Evelyn Dove Britain's Black Cabaret Queen

Book Reviews / Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

#NonfictionNovember2016 has come and gone. Sadly it coincided with the disastrous US Evelyn Dovepresidential election results.  I was down for a while but am slowly getting back to happy and Evelyn Dove was one of the books that brightened my November.  If #NonfictionNovember has taught me anything, it’s that I clearly need to read more of it.

I’m sure none of you have heard of Evelyn Dove. I was excited to receive this book for review  from Jacaranda Books, a London-based independent publishing company which publishes books that are culturally diverse from Africa and the Caribbean.  Stephen Bourne the author of Evelyn Dove Britain’s Black Cabaret Queen begins the novel as he’s searching for information on this forgotten star.

Evelyn Dove was a trail blazer for black women performers like Josephine Baker and Shirley Bassey.  She was born January 11, 1902, Evelyn Mary Dove.  Somehow her greatness has been lost to the past.  She was elegant, beautiful, and a wonderful singer, who mesmerized audiences all over the world – from Italy to France to New York and even India.  She starred in cabarets in all of these countries.

Evelyn Dove grew up between Ghana and London.  Her father, Frans Dove was a distinguished barrister from Sierra Leone. Apparently at the beginning of the twentieth century many Africans sought out higher education in Britain. It is there where Francis Thomas Dove met Evelyn’s mother, Augusta Winchester a white English woman.  So, Evelyn was naturally brought up in Britain.  She studied at the Royal Academy of Music and from there on her career in performing began.

The reader will be taken through a rich period of performing arts, while learning about Evelyn Dove’s life.  The book has plenty of pictures of Dove in costume throughout her career and pictures of her family.  For such a short book I can say I learned a lot about the performing arts at the beginning of the twentieth century.  For all of you looking for an interesting, easy to read non-fiction that will take you back in time, Evelyn Dove Britain’s Black Cabaret Queen is a must read. Check out the video I’ve linked below of Evelyn Dove performing the Negro spiritual, Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray.

“Stephen Bourne has been specializing in black British histories since 1991.  He has written over 15 books, including the acclaimed Black in the British Frame:  The Black Experience in British Film and Television Second Edition, Elisabeth Welch:  Soft Lights and Sweet Music and The Motherland Calls:  Britain’s Black Servicemen and Women 1939-1945.  Bourne received the 2015 Southwark Arts Forum Award for Literature for Black Poppies:  Britain’s Black Community and the Great War.  He is a regular contributor to BBC documentaries and has written for many publications, including The Voice, The Independent, BBC History Magazine and History Today.” (quoted from press release)

I’d like to thank Jacaranda Books for sending me this beautiful book for review.  I enjoyed every moment of my reading experience and finding this video on YouTube is the icing on the cake.

My Copy: Evelyn Dove Britain’s Black Cabaret Queen – paperback, 160 pages

My rating:  4 stars



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3 Replies to “Evelyn Dove Britain's Black Cabaret Queen”

  1. I’ve never heard of Evelyn Dove – and we usually don’t think of Josephine Baker as having to have a predecessor! Shame on me, I guess.

    1. Well she filled in once for her. Evelyn Dove was amazing and was doing that thang all over the world first. It’s a shame she didn’t get more recognition. No worries. She’s getting it now. 😀

  2. Hallelujah! We are Finally getting recognition! Thank the Lord..
    There is much to be discovered, and celebrated….

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