The extraordinary true story behind the film Belle. Releases in Australian cinemas on 8th May 2014.
Acclaimed biographer and bestselling author of The Real Jane Austen, Paula Byrne, tells the extraordinary true story of Dido Belle, whose unique social standing became instrumental in the campaign to end slavery in England. Beautiful, wealthy and sophisticated, Dido Belle was a vision of 18th century aristocratic virtue - however, she was no ordinary 18th century Lady. Born to a captured slave mother and a captain in the Royal Navy, Belle was adopted and raised by the politically powerful Lord Mansfield - the Lord Chief Justice of England - and her mixed race and illegitimacy became the controversy of English high society. Now a feature film slated for release in May 2014, Belle’s fascinating story highlights how her unique position in society challenged the harsh attitudes and complex social hierarchies of the time.
About the Author
Paula Byrne was born in Birkenhead. Her first book, Jane Austen and the Theatre, was shortlisted for the Theatre Book Prize. Her second book, Perdita, was a Richard and Judy book-club pick and a best-seller. Her third, Mad World:Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead is ‘the fascinating story of a great house and a great family.’ It was published to rave reviews in 2009 and was another best-seller. She is married to Jonathan Bate and lives in Oxford.
'A touching account ... artfully constructed' Sunday Times 'The theatrical zest of the narrative, which is a tie-in with a movie of the same name, holds it all together' The Times Praise for film previews of 'Belle': 'A lovely, female-centric romance that completely reinvents the period movie in a way that will resound for quite some time' Empire 'Elegant and emotionally satisfying ... this handsome period piece tells a continually fascinating, unusually layered story' Variety Praise for Paula Byrne's 'The Real Jane Austen': 'The portrait of Austen that emerges is sparklingly multi-faceted, catching the light in intriguing ways ... her Jane is far less likely to go for a quiet walk in the garden than she is to be whisked into town in search of a velvet cushion, a necklace or a smart new dress' Mail on Sunday 'Engaging, compelling, a delightful and engrossing book. Of course we all know that the "real" Jane Austen will forever be a mystery, but most 21st century Janeites will adore this one. Byrne's passion is nothing if not persuasive' Sunday Times 'Brilliantly illuminating ... riveting. By focusing, chapter by chapter, on one thread or another of Austen's experience, Byrne allows us to grasp the richness of her inner life' Simon Callow, Guardian
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 1st May 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 13.0 x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.22