While it's a noticeable improvement over my last attempt at reading a book about female travelers, No Place for a Lady still wasn't what I was hoping for.

My main disappointment was the book's superficial feel. Some of that likely has to do with its location-based organization, which turns the lives of the women included into anecdotes about their destinations. But it's probably also related to the flat, inconsistent writing. There's a lot of information, unfortunately the book is often more focused on itineraries and occasional wacky experiences than the overall lives of these women and their place in society. Transitions between paragraphs about various travelers are abrupt or awkward. Several women appear in multiple chapters, and the author has a habit of referring back (or sometimes forward!) to them without enough of a memory jog.

I came across a few details that don't match up with my earlier reading, which always makes me a little sketchy about trusting a book. It was especially uncomfortable to read a few breezy lines about the unmasking of cross-dressing botanist's assistant Jeanne Baret, considering that a more recent biography of Baret claims she was brutally assaulted by her shipmates.

The book includes a lot of maps and illustrations, which I enjoyed, but the placement of the images, captions, and sidebars sometimes tended to interrupt the flow of my reading.

I think I'd have preferred a longer book that, rather than giving brief sketches of so many women, went more into detail about fewer of them and drew deeper conclusions about their lives and influence. I'd recommend this for people interested in a light overview and some fun stories, but look elsewhere for a meatier experience.