A Respectable Trade Paperback – 2007
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
From Publishers Weekly
This moral spellbinder, set in Bristol, England, in the slave-trading 1780s, is being freshly issued a decade after publication Although the sentences are not as fine as in Gregory's current work (The Other Boleyn Girl etc.), and the plot takes some awkward leaps, the book brilliantly shocks the conscience with its intimate and unsparing portrait of slavery. It's a romance, but not a sentimental one, built around the impossible love between white slave owner Frances Scott Cole and the black African Mehuru, a priest and adviser to his king before being kidnapped and designated as property. A strength of the book is that although Gregory, as usual, makes us feel the second-class status of 18th century women, she draws no cheap comparison between Frances's status as silk-clad chattel (to her gaspingly ambitious slave-trader husband, Josiah's) and the rigors and terrors of a black slave's life. Superb portraits abound, especially that of Josiah's sister, Sarah, a cranky spinster who makes poetry of her pride in being a member of the trading class, eagle-eyed at the account books. Gregory's vivid portrait leaves one feeling complicit; as the abolitionist Doctor Hadley notes: "the cruelty we have learned will poison us forever."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"Philippa Gregory is a mesmerizing storyteller."
-- The Sunday Telegraph (London)
"When it comes to writers of historical fiction, Philippa Gregory is in the very top league."
-- Daily Mail (London)
"The great roar and sweep of history is successfully braided into the intimate daily detail of this compelling and intelligent book."
-- Penny Perrick, The Times (London) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
What she does not know is that her husband and his spinster sister, Sarah, trade in slaves, as well as other commodities. When a shipment of slaves comes in, Frances is expected to train the slaves to be servants that can then be sold to wealthy families. After all, having an African servant was all the rage in late eighteenth century England. Her instruction of her captives is a slow process, giving Frances an opportunity to get to know her slaves and the cruelties that have been inflicted upon them. She is, however, without resources to help them.
Along the way, she falls in love with Mehuru, her major domo, and he with her. Therein lies the rub. In eighteenth century England, it was unheard of for a lady of gentle breeding to do so, and Frances has not the strength to follow her heart. Meanwhile, her ambitious husband is oblivious to all that is going on in his household, and involves himself in one scheme after another, trusting on some new found friendships that are suspicious at best. When he finds that his "friends" have merely taken him for a ride, all hell breaks loose.
Much of the dialogue between Frances and Mehuru is pretty laughable, reading like a bad Harlequin romance. Their love affair simply does not ring true.Read more ›
Its consequences could be seen even today. This book lends a human dimension to this historical tragedy. We hear the slaves telling their stories around the kitchen table of their masters. We hear their cries, their laughter, their longing for their families and their homeland. The novel also shows the shallow thinking of those slave masters. Even the protagonist of the story, who is supposed to be a sympathetic figure, is superficial in her thinking and even hypocritical.
She wanted to have it all: wealth, status, and empty aristocratic titles. Then she sought love and lust from the very people she enslaved and stripped from basic human rights including the right to have non-English names; and she insisted on keeping them slaves up to the very end. The African man is a great personality. He shocked his masters with his intelligence and wisdom and the speed with which he excelled in their language.
He drew strength from the memories of his homeland. He drew warmth from the bright sun shining in the sky of his hometown while suffering the dark clouds of his new life.
Most recent customer reviews
This book, like many of Phillipa Gregory's books, is an excellent read; engrossing and interesting. I took this one on vacation to Barbados with me and was quite surprised when... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Susan Andrew