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Heritage House Publishing Spring 2023

Frances Barkley
Eighteenth-century Seafarer
By (author): Cathy Converse
Cathy Converse


Amazing Stories - Victoria



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Apr 04, 2023
$12.95 CAD


8.5in x 5.5 in

Page Count:

144 pages


b&w photographs
Heritage House
Amazing Stories
Biography: historical, political and military|Biography: adventurers and explorers|Diaries, letters and journals|Gender studies: women and girls|Social and cultural history|Maritime history|Colonialism and imperialism|Interest age: from c 16 years
United Kingdom, Great Britain
A rivetingly imagined re-telling of the voyages of Frances Barkley (1769–1845), who as a young woman travelled the world on a trading mission with her sea captain husband.

Over two hundred years ago, Frances Barkley, a seventeen-year-old girl fresh out of a convent school in France, met twenty-six-year-old sea captain, fell deeply in love, and married him after a six-week courtship. Five weeks later, she stepped aboard his ship, the Imperial Eagle, to set sail on an eight-year voyage that would take them around the world twice.

Frances Barkley’s story is a remarkable one. It is a story born of discovery, of firsts, of hardship, of disease, of illness, and of death. Relying on her strength of character and wit, this young woman survived fierce seas, shipwreck, and capture by pirates. When Frances was approaching her seventh decade, at the behest of her daughter, she put pen to paper and wrote down what she could remember of her life with her husband in the merchant sea trade. Frances Barkley: Eighteenth-century Seafarer is not simply a re-issue of Frances’s own reminiscences, but a work of creative non-fiction—an extensive reimagining of her time at sea, supplemented through extensive historical, geographic, and nautical research.

  • Written in the form of a diary—a highly readable and engaging format. 
  • Converse is an expert on Frances Barkley, having revised, edited and extensively expanded a new edition of Beth Hill's seminal book The Remarkable World of Frances Barkley (Touchwood Editions, 2004).
  • Growing desire for adventurous true tales by and about women.
  • Frances Barkley was a unique trailblazer for her time and is still largely unknown outside of BC maritime history.
  • Many locations in the PNW still bear names from the Barkleys: such as Barkley Sound, Trevor Channel, Cape Beal, Loudoun Channel, and Imperial Eagle Channel.

Cathy Converse is an award-winning author and historian whose career has spanned more than thirty years. She is the author of Following the Curve of Time: The Untold Story of Capi Blanchet and Against the Current: The Remarkable Life of Agnes Deans Cameron. For more information, please visit  cathyconverse.com.

Media + Publicity Plans

  • Regional, and subject-specific print, online, and broadcast media pitches: Canada’s History, Quill & Quire, Canadian Geographic, BC History, BC Studies, BC Magazine, Vancouver Sun, Victoria Times Colonist, BC BookWorld, 49th Shelf, CBC North by Northwest, CHEK TV, CTV Vancouver Island, The Tyee, Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News, Cascadia Magazine, Western Mariner Magazine, Alberni Valley News, West Isle News, etc.
  • Advertising in BC BookWorld, BC Studies, BC History, Canada’s History, and more.
  • Award submissions to relevant historical and literary prizes, such as BC & Yukon Book Prizes, BC Historical Federation, Canadian Historical Association, Victoria Book Prizes, Governor General’s Literary Award, and more.
  • Outreach to relevant historical and literary organizations and regional groups, such as Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, Maritime Museum of BC, Port Alberni Maritime Heritage Society, Vancouver Maritime Museum, and BC Genealogical Society, etc.
  • Pitch to relevant literary festivals, such as Victoria Author Festival, Sidney LitFest, Denman Island Literary Festival, Paper Covers Rock - Salt Spring Island Literary Festival, and Words on the Water (Campbell River).  
  • Excerpts planned for Victoria Times Colonist and SOAR Magazine.
  • Confirmed launch event to be held at the Maritime Museum of BC in Victoria.
  • Electronic ARCs.

For more information contact
[email protected]

"Award-winning BC writer Cathy Converse provides a brisk, engaging and informative account of [Barkley's] life in Frances Barkley: Eighteenth-century Seafarer . . . Highly recommended."
Vancouver Sun

“With a careful blend of researched fact and fiction, Cathy Converse brings Frances Barkley's epic eight-year global sea adventure to life. A compelling story of love, determination, and adventure during a pivotal era of maritime exploration at the dawn of globalization.”
—Stephen R. Bown, award-winning author of The Company: The Rise and Fall of the Hudson’s Bay Empire

“A rollicking true tale of love and the sea told without bravado by a most remarkable woman. Just as Frances Barkley wrote that she "never tired of being out of sight of land," the reader will never tire of her account of life aboard, piracy, the fur trade, mutiny, and exploring foreign countries.”
—R. Bruce Macdonald, author of Never Say P*g: The Book of Sailors' Superstitions and Sisters of the Ice: The True Story of How St. Roch and North Star of Herschel Island Protected Canadian Arctic Sovereignty

“The story of this astonishing woman is brought to life and given colour so that she is no longer a footnote to BC’s history. The sweeping dimension of her accomplishments makes this book engrossing and engaging. A welcome addition to the rich history of our nautical heritage.”
—John M. MacFarlane, FRGS, curator of the Nauticapedia Project and curator emeritus of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia

“A richly imagined re-telling of one woman’s glorious maritime odyssey around the world. Based on scrupulous research, the author conjures up Frances Barkley’s hazardous voyages with her fur-trader husband and young children to far flung destinations including the west coast of Canada, Alaska, China, India, and Siberia.”
—Joanna Kafarowski, author of The Polar Adventures of a Rich American Dame: A Life of Louise Arner Boyd

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