reasons, but especially Lillemor Rachlew and now find that my dislike is unwarranted as I have no idea what she was even like. While the book dragged at times and became a bit tedious, I was interested in learning about the whaling industry and especially how these women, and others noted (eg Amelia Earhart) were strong, intelligent women with dreams and goals and adventures they wanted to seek. It shed light to the history books, not correcting itself, even in Norway where these ladies were from, to reflect their achievements.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Bonetti

    In the 1930's, three women are determined to travel to the Antarctic, hoping to be the 'first woman' to set foot there. Two employ whatever wiles they can to board the expedition, the third is an unwilling companion. The opening chapters introduce us to these women, after a preface by another and a chapter about one who was denied the opportunity to travel south. Consequently, it took me a while to become absorbed in the book, and to differentiate the five women. Once aboard, their personalities In the 1930's, three women are determined to travel to the Antarctic, hoping to be the 'first woman' to set foot there. Two employ whatever wiles they can to board the expedition, the third is an unwilling companion. The opening chapters introduce us to these women, after a preface by another and a chapter about one who was denied the opportunity to travel south. Consequently, it took me a while to become absorbed in the book, and to differentiate the five women. Once aboard, their personalities, flaws and motivations come into focus. Descriptions of the whaling business repulse us, as no doubt was intended. Having watched whales breach, enjoying the freedom of the oceans, I can be grateful that this barbaric practice has been curbed, and add my voice in protest against continued Japanese slaughter. The end chapters are particularly engrossing, as the women reach their goal and we see how their lives are changed by the journey.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hazel Edwards

    Collecting books on Antarctica is my hobby. Have just finished 'Chasing the Light'.I thought it the most enjoyable faction read about Antarctica or elsewhere. Technically beautifully crafted via the varied women's viewpoints, motives and historic setting. Quality characterisation and I'd be delighted to recommend it for those attempting new techniques for writing about historical settings in my 'Writing Non Boring Family History' workshops. But also the mystique of Antarctica was captured in the Collecting books on Antarctica is my hobby. Have just finished 'Chasing the Light'.I thought it the most enjoyable faction read about Antarctica or elsewhere. Technically beautifully crafted via the varied women's viewpoints, motives and historic setting. Quality characterisation and I'd be delighted to recommend it for those attempting new techniques for writing about historical settings in my 'Writing Non Boring Family History' workshops. But also the mystique of Antarctica was captured in the emotive passages. A significant author has arrived. AND Tropical Townsville was a great place to read about cool Antarctica last week. Congratulations Jesse. Genuinely think this a significant work.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jane Massingham

    After a visit from Jesse to my children's school to talk about Antarctica, I was compelled to buy her book Chasing the Light. Jesse has a way of engaging all ages into her story and knowing this was inspired by strong women in history made me want to read it (along with the fact that I loved Raven's Heart). Again, it wasn't bogged down in historical facts, but had enough to "furnish" the story well. Love the story and felt that I was actually there feeling the cold, the storms, the rocking of th After a visit from Jesse to my children's school to talk about Antarctica, I was compelled to buy her book Chasing the Light. Jesse has a way of engaging all ages into her story and knowing this was inspired by strong women in history made me want to read it (along with the fact that I loved Raven's Heart). Again, it wasn't bogged down in historical facts, but had enough to "furnish" the story well. Love the story and felt that I was actually there feeling the cold, the storms, the rocking of the boats and the victories and losses with those women. Again, sad the book was over. GREAT story.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennie Diplock-Storer

    Wonderful, unputdownable book, a novel based on fact. The story of 3 women, in the 1930's, who, for different reasons, travel to Antartica, hoping to be the first female to put a foot on this new continent. These women have very different lives, stories & personalities. The dynamics they bring to a male environment of whaling ships & their crews is variable. In some way, each woman is changed dramatically by this journey. The biographical portraits are featured at the end of the book. I highly r Wonderful, unputdownable book, a novel based on fact. The story of 3 women, in the 1930's, who, for different reasons, travel to Antartica, hoping to be the first female to put a foot on this new continent. These women have very different lives, stories & personalities. The dynamics they bring to a male environment of whaling ships & their crews is variable. In some way, each woman is changed dramatically by this journey. The biographical portraits are featured at the end of the book. I highly recommend this book!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karen ⊰✿

    Very well written historical fiction based on the little-known landing of the first woman on Antarctica. It depicts the brutality of Antarctica, and the whaling practices of the 1930s while still drawing you in with strong characters and a unique story.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Beaulah Pragg

    Chasing the Light: A Novel of Antarctica, by Jesse Blackadder, admittedly spent most of its time in Norway and at sea, but I loved the opportunity to explore the world of 1930's Norwegian exploration (and whaling) through the eyes of three unusual Norwegian women caught up in the race to be the first woman to set foot on Antarctica. One of the women, Ingrid Christensen (the wife of Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen) ended up with a whole coast of Antarctica named after her - but would yo Chasing the Light: A Novel of Antarctica, by Jesse Blackadder, admittedly spent most of its time in Norway and at sea, but I loved the opportunity to explore the world of 1930's Norwegian exploration (and whaling) through the eyes of three unusual Norwegian women caught up in the race to be the first woman to set foot on Antarctica. One of the women, Ingrid Christensen (the wife of Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen) ended up with a whole coast of Antarctica named after her - but would you believe there's hardly any information about her available online? And yes, I was trying to spoil the ending by finding out who the winner was -- I failed, so I just had finish reading the book. Another of the women, Lillimor Rachlew, was a Norwegian living in London high society who met Amelia Earhart right near the beginning, used female contraceptive and was desperate to be the first woman to do something (anything really)! Through her storyline I discovered that there was a wealthy American woman named Louise Arner Boyd who had already spend much time and money exploring the North Pole region by this period of history. The final competitor was Mathilde Wegger, mother of two who had lost her husband a year before and was thoroughly, clinically depressed. She didn't even want to be on the expedition, but her husbands parents had given her an ultimatum - go to Antarctica or go to an asylum. I think they hoped she'd die so they could keep the kids. What I learned from this? Antarctic waters are cold, full of icebergs and incredibly dangerous. Women in the 1930's were just as determined to explore and discover new things as their male counterparts, but it was significantly harder for them to do so. In fact, in 1937, over 1300 women applied to join the British Antarctic Expedition, but none were accepted. Also, whaling is horrible... and really sad... and, well, I guess you can't really condemn whaling without condemning all forms of farming for meat on those ethical grounds, but there is also the totally unsustainable thing - which was a theme running underneath this story of exploration. Definitely makes you think. And the book itself? Interesting, though it took me a while to finish. I didn't like the main characters all that much, except perhaps Mathilde, who started out depressed and found her strength over the course of the voyage - she was kinda cool. I also kept wondering, with such strong characterization, if these women shared anything at all in common with their real life counterparts - I suppose it's impossible to know. I did appreciate that Blackadder ended the book with a discussion of her research and the facts as she could ascertain them (much different in places to her portrayal in the novel). I certainly feel I've earned an interesting glimpse into a moment in time that I can build on with further reading and research.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Teagan

    An inspiring read about the first women to see/land or step on Antarctica as well as the horrors of the whaling industry. As a lover of historical fiction I did like that this story was loosely based on true events, however, I was glad that the author outlined at the end what the facts verses the fiction were. It was a little disheartening that the story told was actually mish mash of four different journeys made, but good to know nonetheless. I also enjoyed the mention of Australian explorers a An inspiring read about the first women to see/land or step on Antarctica as well as the horrors of the whaling industry. As a lover of historical fiction I did like that this story was loosely based on true events, however, I was glad that the author outlined at the end what the facts verses the fiction were. It was a little disheartening that the story told was actually mish mash of four different journeys made, but good to know nonetheless. I also enjoyed the mention of Australian explorers as well as Amelia Earhart and this inspiration she would have had on ambition women during her time. In addition to this there was some great character development from each of the women. I really do think that a journey like that would change you personally, the world would seem like such a larger place. Aside from personal growth I liked the insight in to the whaling industry, it is something that is so shameful that it is rarely discussed in our Australian history, yet it was an industry early Australia, especially Tasmania profited from so much. The way the animals were treated and the numbers that were murdered to fill a tanker were truly disturbing, 2000 was the figure mentioned in the novel. I felt like there were times when the story seemed to dragged so I was thankful that I didn't have to read about the whole journey home, there was also a lack of tension in the story which meant that, at times, there was little motivation to keep reading. I think I little more excitement could have been invented since a fair chuck of the story was fabricated anyway. Definitely a read for lovers of historical fiction looking for a more untouched setting.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janet Mahlum

    The book was OK. There was nothing terribly wrong with the style of writing, There was nothing really good about it either. When I was in 5th grade (lo these many years ago), my female classmates were all in love with Elvis Pressly. I was in love with Admiral Richard Byrd. I dreamed of going to Antarctica with him. People were always so surprised when I said what I really wanted to do was go to Antarctica. This was long before there were bases set up and tourists actually went there. However, wh The book was OK. There was nothing terribly wrong with the style of writing, There was nothing really good about it either. When I was in 5th grade (lo these many years ago), my female classmates were all in love with Elvis Pressly. I was in love with Admiral Richard Byrd. I dreamed of going to Antarctica with him. People were always so surprised when I said what I really wanted to do was go to Antarctica. This was long before there were bases set up and tourists actually went there. However, when I discovered I got horribly seasick and quite nauseous flying, I decided it was a place too far and too hard to get to for me. A novel about the first women on that continent sounded like something right up my alley, and it did get good reviews. I was disappointed. None of the characters were likable except Hjalmar. The whale slaughter was absolutely appalling and made for hideous reading. I don't know why writers think they have to go into complete detail when writing about making love - who did what when and how.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Suzesmum

    28 📱🇦🇶ANTARCTICA 🇦🇶This is the third book by an Australian woman writer I have read for Antarctica, and it came highly recommended to me. It’s a fictional account of the first women to visit the great southern continent. Set in Norway in the 1930s, the story centres around whaling magnate Lars Christensen and his wife Ingrid’s journey south. Along for the ride is Mathlide Wegger grieving widow and the ambitious photographer Lillemor Rachlew. In the background is the race for exploration glory of 28 📱🇦🇶ANTARCTICA 🇦🇶This is the third book by an Australian woman writer I have read for Antarctica, and it came highly recommended to me. It’s a fictional account of the first women to visit the great southern continent. Set in Norway in the 1930s, the story centres around whaling magnate Lars Christensen and his wife Ingrid’s journey south. Along for the ride is Mathlide Wegger grieving widow and the ambitious photographer Lillemor Rachlew. In the background is the race for exploration glory of Australian explorer Mawson. As my third read in Antarctica, Chasing the light had nice connections to the Norwegian whaling stations and penguins in Out of the Ice and the bird life in The Last Migration. However, the pace of the plot was glacial. The book is long and at times I felt it was a chore to get it finished. I’m undecided if I will read another Antarctic novel. I’m feeling the warmer climes of the South Pacific calling me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I give this a 3.5 stars. I have never done much reading about antarctica, nor those explorers who went to the poles, with the exception of Ernest Shackleton. I had also not read about whaling and the details of what goes on in this industry. With women coming more and more to the forefront of being business owners, movie producers, etc., I thought it would be fun to learn about the first women to set foot on Antarctica. It was well written and I liked the way the "afterword" of the book told in I give this a 3.5 stars. I have never done much reading about antarctica, nor those explorers who went to the poles, with the exception of Ernest Shackleton. I had also not read about whaling and the details of what goes on in this industry. With women coming more and more to the forefront of being business owners, movie producers, etc., I thought it would be fun to learn about the first women to set foot on Antarctica. It was well written and I liked the way the "afterword" of the book told in detail exactly what the timeline was of who landed when, which was slightly different from the story line in the book. Pretty much all of the characters in the book were real people.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dianne Maguire

    Jesse Blackadder's 'Sixty Seconds' captured me from the first paragraph, so I was automatically drawn to 'Chasing the Light' and although the story did not wrap itself around me as 'Sixty Seconds' had, I was not disappointed. Jesse Blackadder's way with words, her heartfelt prose and her intelligence which shines through her stories to simultaneously dig at the heart and entertain make her one of my favourite authors of this time. Keep writing Jesse! Jesse Blackadder's 'Sixty Seconds' captured me from the first paragraph, so I was automatically drawn to 'Chasing the Light' and although the story did not wrap itself around me as 'Sixty Seconds' had, I was not disappointed. Jesse Blackadder's way with words, her heartfelt prose and her intelligence which shines through her stories to simultaneously dig at the heart and entertain make her one of my favourite authors of this time. Keep writing Jesse!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alicecake

    An unexpected pleasure This is a story of 3 largely fictionalized, though real women who traveled to Antartica. Enough of the story is factual to make it a worthy read for non-fiction lovers. The adventure drew me in by the end of the first chapter. The story has everything; romance without being sappy, sex without being too graphic, well developed characters, suspense, and intrigue.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Auty

    An exciting fictional tale of a true event. I enjoyed reading this account of this unique journey to the Antarctic. The description of the whaling industry while gruesome, was enlightening. So many lives depended on it. It was particularly interesting to see how the whole experience changed the lives of the characters in the book. I The afterward was very much appreciated.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Wow wow wow did this not disappoint. Incredible imagery, a fantastic blend of documeted fact, educated assumptions, and fiction. Only complaint is the women being so catty toward each other, which there's no evidence of in real life. It feels a tad stereotypical, but the book in general was so great I *almost* don't even mind. Wow wow wow did this not disappoint. Incredible imagery, a fantastic blend of documeted fact, educated assumptions, and fiction. Only complaint is the women being so catty toward each other, which there's no evidence of in real life. It feels a tad stereotypical, but the book in general was so great I *almost* don't even mind.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    An excellent read. Historical fiction about some very courageous Norwegian women in the early 1930, and about the Antarctic. So engaging! Very well researched - at the end, the ‘Afterword’ is well worth reading - it relates the history around which this novel was written, and also the ‘Acknowledgements’, which help the reader to grasp just how much research underlies the writing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Summers

    Norway, Cape Town, Antarctica (I would love to do this trip) First women on Antarctica. Imagine doing it in the 1930s. It (Thorshavn) had carried her to another world and brought her safely back. Miss Earhart said in the papers ‘I want to do it because I want to do it. Adventure is worthwhile in itself.’ The whaling and polar bear killing is not a favorite topic.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patti

    I enjoyed the relationship between the three women, each embarking on the journey of a lifetime, bringing their own emotional baggage. I love books with great descriptive writing and this one delivers.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Julie Myers

    Thought it was a romance novel I enjoyed the book. A good fictional history story with in-depth characters. I did not enjoy the many love along scenes or their time of the month, on the rag descriptions. Also an author can use some other adjective besides the F..k word.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Reid

    Awesome book with a good insight into the whaling industry. Thoroughly enjoyed this book based in Antarctica

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jill Sergeant

    I didn't enjoy this as much as I'd hoped too. I wanted more Antarctica and less of the fraught relationships. I didn't enjoy this as much as I'd hoped too. I wanted more Antarctica and less of the fraught relationships.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Didn't love the way the characters were drawn but enjoyed the historical side and the facts it made me look up. Didn't love the way the characters were drawn but enjoyed the historical side and the facts it made me look up.

  28. 4 out of 5

    THE BOOK SHUTTLE Children's Online Bookstore

    During the 1930′s the isolated waters of Antarctica had become a place of intrigue for explorers, and a huge killing field for the whaling industry. Many had made the trip to this mysterious part of the world before the 1930′s but it took some strong and adventurous women to be the first to travel to Antarctica. Jesse Blackadder has combined historical facts and true people with fiction to create a most wonderful novel. It starts with the character Ingrid Christensen, a Norwegian woman married to During the 1930′s the isolated waters of Antarctica had become a place of intrigue for explorers, and a huge killing field for the whaling industry. Many had made the trip to this mysterious part of the world before the 1930′s but it took some strong and adventurous women to be the first to travel to Antarctica. Jesse Blackadder has combined historical facts and true people with fiction to create a most wonderful novel. It starts with the character Ingrid Christensen, a Norwegian woman married to Lars the owner of a large whaling company. Ingrid has always wanted to make the journey to Antarctica, to be the first woman to land on the continent. Her husband Lars is reluctant to risk Ingrid’s life, the mother of their five children on the treacherous journey to the southern land. Ingrid does get her way and join Lars and his crew along with two other female companions. They journey on the support ship for the whaling fleet and factories for Lar’s business. From the moment the women leave, the magnitude and reality of the journey they had embarked on hits them. There is much drama and excitement on the high seas as the story unwinds. Jesse Blackadder tells of the grim reality of the whaling fleets and factories that slaughtered thousands of whales in the chilling waters of Antarctica. This book is beautifully written, I as a reader was mesmerised by the story. The characters were so real, one could not help but feel that you were there in the novel along with the characters. CHASING THE LIGHT did make me want to know more about who the first women to experience Antarctica really were. When I finished the novel, I was going to hit the GOOGLE search bar on my computer, but did not need to. Jesse Blackadder has added a chapter to her book telling the reader how she came about writing CHASING THE LIGHT – and how she was intrigued by the relatively under reported true story, on who were the first women in Antarctica. The research that Jesse did on her book took her to Norway and Antarctica, giving her the fuel she needed to complete CHASING THE LIGHT. I highly recommend CHASING THE LIGHT, especially if you are a fan of historical fiction and want to read a book that you just can’t put down! To view CHASING THE LIGHT in our eBook store go to www.thebookshuttle.com

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    I read everything I could get my hands on about Antarctica when I was younger, I was fascinated with what is now known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. I read the accounts of Shackleton's expeditions and of Scott's who trudged his way to the South Pole only to be pipped at the post by Amundsen the Norwegian, (who in the eyes of the British had 'cheated' by using dogs and sleds to get there) and also of the terrible ordeal that the Australian explorer, Mawson endured as the only surviv I read everything I could get my hands on about Antarctica when I was younger, I was fascinated with what is now known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. I read the accounts of Shackleton's expeditions and of Scott's who trudged his way to the South Pole only to be pipped at the post by Amundsen the Norwegian, (who in the eyes of the British had 'cheated' by using dogs and sleds to get there) and also of the terrible ordeal that the Australian explorer, Mawson endured as the only survivor of his 1912-13 expedition. The only mention of women in these accounts were as the wives or fiancees at home awaiting the return of their heroes. It was a man's world and it wasn't until the late 1960's that women broke through the ice ceiling and stormed the last bastion of maledom to be included in the US Antarctic field season. When I heard Jesse Blackadder mention at a Readers' Advisory seminar at the NSW State Library last year that she was in the process of writing a novel about the women who first set foot on Antarctica, I couldn't wait for it to come out. I had thoroughly enjoyed her book The Raven's Heart, so was anticipating a great read and Chasing the Light is just that. It brings to life the story of the three Norwegian women, Ingrid Christensen, Mathilde Wegger and Lillemor Rachlew who in the 1930s, strove to be first. Ingrid Christensen's husband owned a whaling fleet, and it was because of this that the women traveled to Antarctica on his ship the Thorshavn. Inevitably, as Lars Christensen is in Antarctica to inspect his factory ships, the book also casts light onto the terrible history of whaling in the Southern oceans. Jesse's book is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Chater

    This was seriously one of the best books I have read in a long time... A wonderfully reimagining of the race to become the first woman to set foot on Antarctica, Chasing The Light is exquisitely written with characters who are so complex and well-drawn you won't want to give them up at the end of the novel! I suppose I am still on a high because I just finished this; I'm still imagining myself in Antarctica, although I would probably be one of those women in the saloon drinking coffee that Jesse B This was seriously one of the best books I have read in a long time... A wonderfully reimagining of the race to become the first woman to set foot on Antarctica, Chasing The Light is exquisitely written with characters who are so complex and well-drawn you won't want to give them up at the end of the novel! I suppose I am still on a high because I just finished this; I'm still imagining myself in Antarctica, although I would probably be one of those women in the saloon drinking coffee that Jesse Blackadder writes about! I really cannot recommend this book highly enough. There were moments in the book where my stomach churned and I did not want to read on but I did keep going because I really cared about the characters. Their motivations were very clear-cut and the complexity of their relationship made the story so compelling. As they draw closer and closer to Antarctia where they hope to land, the rules that apply to the rest of the world seem to fall away and Ingrid, Lillemor and Mathilde are forced to reasses their beliefs and loyalties. A superb piece of historical fiction that every woman (and man!) needs to read. I know we all complain about the high price of everything but honestly, books like Chasing The Light are priceless. They pay for themselves again and again. I can't wait to reread this one. Five stars.

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