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The Curve of Time: The Classic Memoir of a Woman and Her Children Who Explored the Coastal Waters of the Pacific Northwest
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The Curve of Time: The Classic Memoir of a Woman and Her Children Who Explored the Coastal Waters of the Pacific Northwest

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  646 ratings  ·  117 reviews
After her husband died in 1927, leaving her with five small children, everyone expected the struggles of single motherhood on a remote island to overcome M. Wylie Blanchet. Instead, this courageous woman became one of the pioneers of “family travel,” acting as both mother and captain of the twenty-five-foot boat that became her family’s home during the long Northwest summe ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published March 18th 2002 by Seal Press (first published 1961)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,689)
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John Howell
A bit of history, a bit of philosophy, a bit of adventure.

This book was highly recommended to me by a friend who has cruised the Inside Passage and explored the islets of British Columbia and Alaska for the past 15 years. Many beautiful places are vividly described by Ms.'Capi' Blanchet. The lasting impression is the feeling of having spent time as a companion to the author and her children as they experience the adventure of travel and exploration as they cruise far from home in their small boa
I really, really wanted to like this book more. The title is so alluring, and the fact that it's a memoir about a widowed woman and her five children sailing alone over a series of summers in British Columbia in the late 1920s-early 1930s is fascinating. The book leaves an impression of place and time and wonder, and it's rich with the geography, anthropology, and natural history of the Pacific Northwest. But it's a bit dense and so...impersonal! I remember thinking halfway through the book that ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I do so wish I had written a review of this after I read it. I'll have to get it from the library again someday.

I loved this part about the "Little House" they lived in:

"When we first lived there, the big firs and balsams grew very close to the house. So close that they could lean across and whisper to each other at night. Sometimes they would keep you awake and you would forget and say sharply, 'Hush, trees, go to sleep!' At first there would be an astonished silence...then a rush of low laug
Deb Walsh - Ladies Summer Reading Tea - exploring the coastal waters of the NW - a memoir - mother of 5, widowed in the 1920's - inspiring story of motherhood.
My take - These are wonderful tales of enjoying the simple things/appreciating nature - exploring islands, beaches, winter Indian villages, meeting people who lived out in the middle of nowhere - meanwhile having amazing adventures - some scary, some simply beautiful. This woman is an amazing writer and must have been an amazing mother - s
A single mother with three children boating in British Columbia's Inside Passage in the 1920's and 1930's. Episodes and experiences from their travels.

This little book is a microcosm-the little episodes inform us about relationships-with family, nature, technology (the boat), other people, past experience and the spiritual world. All in plain stores simply written. I can't recommend it enough.
Mary Crabtree
You do not have to be nautically inclined to appreciate the true story of M. Wylie Blanchet and how she set off every summer with her dog and her five children on a 26 foot motor boat in the 30's. This is a book I will read again and again. Her bravery and sense of adventure is completely inspiring. It reads like a diary so you truly feel like you are along for the ride!
These stories are remarkable. Blanchet was widowed in her thirties when her husband took their boat out and never returned; they were able to recover the boat but not his body. She and their five children embraced the boat anyway and took to it every summer, exploring the Pacific Northwest coast alone. Blanchet is given to casual statements like, "The kids and I didn't mention that we were about to scale 2500 feet to reach the blueberry patch because we didn't want [well-meaning male homesteader ...more
Howard Cincotta
This is an obscure but wonderful book by a woman who, after becoming a widow in 1927, sailed the coast of British Columbia each summer with her five children in a 25-foot boat. (The husband and father is never mentioned but his loss is palpable.)

The family explores a landscape that was still a frontier wilderness in many ways, and Blanchet tells tales of storms and tides, wildlife, sailors, loggers, and settlers in plain but vivid prose.

This is a great book for anyone interested in the regional
An utterly fantastic read. Generally this type of journal is more a description of the places the author is visiting but through Blanchet’s inquisitive, keen, and philosophical eye it becomes so much more. It transcends both time and place and becomes a good testament on how to live in and be apart of this world. Now I wanna buy a boat and roam the Canadian waters.

Side note, it also manages to create it’s own mythology which was a fantastic surprise.
Great book! Wylie Blanchet is a powerful story teller. Her passion for coastal B.C. waterways and history comes through clearly. The adventures she shared with her children were mesmerizing and sometimes thrilling. They travelled during a time when there were many risks and few ways to get help. Reading this while planning a trip to the area made it even more special.
Aug 19, 2012 Marta rated it 5 of 5 stars
Read this in 2007. Last year we cruised the same waters. I want to re read this incredible account of a brave, strong and adventuresome woman
I love this book. It has inspired me, not to sail with my kids, but to face hard times with courage and imagination.
this book brought me back to what i cherish in life, and inspired me to make more time for living that way.
The author is a widow who takes her five children exploring in a 25-foot boat each summer along the wilderness coast of British Columbia in the 1930s. It's beautifully written - a loosely threaded set of themed vignettes that tell of adventure and discovery along the coast that is pocketed with places to explore. I was continuously reminded of how remote the Native American villages and logging posts were in the early part of the century, and enjoyed meeting the characters she and her family vis ...more
Steven Langdon
This summer is the twelfth season that we have headed off in our 26 foot boat with our two daughters -- down the Rideau canal and the lakes it includes to the broad St. Lawrence with its islands and its shoals. It was a special joy this time to read Wylie Blanchet's beautiful book as part of the voyage.

Her book is about the more challenging sailing that she and her children did in the seas between Vancouver Island and the B.C. Coast over 75 years ago. A vivid yet reflective book, it catches the
Muriel Wylie, who in l927 was left a widow with five children, packed them aboard a 25 foot boat and cruised the coastal waters between Vancouver Island the mainland for a number of summers. They went wherever they felt like going, exploring bays and inlets, often camping ashore. There is no chronological narrative, and the reader is left in almost a dreamlike state in following the adventures of Wylie and her five children.

The title is explained at the first of the book. On board they had a bo
This is a remembrance from the 1950s (I think) about a woman bringing five children up alone: really alone -- in the winter, they lived in a house in the woods with the nearest neighbor at least a mile away, and had school at home. In the summer, they piloted a 25-foot boat among the bays and islands of British Columbia, again rarely seeing other people. Muriel Blanchet did everything from chopping firewood to repairing boat motors; she had no choice. She doesn't spend much time writing about fa ...more
Wendy Feltham
This is a fun book to read if you live in the Pacific Northwest. It's an unusual story of a woman whose husband dies while out on their 25' motorboat in the 1930s, so she then takes her five kids and dog exploring on the same boat every summer for 15 years. The author's descriptions of serene and magnificent coves and pristine beaches makes you wish you could be traveling with her back then along Vancouver Island. Her accounts of the characters she meets in remote coves are hilarious, and she te ...more
Feb 28, 2008 Julie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: cruisers, mothers, independent women
Shelves: bios-memoirs
We will use this book on our boat as a travel guide, hoping to travel in some of the same Northwest waterways as Muriel and her five (!) children did aboard their 25 foot motor boat, "Caprice" 75 years ago. As she tears into her engine, comforts her alarmed children with the charmingly old-fashioned saying, "oh you're being sillies" or deals with cougars and bears, she endears and garners admiration.

The book construction is not strictly linear, as children are older or younger, all there or dow
If I could, I would give this memoir both three stars and five. Five for the wanderlust it inspires and the loving descriptions of the Canadian Pacific Northwest. While I read it, I wanted nothing so much as to learn how to sail, then take off from Seattle up into the San Juans and the inside passage of Vancouver Island for the entire summer. How glorious and wonderful it sounds, exploring remote inlets and islands and coves by boat. The quiet adventure of it all, completely surrounded by contem ...more
If you were widowed with five young children, of course you'd spend summers exploring the Inside Passage and the BC coast with them in a 25-foot boat. Bears, cougars, orcas, storms, reefs, rock slides, crazy woodsmen, and unreliable food and water—what better environment to raise a child? (And this in the '20s, when radio wasn't available there, let alone cell phones and GPS.)

There's not really any continuous story here, but every scene and event is so beautifully and unpretentiously told that y
Jacqueline Worboys
A young widow, M. Wylie Blanchett, living at Curteis Point in Victoria, BC, in the late twenties and early thirties, raised her five children alone after her husband's untimely death. Her plan? Home schooling in the winter, and four months each summer sailing her 27 foot boat, the Caprice, up and down Georgia Strait, putting in at all sorts of interesting stops, This amazing account of fifteen years of her adventures is a very worthwhile read. I understand that many sailors keep her book on boar ...more
Skimming through my GR books, those previously tagged as published in the 1960s, saw this and thought, could this be considered classic?** Checked genres as displayed on monitor, those listed by other readers, and saw some "classics" ... And remembered, when, just a few weeks ago, chatting with one of the old timers in the library, being asked with enthusiasm if I'd ever read Blanchet. Indeed, yes, was impressed and curious to know more about her boat life. (In my fantasy world, the coast of Bri ...more
Jul 10, 2015 Ursula rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: West Coast Sailors
Recommended to Ursula by: West Coast Sailors
It is an unusual premise: a widow, five children (and sometimes a dog) on a 26 foot boat, travelling several long summers around the waters between Canada's mainland and Vancouver Island.

One reviewer has commented that the book is a little impersonal - and it is: neither the personalities of the writer, or her children come through, and the actual "story" of their lives is not present. I would have liked a bit more personal background, but the real "character" here is the landscape; the moody at
Brock Wilson
I really wanted to like this book more than I actually did. My main complaints are that there are a few too many details for someone who isn't boating the waters of 1930s British Columbia, the writing is a bit forced at times, and that the book doesn't always flow from chapter to chapter. Maybe I'm being harsh, considering that a genre probably didn't exist for this sort of book in 1961, so M. Wylie Blanchet didn't really have much of a foundation to build on.

The parts of the book that do work w
Jennifer Lowry
It is a book of visualization. I have sailed down the straights and narrows that are mentioned in the book. I could literally see, smell and taste the landscape from her descriptions. The over all story is choppy but the way she weaves the story. The story was a bit haunting and mysterious. I enjoyed it.
Nice little memoir of summertime boating on the Salish Sea in the 20s and 30s from a doughty mom with five kids.
Having sailed and explored a small portion of the BC coast, I can attest to the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and her descriptions are spot on. I admire the author, a single mother of 5 children and taking them during the summer months to sail the BC coast. Despite that, I found it just an OK read.
The book is a series of short stories and it took me part way through that they comprise only a few summers and with only 3 younger children out of the 5 children involved. It was more where they we
Mallee Stanley
I'm not a big non-fiction fan, but I wanted to go back in time and experience the wanderings of this family as they spent their summers cruising on their small boat between the Straight of Georgia to Queen Charlotte Sound. Definitely a B.C. classic.
What a lovely and charming book that of course made me dream of carefree adventures of my own! It seems appropriate that I finished this book while in my tent this weekend, in a campground overlooking the Salish Sea.
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M. Wylie Blanchet, née Muriel Wylie Liffiton (2 May 1891 - 9 September 1961) was a Canadian travel writer.
Born in Montreal, Quebec, and married Geoffrey Orme Blanchet on 30 May 1909. Following her husband's death in 1926, Blanchet embarked on annual summer cruises along the British Columbia coast with her five children. Her 1961 book, The Curve of Time, documented these travels.

She died in 1961 w
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