A Respectable Trade by Philippa Gregory

About the book

Bristol in 1787 is booming, from its stinking 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 the Bristol merchants and finds her life and fortune dependent on the respectable trade of sugar, rum and slaves. Once again Philippa Gregory brings her unique combination of a vivid sense of history and inimitable storytelling skills to illuminate a complex period of our past. Powerful, haunting, intensely disturbing, this is a novel of desire and shame, of individuals, of a society, and of a whole continent devastated by the greed of others.

Reviewed by Hayling U3A Literature Group 2:

The whole group enjoyed the characters and the history detailed in the book and it lead to a very interesting discussion on various modern aspects of ‘slavery’ and the responsibilities of present generations on the aspects of the past.

Star rating: ***

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2 thoughts on “A Respectable Trade by Philippa Gregory”

  1. Review by Shipton Bellinger WI
    You are in safe hands with Philippa Gregory. She always produces a well written and well researched book. Here she highlights a rather dark chapter in our history – slavery, especially in connection with Bristol. A sombre topic but nonetheless a good read.
    Star rating: ***

  2. Review by Waterside Phoenix
    Soem of us found the descriptions of the slave ships too horrifying to continue reading. Those who finished thought it excellent. A powerful book about a disgraceful period of history.
    **** 4 stars

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