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Dolly Vardon

3.68  ·  Rating Details  ·  25 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
"I was bought as a slave and for a slave," Dolly told her daughters at bedtime. "Your father never loved me."

DOLLY VARDON is the story of a pretty orphan girl's struggle to survive in turn-of-the-century London and Paris; dancing in the streets for pennies, begging, stealing, and the dark side of Victorian England - one of the most horrendous eras of prostitution in the mo
Paperback, 448 pages
Published June 14th 2013 by Createspace (first published November 13th 2012)
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Mar 09, 2014 Etcetorize rated it did not like it
This is a very disturbing book to read. I must admit that had I not won it for free in a GoodReads giveaway, I'm not entirely sure that I would've made it past the first few couple of chapters.

The subject matter includes various explicit references to fetishes and other sexual acts that include children. I understand that this may have been a reflection of the times (however I'm not naive enough to completely ignore the fact these despicable acts still happen today) but I don't want to read abou
Nov 18, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it
I received this for FREE as a Goodreads giveaway. This book made me really really uncomfortable. A true story told from the seamy side of life. Poor Dolly grows up in deplorable conditions, and you just know it's going to get worse for her. And it does. There are a lot of perverted men in this book, and it is not for the faint of heart. I honestly cringed throughout, especially when young children were sexualized (fetish shoes, really?) I am not saying it is a bad book, it was actually a well wr ...more
Oct 05, 2014 Sherry rated it really liked it
This is a disturbing book. Guess I have been sheltered. Couldn't put it down. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is because some of the descriptions were "over the top". This is not for the faint of heart, yet you will be mesmerized.

I have no doubt all this happened to Dolly and her family. She did anything she needed to do to survive. She was resourceful and it's no telling what she would have become if she had been born in a more privledged life.

I challenge you to NOT come away wit
Nov 18, 2013 Janet rated it it was amazing
This biography about the author's grandmother, does not disappoint; an intriguing tale about class, poverty, ambition and fear that I could not put down. I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway, and really anticipated reading it, as it had been rated 5 stars. Dolly's life and family are described by family member's recollections and her strength and determination to provide for her family, given the times, her abuse at the hands of her family, and her lack of formal education, is inspiring. ...more
Feb 04, 2014 Marie rated it it was amazing

A look into the darker side of the Victorian era, when children and women were little more than playthings to depraved men.
Kept me riveted from the first page to the last.
Feb 22, 2014 Meghan rated it it was amazing
Won this book as a Goodreads first-reads giveaway winner.
Written by grandchild Anton Holden, this is the autobiographical account of grandmother Dolly Vardon from birth to death. This novel takes readers through Dolly's life and is not for the faint of heart. Dolly grew up in London, however her account of the city is nothing near why we fantasize about going there today. Dolly grew up poor and the accounts throughout the book of molestation and sexual encounters make a person squirm in their s
Nov 26, 2013 Paula rated it it was amazing
Dolly Vardon by Anton Holden

At the turn of the 19th century in Victorian London, Dolly Vardon is an orphan child living with Mrs. Dodd who takes care of her for money. While chasing a coal laden cart and picking up the falling pieces of coal to heat her home, Dolly is noticed by Harry S. Nichols, a wealthy publisher and seller of erotic books. He takes her in as his ward and promptly abuses her sexually while giving her everything that money can buy. Although Dolly dislikes him, she goes with hi
Nov 03, 2013 Kristine rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
3.5 stars
Original review found at
* I won this book in a goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.*
I don't even know where to begin with this book. So much happens throughout Dolly's life that it almost unimaginable. Most of it is not good and the majority of it is disgusting and extremely disturbing.
The book itself is well written and detailed with many short chapters. I must warn readers though that it deals with the perversions of that time
Nov 06, 2013 Stephanie rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
In this biographical account,author Anton Holden takes us through the amazing life of his grandmother, Dolly Vardon. From birth to death, Dolly's life is quite extraordinary. She was abandoned shortly after birth to a London 'Baby Farm' in 1886 where she is put to work on the streets as soon is she is old enough so she can earn whatever money she can in whatever way she can.

While on the streets, Dolly's tiny feet catch the eye of Harry Sidney Nichols, a rich bookseller. Harry employs Dolly and
Sarah Jackson
Nov 11, 2013 Sarah Jackson rated it really liked it
I was lucky enough to win this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.

I must say that I was hardly able to put this book down. I was fascinated with Dolly's life and what was going to happen next. I wanted to see her as a survivor.

The story about Dolly's life is very well told. I cannot believe some of the things that she lived through from such an early age, however, she was fighting to continue to thrive. This book really opened my eyes regarding things that went on that you do not hear about every
Aug 02, 2014 Elizabeth rated it did not like it
I did not enjoy this book at all. I feel bad saying this, especially since you find out at the end of the book that the author was abused by the same man who sexually abused basically the whole family, but I almost felt like the portions about Dolly's abuse and rapes, and the rapes of her daughter, were written in pornographic way. I don't think I can even keep this book, it was too disturbing and I will probably recycle it.
nikkia authement
Jan 26, 2015 nikkia authement rated it liked it
very graphic, be prepared to learn a lot about the unsavory side of victorian england and abroad.
Apr 11, 2014 Jeweleye rated it did not like it
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway, but after about 80 pages, I found the descriptions of young Dolly's encounters with Nichols too distasteful to continue. To describe his obsession with young girls as a foot fetish is disingenuous.
Linda Munro
May 13, 2014 Linda Munro rated it liked it
I won this book on goodreads but it was not at all what I anticipated. While some may consider it biograry and others may consider it historical, and I agree with both, there is definately both aspects in the book, it is far more porn than either.

I may have been able to handle reading the book if it did not concern a child; but it really got to me and I would have to place the book aside on many occasions.

It is not a book that I would recommend.
Oct 09, 2015 Win rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from Goodreads giveaway.

It is a real life tragic story. Dolly was a stronge woman and managed to have the power back to live her life.
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I started out as a director [usually the other way around - I know] with a low-budg
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