298: Belle

 

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Synopsis

From acclaimed biographer Paula Byrne, the sensational true tale that inspired the major motion picture Belle (May 2014) starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, Emily Watson, Penelope Wilton, and Matthew Goode—a stunning story of the first mixed-race girl introduced to high society England and raised as a lady.

The illegitimate daughter of a captain in the Royal Navy and an enslaved African woman, Dido Belle was sent to live with her great-uncle, the Earl of Mansfield, one of the most powerful men of the time and a leading opponent of slavery. Growing up in his lavish estate, Dido was raised as a sister and companion to her white cousin, Elizabeth. When a joint portrait of the girls, commissioned by Mansfield, was unveiled, eighteenth-century England was shocked to see a black woman and white woman depicted as equals. Inspired by the painting, Belle vividly brings to life this extraordinary woman caught between two worlds, and illuminates the great civil rights question of her age: the fight to end slavery.

Belle includes 20 pages of black-and-white photos.

The Good

One of the things I loved so much is that it is so readable. I learned so much about Black London and English history. Slavery in England is not talked about that much so it was interesting and at times super traumatic to read.

This is my first non-fiction book I have finished which fueled my interest in the category.

The Meh

It is more about the people and events around Belle than about Belle.

Recommend

If you’re looking for Classic novel ~ Ourika by Claire Duras

If you want a period piece that is more about Belle~ Belle (the movie)

If you want book that deals with black people in Europe in 18th century~ Black Count by Tom Reiss (currently reading)

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Author: themollyweather

I like to read, a lot.

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