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The Wake of the Lorelei Lee / by L.A. Meyer

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Title: The Wake of the Lorelei Lee: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, On Her Way to Botany Bay 
Author: L.A.Meyer
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 978-0547327686
Year: 2010

Concepts: entrepreneurship, rent, auctions, incentives, trade

Review: Fearless Jacky Faber, having recently purchased a gorgeous new ship she christened the Lorelei Lee, is prepared for another adventure, this time as a convict on the high seas en route to the penal colony of Australia.  Did she really deserve such a harsh sentence for having skimmed off just a little of the Spanish gold she had so bravely retrieved from the ocean bottom for the English Crown? Jacky certainly thought not, but the Crown believed otherwise and confiscated her ship and ordered Jacky to join more than two hundred other female prisoners to serve as breeders in New South Wales.

Ironically enough, the Crown contracted the Lorelei Lee to transport the female convicts to the penal colony, with Captain Laughton at the helm and in the luxurious captain’s cabin that Jacky had so carefully outfitted for herself. Captain Laughton was a sensible man who treated the prisoners well, knowing he would collect a substantial fee for each woman he delivered intact.  He also had a strong entrepreneurial streak and quickly set up a system of auctioning off the sleeping quarters, with the more pleasant spaces going for a premium. The women needed money for the auctions, so the prostitutes plied their trade whenever the ship pulled into port (with Captain Laughton requiring a direct cut of twenty percent).  Jacky, no slouch herself in the moneymaking department, had plenty of ideas for more wholesome ways of earning coins and staying comfortable at the same time.

Would they manage to travel safely through storms and pirate-infested waters to their intended destination? Based loosely on the actual voyage of the convict ship Lady Julianna that left England for New South Wales in 1789, this entertaining novel gives Jacky Faber fans another good reason to keep turning the pages. Neatly entwined in the plot are a series of economics ideas related to entrepreneurship, international trade, and financial incentives.  Numerous references to characters and events from earlier installments in the series make it more difficult for first-time readers to jump right in, but the action comes thick and fast enough for readers to catch on and enjoy Jacky’s new voyage into trouble.

Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children


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