Set in the early reign of Queen Victoria (1819-1901), story, adapted from David Garnett’s novel, is about a sailor who returns home to England with a bride from the black Kingdom of Dahomey in West Africa.
It’s her dowry, a treasure of pearls, that sets them up in business with an inn for thirsty passers-by in a lush English countryside. But her color and the presence of a black son set them off from intolerant neighbors, despite some support from friends in the area.
Conflicts with the sailor’s sister, the local pastor (who preaches hell fire), and prejudiced visitors to the inn lead to slow alienation in a foreign land.
Tom Bell scores as the sailor Targett, and Shope Shodeinde (a native Nigerian) as the African princess brings credibility but hardly sparkle to Tulip, a lively flower that must slowly wither in a foreign climate with the accumulation of disappointments and unawaited hostility.