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Comment: Moderate wear on cover and edges. Minimal highlighting and/or other markings can be present. May be ex-library copy and may not include CD, Accessories and/or Dust Cover. Good readable copy.
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A Respectable Trade Paperback – 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Touchstone (2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743272544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743272544
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #252,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By lawyeraau TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 7 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an intriguing book by the author, with a story line that is simple enough. Frances Scott, an impoverished thirty-four year old, gently reared daughter of a cleric, is left to fend for herself by her dead father. Her uncle, Lord Scott, has been assisting her and has found her work as a governess, a job that she loathes. When an upstart tradesman, Josiah Cole, proposes matrimony, she jumps at the chance. It is a marriage of the utmost convenience.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book absolutely fascinating. As usual, Philippa Gregory gives us an extraordinarily realistic and unusual insight into an historical period. She makes us live an historical moment through the details of everyday life and everyday people. The plot is captivating, with a good portrait of characters and situations. The story is daring,very illuminating on a particular and tragic social phenomenon. Very original and revealing picture of a tragic time in our history.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of my favorite books. In addition to being an enjoable read,, one would learn well-researched historical facts about slave trade that deprived Africa of its sons and daughters of talents.
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.
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