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A Respectable Trade

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Christina
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A Respectable Trade

Post by Christina » Fri November 14th, 2008, 7:19 pm

I very much enjoyed both the book and the TV film of "A Respectable Trade" - which seems to be very rarely mentioned when speaking of Philippa Gregory books.
The story of the Bristol shipowner who deals in moving slaves from Africa to America, sometimes keeping them in his house while they await the next part of their horrific journey. He is married to a much younger woman - who was forced into the arrange marriage - who is initially unaware of his business...and eventually falls in love with one of the slaves. A really beautiful love story, but one which also highlights the horror of the slave trade...

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Post by annis » Sat November 15th, 2008, 7:17 am

This novel has actually been around quite a while- I read it when it came out in the early 1990s. It's been reissued in conjunction with PG's more recent Tudor successes.

The slave trade of the eighteenth century in England is not an area as well covered as that of the Americas, so it's an interesting subject.
I recall a sympathetic main female character, but the husband and his sister a pinched, joyless pair, especially the ghastly sister!

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Sat November 15th, 2008, 11:00 am

It's my favourite Gregory too, Christina. I think some forum members are not as keen on it because they know the history it covers and liberties have been taken, but I'm not up on this era or subject matter, so I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read. IMO it's her best novel.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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lindymc
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Post by lindymc » Sat November 15th, 2008, 12:52 pm

I find it especially gratifying to learn some new bit of history from a novel, and this novel introduced me to Bristol's role in the slave trade, and the anti-slave-trade movement. It sent me to the encyclopedia to learn more about William Wilburforce; and subsequently to rent the movie Amazing Grace about his struggle in Parliament to end the practice.
She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain. (1873) -- Louisa May Alcott

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princess garnet
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Post by princess garnet » Sat November 15th, 2008, 4:08 pm

The novel was adapted for PBS's "Masterpiece Theater" in 1998:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/arc ... 6/216.html
Includes episode description and cast.

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sat November 15th, 2008, 5:00 pm

I disliked this novel. The plot was a bit much.
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Christina
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Post by Christina » Sun November 16th, 2008, 11:23 pm

Divia, I am sorry you did not like this novel. I saw it as a TV drama before reading it and I found it both harrowing and fascinating. (Anna Massey as the nasty sister was perfect!) and Simon Williams (whom I adored from his days in Upstairs Downstairs and whom I once met in a shop and swooned over - LOL - was such a drippy cad in it that it was huge disappointment!). It was inspiring enough, though, to make me want to read the background to it and I know there were many inaccuracies but it raised questions for me about how, in the middle of the anti-slavery campaign, it still touched parts of England and our part in it.
If I may ask, what made you dislike it so much?

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Mon November 17th, 2008, 12:55 am

The relationship between white mistress and black slave. I've studied slavery in America for a few years now so I couldnt get past the whole forbidden love stuff.
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Volgadon
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Post by Volgadon » Mon November 17th, 2008, 11:50 am

The whole mistress falls in love with the slave bit is overdone, IMHO. There must be other plotlines.

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Mon November 17th, 2008, 12:09 pm

Agreed, not to mention the unlikleyhood of it happening.

I was always interested in the women of the house. A plantation mistress was in charge of the slaves, for their wellbeing etc. She in essance was powerless. Her slave was more powerless, yet they had to work side by side most of their lives. A mistress female slave could catch the attention of her husband..in his how and she..the mistress could do nothing and still had to work with this woman. There is some interesting dynamics when ya think about it.
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