Rare Vintage 1930s Nautical Romance Fiction - Pleasure Boat by Karl Ashton circa 1935
The Sultan lay in her berth alongside pier N like a huge leashed greyhound...
Technically this vintage 1930s fiction book encompasses many genres - nautical fiction, romance, medical fiction, and a little bit of mystery thrown in. Published in 1935 by Karl Ashton, a ship doctor turned author, Pleasure Boat follows the escapades of guests on board a luxury cruise liner enroute from New York to Havana.
Referred to as a summer beach read by critics when it debuted in 1935, it's a fast-paced story full of interesting, characters and unexpected events. It begins in New York City's Central Park with Fay Scott contemplating her rootless career as a cruise ship nurse the day before she heads out to Havana on the S.S. Sultan. In the park, Fay gets followed by a purse snatcher but avoids trouble when a clergyman steps in to protect her. From there the characters unfold one by one - the set of friends - bright young 20-somethings living the party life, the ship's doctor, a con-man name Rags and others, At times sensational like a pulp fiction novel, there is also plenty of poetic imagery here too and Karl sweeps reader's along a course of discovery.
Aesthetically speaking this book is visually engaging too. From its bright orange coverboards to the pretty porthole portrait of a glamorous beauty on the front, to the heavily foxed interior pages and the art deco font on the spine, it's a book that looks every bit 1930s. Also on the back inside cover, there is a pasted-in piece of paper detailing notes from a book club and who was reading this book when.
There is not much written about Karl Ashton in the way of biography - only to say that he wrote two other books in addition to this one - Illegal Doctor and Illegal Nurse - both of which dealt with subjects of abortion and prochoice sympathies - popular topics in fiction in the 1930s.
A pretty piece of decor for your sea cottage, an engaging book to tote along to the beach, and a fun addition to the vintage book collector's library, Pleasure Boat is a rare piece of American fiction.
- Published in 1935, unstated but assumed first edition published by Godwin Publishers
- 277 pages
- Rare Book
In good vintage condition, this book contains lots of foxing, but none too dark where it interferes with reading the text. It looks like one of the title pages was ripped from the beginning of the book or possibly an illustration page. The back endpaper bears a pasted-in piece of paper detailing book club members and dates. The front coverboard bears a very faint water ring which can only be seen when held at an angle toward a light source. Please see photos.
Measures 7.5" inches (length) x 5.5 inches (width) x 1.5" inches (thickness) and weighs 1lb