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Archive for Sunday, August 5, 2001

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August 5, 2001

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Daughters of Britannia

Katie Hickman

The life of a British diplomat's wife was not always one of luxury, full of elaborate balls and tea and crumpets. In fact, as Katie Hickman illustrates in "Daughters of Britannia" (Morrow, 300 pages, $25), the realities over the years have included sewing shirts for shipwrecked sailors, saving friends from vicious snake bites and waiting out the ordeal of a kidnapped spouse.

Hickman, the daughter of an ambassador, uses letters, diaries and memoirs to document the female side of four centuries of British foreign service. Instead of telling her story chronologically or focusing on a few women, Hickman divides her book into chapters with broad subjects.

While this allows her to incorporate material from more than 100 women, it can be confusing and necessitates flipping to a list she wisely has included of the women and the dates they spent in certain countries.

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