The Remarkable Journey of Miss Tranby Quirke by Elizabeth Ridley

Tranby Quirke is an adventurous woman. Well, in her mind anyway. In reality, she is a very lonely woman who had lived her life avoiding any sort of real connection with others. She works hard in her teaching career and, behind the scenes, with the suffragist movement.  She is very dramatic in her actions and in her created adventures, which do fill much of the book.

After experiencing the loss of her first love, even if it was a very brief affair, at 12 years old, Tranby locked that part of herself away. The pain of the loss was just not worth letting herself feel. At 34, she is a spinster who teaches young women how to entertain guests and be a proper wife. This is where she meets 19 year old Lysette.

Lysette and Tranby connect and fall in love pretty quickly and I think that it’s believable in this scenario due to the mental states of the women involved. Tranby has denied herself any real human connection, besides with her father who died four years earlier, and Lysette is married to an abusive man. Lysette finds herself very much attracted to the older, more worldly and confident Tranby.

This is not the usual book that I’ve found at Bold Strokes. The language is more poetic and dramatic, as it’s written from Tranby’s point of view and set in 1909 London. And Tranby, herself, is very dramatic. I enjoyed the book but I could see how others may not be expecting the style and find themselves a bit disappointed. I wasn’t and found it a pleasant surprise.


  1. I've been curious about this one. I think it was originally published a few years ago by another publisher and BSB is reissuing it. Glad you liked it.

  2. You're right! I forgot to mention that. It looks like there's an edition published in 1996 and one in 1997, both by Virago Press.

  3. It's great to see a book have a second life. Do you put your reviews on Amazon as well? I was noticing this book only has two reviews and both are really old.

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