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A Respectable Trade

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It’s the middle of the night,’ the boy protested and then stopped when he saw Mehuru’s look. ‘Yes, master.’ So I gave myself until the end of this month to finish this and Lord have mercy I was actually able to finish but reading this book was HARD WORK. I don't know if I'll ever read another Philippa Gregory book and if I do it'll only be because I want to see if it's just as poorly written as A Respectable Trade.

A Respectable Trade by Gregory Philippa - AbeBooks A Respectable Trade by Gregory Philippa - AbeBooks

The devastating consequences of the slave trade in 18th century Bristol are explored through the powerful but impossible attraction of well-born Frances and her Yoruban slave, Mehuru.

In four part period BBC drama A Respectable Trade, adapted by Philippa Gregory from her own novel, it is 1788 in Bristol where governess Frances Scott (Emma Fielding) finds her life undergoing a dramatic change when she marries ambitious ship owning slave trader Josiah Cole (Warren Clarke).

A Respectable Trade by Philippa Gregory | Goodreads

He called quietly for his slave boy, Siko, who slept at the foot of his bed. ‘Make tea,’ he said shortly as the boy appeared, rubbing his eyes.Philippa Gregory is an established writer and broadcaster for radio and television. She went to school in Bristol, has a history degree from the University of Sussex and a PhD in Eighteenth-century literature from the University of Edinburgh. She has been widely praised for her historical novels, as well as for her works of contemporary suspense. The Other Boleyn Girl has been adapted for BBC television and is now a major film, starring Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Eric Bana. Philippa Gregory lives in the North of England with her family. It was a life that turned in tune with the earth, that followed the rains, that chimed with the seasons. It was as alien to slavery as a silver-winged flight of cattle egrets to a moulting hen in a coop."

Philippa Gregory - Official Website

Admittedly, I was most interested in what was happening whenever Josiah was interacting with the Merchant Venturers, or even when Frances was "entertaining" because I'm just fascinated by the social norms of this time period but I agree with a lot of readers who said that the book could've done without the romance. It absolutely could've. It made me despise Frances and made me incredibly irritated with Mehuru. To the point that the ending was kind of a relief for me. Because it meant that Frances couldn't treat Mehuru like shit anymore, nor continue to take him for granted. As to Settlements and Dowry – these certainly should be Arranged between his lordship and myself – but may I Assure you that you will find me Generous if you are Kind enough to look on my Proposal with favour.Spoilers: I felt like Frances and Mehru falling in love was entirely unrealistic. It was apparently love at first sight, which is completely implausible. Frances was accustomed to slaves and was only slightly upset when two of them died, yet managed to fall in love with one? Mehru, a leader in his own country, managed to fall in love with the women who owned him, permitted him to be whipped, and eventually agrees to sell him. Only made it through 60 percent of the book because I found that match so unbelievable. It was not at all well developed, just seemed to appear. A Respectable Trade is not what you expect from Philippa Gregory, but I think it showcases her talents and abilities a lot better than her more recent poolside-type historical fiction (based on the one Tudor book I’ve read). Writer: Philippa Gregory (from her novel) / Music: Julian Nott / Costume Design: Frances Tempest / Production Design: Anthony Ainsworth / Producer: Ruth Baumgarten / Executive Producers: Kevin Menton, Nigel Warren-Green, Ruth Caleb, Michael Wearing / Director: Suri Krishnamma

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