By Barbara Chase-Riboud
"From the bestselling author of Sally Hemings comes an extraordinary new novel based on the true story of Sarah Baartman, a South African herdswoman exhibited as a “scientific curiosity” in the capitals of nineteenth-century Europe. Barbara Chase-Riboud’s previous historical novels won her critical praise and established her as a writer who daringly transforms the hidden truths of the past into compelling fiction. InHottentot Venus, Chase-Riboud recounts the tragic life of Sarah Baartman, re-creating in vivid, shocking detail the racism and sexism at the heart of European imperialism. Born in the colony of Good Hope, South Africa, in 1789, Sarah Baartman was taken to London at the age of twenty by an English surgeon, who promised her fame and fortune. Dubbed the “Hottentot Venus,” she was paraded naked in Piccadilly in a freak-show exhibition and subjected to the unabashed stares and crude comments of the British public, which resulted in a sensational trial for her custody by British abolitionists."