Bookmark of Spalding selects Belle by Paule Byrne as its book of the week.
The inspiration behind the powerful film Belle, this book tells the true story of Dido Belle.
Appearing in one of the most famous portraits in the world alongside her cousin, a pretty vision of aristocratic refinement, Dido steals the scene as she playfully acknowledges her remarkable place in 18th century society.
Dido was the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy captain and a slave woman and was adopted by the Earl of Mansfield. Mansfield was Lord Chief Justice of England and presided over the notorious Zong Case – the drowning of 132 slaves by an unscrupulous shipping company. His ruling provided the legal underpinning to the abolition of slavery in Britain.
From the privileged yet unequal lives of Dido and her cousin Elizabeth, to the horrific treatment of African slaves, Paula Byrne – bestselling author of The Real Jane Austen – vividly narrates the story of a family that defied convention, the legal trial exposing cruelties of slavery, and the woman who challenged notions of race at the highest rank.
Bookmark is offering a 20 per cent discount off the book with the voucher in the Spalding Guardian of June 19.