OUT NOW: The Bridgetower Chronicles by Eileen Christie
Recalling a life and love of a family that bridged century-old boundaries.
The Bridgetower Chronicles by Eileen Christie is an unmissable story that brings a bygone era to life and pays homage to the remarkable and unheard past of generations of the Bridgetower family.
Contact us here to request a review copy of the book.
Although relatively unknown today…George Bridgetower was one of Europe’s most celebrated violinists during the 18th century, performing alongside Beethoven and living under the guidance of HRH the Prince of Wales. This incredible story depicts how George’s grandfather was sold into slavery and how his father had escaped.
Undocumented until now, The Bridgetower Chronicles is wonderfully narrated by an engaging set of characters who, chapter by chapter, collectively rebuild three generations of this family’s astonishing life. Was Yohannes really an Abyssinian Prince confined to a castle and how did his relatives cope under imperial rule? Each chapter reimagines a story made all the more interesting by being told from their differing perspectives, nationalities and genders, as this quote from ‘Mary’s Story’ shows: “My brother Edward, like Clara, led his life in a way that aligned with what society expected. He was a pompous gentleman who believed women should know their place, something he and I did not quite see eye to eye on.”
The author anchors The Bridgetower Chronicles in its historical context and the stories slice through continents, cultures and class systems with historic accuracy. The book authentically reimagines people, experiences and places while portraying the customs and cultural clashes of the 18th and 19th centuries: “As the conflict between Russia and Poland finally stabilised we were able to return home to Biala as it was now safe for the Prince to do so the year was 1772.”
With absorbing detail, the story-tellers chronicle distant sea-faring voyages encountering far-flung places, from Jamaica, France, Barbados and Poland to Haiti, Italy and England.
The Bridgetower Chronicles has darker layers of drama too, as the author evokes the brutality of captivity and enforced slavery: “My chaperone, whom my father had trusted, had suddenly become my captor. My servants tried their best to nurse my wounds as well as their own, but the raw bleeding cuts left behind scars that embodied the ones eternally left in our minds.”
Well researched and realistic, the book conveys the colonial regime and an establishment that defined the aristocracy and under classes during this period in history: “As is a custom in many royal courts in Europe, Princes married Princesses to keep bloodlines exclusive to those who had managed to claw their way up to the upper echelons of society.”
The Bridgetower Chronicles is an historic gem that celebrates amazing historical figures as well as a love story that broke the barriers of its time. It brilliantly weaves together a collection of true stories by Yohannes’s descendants who relive his tumultuous life and immortalise him forever: “The Grandchildren soon became obsessed with the injustice of their great-great-grandfather Yohannes, the African Abyssinian Prince.”
Review Copies of The Bridgetower Chronicles and interviews with the writer are available on request. Contact us here for details.
About the Author
Eileen is a 61-year old grandmother with two grown-up children and one grandson. She is also a dedicated foster mother.
Prior to becoming an author, Eileen owned a pub on the Caledonian Road in London’s bustling Islington area. In 2012, she featured in the popular BBC documentary, The History of Our Secret Streets (episode 3) which was about living on the Caledonian Road where Eileen spent all her life.
Eileen is currently working on a Channel 5 documentary where she discusses The Bridgetower Chronicles.