Mrs Cook

Day, Marele

  2 Reviews

Elizabeth Batts was married to Captain James Cook for 14 years with only an estimated four of those years spent together. Day uses a mix of research and documents, poetic licence and imagination to suggest what Elizabeth's life might have been during James's voyages, and then following his death. Her life is one of courage, hardship and survival.

Comments from Groups

We all loved it, learnt a lot and thought she was a wonderful woman ( as imagined by the author). Well written, too. Auckland 009

We felt there was no depth to the character of Mrs Cook, but it was an interesting reflection of the times and lives of the women at home, while the men were away at sea. The imagery was great, and the descriptions of the lonely life Mrs Cook led, were well written. She was portrayed as an educated, intelligent person. Carterton 001

We enjoyed reading 'Mrs Cook', as a portrait of the woman behind the famous man. It was difficult to separate fact from fiction in some parts, and this was obvious during the discussion. All the group found it rather lengthy. Matamata 001

We all read it, and found it an easy, pleasant read although some found it a bit sentimental. Upper Hutt 003

The group was unanimous in having enjoyed this book. A (mostly) authentic depiction of the various 'classes of society" in the mid-eighteenth century. We had a good discussion about what became of loyal and long-serving domestic staff when they could no longer carry out their duties, or were no longer needed!... Lower Hutt 006

A mixed reaction to this book. Most didn't like the licence taken in describing the feelings of the couple, and the fact that the events were spelt out at the start. Several members loved the book however, and liked the way it highlighted the sort of life (fraught with loneliness, longing and uncertainty) that 'sea-wives' had to endure...Hamilton 003



Most of us found the book boring and uninteresting. We felt that Mrs C's life could have been fleshed out a lot more, especially considering the number of years she spent on her own. In spite of there being nothing written about her life, we did wonder if she really did lead a solitary existence, as depicted in the book. Our discussion revolved around partners who travel a great deal, for long periods at a time and how everyone copes when they come back into the family fold.
CHCH 238
An interesting read but a little long-winded at times.