A Respectable Trade

A Respectable Trade

Bristol in 1787 is booming, a city where power beckons those who dare to take risks. Josiah Cole, a small dockside trader, is prepared to gamble everything to join the big players of the city. But he needs capital and a well-connected wife.

Marriage to Frances Scott is a mutually convenient solution. Trading her social contacts for Josiah's protection, Frances finds her life and fortune dependent on the respectable trade of sugar, rum, and slaves.

Into her new world comes Mehuru, once a priest in the ancient African kingdom of Yoruba, now a slave in England. From opposite ends of the earth, despite the difference in status, Mehuru and Frances confront each other and their need for love and liberty.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 512 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743272544 | 
  • February 2007
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INTRODUCTION
Description
The devastating consequences of the slave trade in 18th-century Bristol, England, are explored through the powerful but FORBIDDEN attraction of well-born Frances Scott and her Yoruban slave, Mehuru. Bristol in 1787 is booming, from its shipping docks to its elegant new houses. Josiah Cole, a small dockside trader, is prepared to gamble everything to join the big players of the city. But he needs ready cash and a well-connected wife.
An arranged marriage to Frances Scott is a mutually convenient solution. Trading her social contacts for Josiah's protection, Frances enters the world of Bristol merchants and finds her life and fortune depend on the respectable trade of sugar, rum, and slaves.
Into her new world comes Mehuru, once a priest in the ancient African kingdom of Yoruba. From the opposite ends of the earth, despite the enmity of slavery, Mehuru and Frances confront each other and their needs for love and liberty.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. What is Mehuru's role in his African tribe? To what extent do his gift of prophecy and his linguistic abilities enable him to endure the hardships of the middle passage and his enslavement in England?
2. "We can never leave the Trade. It is the only thing we know." How do Sarah Cole's attitudes about the trade and the risk involved in her family's shipping business compare with those of her brother, Josiah? To what extent do Sarah's views prevent her from see more

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About the Author

Philippa Gregory
Photo credit Santi U

Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory is the author of many bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognised authority on women’s history.
 
Her Cousins’ War novels, reaching their dramatic conclusion with The King’s Curse, were the basis for the highly successful BBC series, The White Queen. Philippa’s other great interest is the charity that she founded over twenty years ago: Gardens for the Gambia. She has raised funds and paid for over 200 wells in the primary schools of this poor African country.
 
Philippa graduated from the University of Sussex and holds a PhD and Alumna of the Year 2009 at Edinburgh University. In 2016, she received the Harrogate Festival Award for Outstanding Contribution to Historical Fiction. Philippa lives with her family on a small farm in Yorkshire and welcomes visitors to her website, PhilippaGregory.com.

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