In the 1920s three adventurous and determined British women missionaries traveled along the traces of China’s old Silk Road to “gossip the Gospel” in the Muslim regions of northwestern China. But as this ground-breaking biography of Mildred Cable and the sisters Eva and Francesca French illustrates, their mission service was only one aspect of these three unconventional women’s lives. As members of the China Inland Mission, they advocated equality for women in mission service; in their varied writings they denounced the British opium trade; and on home leaves they wrote and published books that, in their lifetimes, brought them wide acclaim as adventurous travelers, authors and popular public speakers. Ultimately, the collaboration between Francesca French and Mildred Cable produced over 20 books, including Mildred Cable’s renowned travel classic, The Gobi Desert.
In this detailed and carefully researched account, Linda Benson reveals three extraordinary lives and provides new insight into role of European women in the China mission field, the impact of warlord politics in Gansu and Xinjiang, and the lives of Muslim women in the far northwest.