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Novel Based on Sarah Forbes Bonetta, Queen Victoria's Goddaughter from Africa

Based on the real life of Sarah Forbes Bonetta, this novel is a sweeping saga of an African princess in Victorian England and West Africa, as she searches for a home, family, love, and identity.

The Other Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria's Goddaughter was written by Denny S. Bryce and published by William Morrow Paperbacks in October 2023.

Sarah Forbes Bonetta (1843 –1880) was a West African Egbado princess of the Yoruba people who was orphaned in intertribal warfare, forced into slavery, rescued by Captain Frederick Edwyn Forbes (1819 – 1851) of the Royal Navy. In 1847, he was given the command of the H.M.S. Bonetta. In 1849, Queen Victoria sent Commander Forbes on a mission to the African nation of Dahomey to negotiate with King Ghezo (or Gezo) in order to cease his warring with neighboring tribes. Forbes saw a small girl in the group that was to be put to death. That girl, Omoba Aina, was born in 1843 at Oke-Odan, an Egbado omobe clan of Yoruba in present-day Nigeria. In 1848, King Ghezo of the African kingdom of Dahomey had raided the village, killed Aina's parents, and captured her. At the age of five, she became a slave in the court of King Ghezo. Forbes convinced the King to spare her life and offer her as a “gift” from the “King of the Blacks to the Queen of the Whites,” as Forbes wrote in his memoirs. Forbes arranged for an audience with Queen Victoria. She accepted her “gift” and made Sarah her goddaughter.

This novel is based on Sarah’s extraordinary life. To the Queen, the girl is an exotic trophy to be trotted out for the entertainment of the royal court and to showcase Victoria’s magnanimity. Sarah charms most of the people she meets, even those who would cast her aside. Her keen intelligence and her aptitude for languages and musical composition helps Sarah navigate the Victorian era as an outsider given insider privileges. But embedded in Sarah’s past is her destiny. Haunted by visions of destruction and decapitations, she desperately seeks a place, a home she will never run from, never fear, a refuge from nightmares and memories of death.


Publisher: ‎ William Morrow Paperbacks (October 3, 2023)

Paperback: ‎ 448 pages

Price: $27.99


Learn more here: Sarah Forbes Bonetta

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