Belle Nash and the Bath Circus
“Perfect weekend reading”
Sir Ian McKellen, The Times
Being the story of how bachelor extraordinaire Belle Nash and his Caribbean ‘cousin’ Pablo Fanque – supported by a group of fine ladies – established the Circus Royal in Bath in the face of opposition from the vile bigot Lord Servitude.
At the end of his last adventure (Belle Nash and the Bath Souffle), Belle Nash was banished for four years to the island of Grenada. It is 1835, and Belle now returns to Bath, glad to be back but pained by the absence of his most recent Caribbean love. His heart-ache leads to confusions when he meets Pablo Fanque, the Black equestrian acrobat from Norfolk who longs to set up his own circus. As a well-loved figure in Bath, Belle uses his influence to try and help Pablo but has to run the gauntlet of Lord Servitude, the most hated man in England and a die-hard advocate of slavery. As ever, William Keeling’s comic tale brings Belle, his gay hero, into a situation that is both a comedy and a morality tale about bigotry and prejudices that are as alive today as they were in Regency times.