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Chasing the Light

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3.96  ·  Rating details ·  264 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
It's the early 1930s. Antarctic open sea whaling is booking and a territorial race for the mysterious continent is in full swing.

Aboard a ship setting sail from Cape Town carrying the Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen are three women: Lillemor Rachlew, who tricked her way on to the ship and will stop at nothing to be the first woman to land on Antarctica; Mathilde
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Paperback, 431 pages
Published February 1st 2013 by HarperCollins Australia
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Carolyn
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating fictional account of the first women to visit Antarctica. Long denied inclusion in male dominated excursions to the North and South Poles women eventually ventured to Anctarctica as passengers on the Norwegian whaling fleet. In this account, Jesse Blackadder imagines what it must have been like to be a young woman on such a journey. In her appendix, Blackadder relates what is known of the women, Ingrid Christensen wife of whaling king Lars Christensen and her female compan ...more
Jennifer Mangler
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Others who wrote reviews of this book seem to adore it. I did not. It bothered me quite a lot to get to the end and to find two of the driving forces behind Lars and Ingrid's actions in the book were completely fictional. I get this is a fictional account, but completely fabricating their motivations is a bridge too far for me. Also, I had serious issues with how awful the women were to each other. It really reinforces the stereotype that women don't get along, that they don't support each other ...more
Kate Forsyth
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, aww2013
This is the most beautiful, haunting novel about the first women in Antarctica - I'd really recommend it to anyone who loves books about forgotten women in history (in fact, I'd recommend it to anyone who loves historical fiction.)
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘But all explorations were funded by something, Lars had told her more than once.’

Ingrid Christensen has waited for twenty years for her husband Lars to meet his promise to take her to Antarctica. Twenty years, during which Ingrid has given birth to six children and Lars has built a whaling empire. In 1931, subject to conditions, Lars agrees to take Ingrid with him when he sails to the Southern Ocean as part of his whaling business. A landing in Antarctica may be possible. One of Lars's conditio
...more
Max Coggan
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent novel of historical fiction. 1930’s.... funded explorations of the
Antarctica..... life in Norway and powerful men ..... motivated women who
want to achieve ........ the blood and guts of the whaling industry .......
and the power of large companies.
Ruth Bonetti
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
In the 1930's, three women are determined to travel to the Antarctic, hoping to be the 'first woman' to set foot there. Two employ whatever wiles they can to board the expedition, the third is an unwilling companion. The opening chapters introduce us to these women, after a preface by another and a chapter about one who was denied the opportunity to travel south. Consequently, it took me a while to become absorbed in the book, and to differentiate the five women.

Once aboard, their personalities
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Hazel Edwards
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: antarctica
Collecting books on Antarctica is my hobby. Have just finished 'Chasing the Light'.I thought it the most enjoyable faction read about Antarctica or elsewhere. Technically beautifully crafted via the varied women's viewpoints, motives and historic setting. Quality characterisation and I'd be delighted to recommend it for those attempting new techniques for writing about historical settings in my 'Writing Non Boring Family History' workshops. But also the mystique of Antarctica was captured in the ...more
Jane Massingham
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
After a visit from Jesse to my children's school to talk about Antarctica, I was compelled to buy her book Chasing the Light. Jesse has a way of engaging all ages into her story and knowing this was inspired by strong women in history made me want to read it (along with the fact that I loved Raven's Heart). Again, it wasn't bogged down in historical facts, but had enough to "furnish" the story well. Love the story and felt that I was actually there feeling the cold, the storms, the rocking of th ...more
Jennie Diplock-Storer
May 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wonderful, unputdownable book, a novel based on fact. The story of 3 women, in the 1930's, who, for different reasons, travel to Antartica, hoping to be the first female to put a foot on this new continent.
These women have very different lives, stories & personalities. The dynamics they bring to a male environment of whaling ships & their crews is variable.
In some way, each woman is changed dramatically by this journey.
The biographical portraits are featured at the end of the book.
I
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Karen ⊰✿
Apr 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very well written historical fiction based on the little-known landing of the first woman on Antarctica. It depicts the brutality of Antarctica, and the whaling practices of the 1930s while still drawing you in with strong characters and a unique story.
Beaulah Pragg
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Chasing the Light: A Novel of Antarctica, by Jesse Blackadder, admittedly spent most of its time in Norway and at sea, but I loved the opportunity to explore the world of 1930's Norwegian exploration (and whaling) through the eyes of three unusual Norwegian women caught up in the race to be the first woman to set foot on Antarctica.

One of the women, Ingrid Christensen (the wife of Norwegian whaling magnate Lars Christensen) ended up with a whole coast of Antarctica named after her - but would yo
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Teagan
Apr 03, 2018 rated it liked it
An inspiring read about the first women to see/land or step on Antarctica as well as the horrors of the whaling industry.

As a lover of historical fiction I did like that this story was loosely based on true events, however, I was glad that the author outlined at the end what the facts verses the fiction were. It was a little disheartening that the story told was actually mish mash of four different journeys made, but good to know nonetheless. I also enjoyed the mention of Australian explorers a
...more
Mary
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I give this a 3.5 stars. I have never done much reading about antarctica, nor those explorers who went to the poles, with the exception of Ernest Shackleton. I had also not read about whaling and the details of what goes on in this industry. With women coming more and more to the forefront of being business owners, movie producers, etc., I thought it would be fun to learn about the first women to set foot on Antarctica. It was well written and I liked the way the "afterword" of the book told in ...more
Dianne Maguire
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jesse Blackadder's 'Sixty Seconds' captured me from the first paragraph, so I was automatically drawn to 'Chasing the Light' and although the story did not wrap itself around me as 'Sixty Seconds' had, I was not disappointed.
Jesse Blackadder's way with words, her heartfelt prose and her intelligence which shines through her stories to simultaneously dig at the heart and entertain make her one of my favourite authors of this time. Keep writing Jesse!
Alicecake
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An unexpected pleasure

This is a story of 3 largely fictionalized, though real women who traveled to Antartica. Enough of the story is factual to make it a worthy read for non-fiction lovers. The adventure drew me in by the end of the first chapter. The story has everything; romance without being sappy, sex without being too graphic, well developed characters, suspense, and intrigue.
Barbara Auty
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exciting fictional tale of a true event.

I enjoyed reading this account of this unique journey to the Antarctic. The description of the whaling industry while gruesome, was enlightening. So many lives depended on it. It was particularly interesting to see how the whole experience changed the lives of the characters in the book. I The afterward was very much appreciated.
Patti
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the relationship between the three women, each embarking on the journey of a lifetime, bringing their own emotional baggage. I love books with great descriptive writing and this one delivers.
Julie Myers
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought it was a romance novel

I enjoyed the book. A good fictional history story with in-depth characters. I did not enjoy the many love along scenes or their time of the month, on the rag descriptions. Also an author can use some other adjective besides the F..k word.
Ruth Reid
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Awesome book with a good insight into the whaling industry. Thoroughly enjoyed this book based in Antarctica
THE BOOK SHUTTLE Children's Online Bookstore
During the 1930′s the isolated waters of Antarctica had become a place of intrigue for explorers, and a huge killing field for the whaling industry. Many had made the trip to this mysterious part of the world before the 1930′s but it took some strong and adventurous women to be the first to travel to Antarctica.

Jesse Blackadder has combined historical facts and true people with fiction to create a most wonderful novel. It starts with the character Ingrid Christensen, a Norwegian woman married to
...more
Jane
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2013
I read everything I could get my hands on about Antarctica when I was younger, I was fascinated with what is now known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. I read the accounts of Shackleton's expeditions and of Scott's who trudged his way to the South Pole only to be pipped at the post by Amundsen the Norwegian, (who in the eyes of the British had 'cheated' by using dogs and sleds to get there) and also of the terrible ordeal that the Australian explorer, Mawson endured as the only surviv ...more
Lauren Chater
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was seriously one of the best books I have read in a long time...

A wonderfully reimagining of the race to become the first woman to set foot on Antarctica, Chasing The Light is exquisitely written with characters who are so complex and well-drawn you won't want to give them up at the end of the novel!

I suppose I am still on a high because I just finished this; I'm still imagining myself in Antarctica, although I would probably be one of those women in the saloon drinking coffee that Jesse B
...more
Robyn Mundy
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
My favourite moment of Chasing The Light was Ingrid Christensen's interaction with a blue whale, observed by explorer Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen. "'I'd give up some of my greatest discoveries for what you just had,' he said, his voice low" (p. 290). I found Antarctica's 1930s whaling world both gruesome and compelling, one that offered an alternate vision to the era of Antarctic exporation. The vexed relationships between the three 'first women' bound for Antarctica injected tension and drama through ...more
Justine McClymont
Oct 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have just put down Jesse Blackadder's Chasing the Light and feel like I've been on an amazing adventure. I was totally captured by the story of the race to the deep waters of the Antarctic. From the moment Ingrid, Mathilde and Lillemore stepped onto the ship, I felt like I was there with them sailing south into the unknown.

Chasing the Light explores longings, fears, desires and obsessions within the smothering confines of a ship sailing through the elements into an unknown land.

The complexitie
...more
Amanda
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another title for my AWW commitment and one I enjoyed very much. Blackadder has taken the characters around the landing of the first women in Antarctica and woven them into a imaginative and credible story, rich in detail and with a strong sense of place. The descriptions of the voyage and the icebergs were vivid and truly evocative. Her character development is superb, especially that of the women, who truly come across as complex and multidimensional.
I'd never even given any thought to this to
...more
Irene Waters
Jun 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
My choice for book club - it was highly rated.

Highly recommended. It starts off in Scandinavia and London setting the lives of three very different women who become travel companions on a trip to Antarctica - the first women to go. How their personalities play out in the confines of the ship, the wonderful description of the landscape (I have been to Greenland and tried in vain to describe the icebergs however, the author, Jesse Blackadder does it superbly. You are drawn in and suddenly you real
...more
Nike Sulway
I love the material this book draws on. The story of the first women to travel to Antarctica, the last days of the whale hunting industry, and the romantic adventurousness, particularly of women, of the period are all really fascinating.

Reading this book made me curious about the real people whose adventures inspired it, including Lillemor Rachlew, Ingrid Christensen and Mathilde Wegger, and the conditions under which they travelled. I can't wait to find a copy of the essay Jesse Blackadder wrot
...more
Ulla
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, historical
I thought the start was a bit slow and I didn't get why these three women should be mixed up in the story, but everything became clear very soon!They have all actually been to Antraktis and they way this trip changed at least two of them was wonderful.

The beauty of this novel are the descriptions of the ice, the water, the light or lack of it, the penguins and the whales. I honestly feel I've been there myself now; everything became so alive!

Jesse Blackadder deserves big cheers for writing the n
...more
Mary-lou
Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I went to the Albury 'write around the Murray' writers festival and heard Jesse Blackadder speak and this inspired me to buy this book. It is historical fiction but the sort that I love whereby in an afterword the author shares the accurate history with you ( as far as that can be done any way). The book was brilliant, helped I suppose by the fact that I always love stories about Antarctica. I've read it very spare moment I've been able to make in the last 48 hours. Can't wait to order and read ...more
Anne Hayes
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written and a gripping read. I hesitated when this book crossed my path as its not my usual genre, however with an impending trip to Antarctica, wanted to experience it though the eyes of someone who has been there. I went so far as to undertake some research into the life of Ingrid Christensen after finishing the book. The insight into the roots of the Norwegian whaling industry was both disturbing and enlightening. It has no place in the modern economy. Great job Jesse Blackadder.
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Buy this book in US? 2 9 Mar 21, 2013 09:17PM  
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68 followers
Yes, in case you're wondering, Jesse Blackadder really was born with that surname. She is fascinated by landscapes, adventurous women and very cold places.

Jesse's latest novel Sixty Seconds was published on 18 September 2017.

Her first novel After the Party made the Australian Book Review list of favourite Australian novels in 2010. The Raven’s Heart won the Varuna HarperCollins Manuscript Develop
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