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The Linnet Bird

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,122 Ratings  ·  260 Reviews
In the claustrophobic, mannered world of British India, Linny Ingram seems the perfect society wife: pretty, gracious, subservient. But appearances can be deceptive. Linny Ingram was born Linny Gow, an orphan raised in the gray slums of Liverpool. Sold into prostitution by her stepfather when she was only eleven, Linny clung to the belief that she was meant for something m ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published August 2nd 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Bethany Andrews
Sep 01, 2007 Bethany Andrews rated it it was amazing
Tonight I finished reading Linda Holeman's The Linnet Bird. I have to say this is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I fell in love with the setting and the characters, and found myself quickly immersed in the plot of the story.

The novel tells the story of Linnet Gow, one of the strongest female fictitious characters I've personally ever encountered. Linny, as she is called, loses her mother at a very young age and is forced to live with the man who took her mother in. This man is o
I did not expect to read such another good book so soon after reading "The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton!!!!"
This book is more it is excellent!
Linnet Gow is born in the slums of Liverpool. Orphaned early, her step father sells her into prostitution. How she gets out of her desperate situation, ends up in India and Afghanistan, again loses her freedom and struggles to re-gain it is the main plot of this novel. She does fall in love once but is all too soon forced to leave him.
I highly recommend th
Claire Grasse
So far I'm about 2/3 of the way through the book, and I confess I'm only continuing to read because of the time I've already invested in it. Sort of like throwing good money after bad.

The main character, Linney, is forced into prostitution in Liverpool at the age of eleven. I'm assuming the raunchy (and crudely executed) descriptions of child (and later, teenage) prostitution are the reason this book made it past the editor's desk. Perhaps someone at Crown Publishing was so taken with the image
Nov 21, 2009 Allison rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who like books with 0-10% substance
Shelves: 2009
Hahah! I can't believe I actually finished this book. It was an easy read, I'll give it that.

To put it simply, this book reads like a 16-year-old girl's first attempt at novel-writing. The characters are very two-dimensional, formulaic, and not particularly endearing, even when they're meant to be. I guess it's cool that about half the book takes place in India -- that grants it a measure of uniqueness, but hardly enough to make up for the painfully overdone prostitute-turned-Scarlett-O'Hara-esq
Vekah Darkstar
Jan 09, 2010 Vekah Darkstar rated it it was amazing
Even though I gave this book five stars, I must warn anyone that reads it that it is a very dark book. I gave it five stars because it's themes are true to its time period. The author did not gloss over the horrors of growing up poor in the backstreets of England, nor the sigma of marriage outside of one's place in society. More times than not, I almost hurled this book across the room because the moment you think that the author would turn around and let the characters save themselves... well, ...more
Feb 16, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
i thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction so much that it still resonates with me years later. not only do i want to re-read this book, but i occasionally search out the author for anything else she has written. the story, the character, and their struggles are gripping all the while the settings picturesque and phenomenal.
Apr 15, 2011 Ava rated it it was amazing
This book was breathtakingly beautiful in its own way. I was gripped from the beginning. This is the type of book that you cannot simply put down and it is an addiction that when it runs out, you simply want, crave more and more. I am fourteen years old and everytime I would read this book in bed, I could not put it down. My father would have to pull the book away from my hands and close my lamp because it was so late at night. I kept thinkig of it. At the end, you will turn the last page with d ...more
May 14, 2014 Sara rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
This is really gritty historical fiction, the kind that makes you feel grateful for not being born in the 1800s. One terrible thing after another happens to the main character. Things get bad. And then they get worse. And then things get really, really bad. And then they get worse.

Despite all that, I didn't really find it a depressing book. There was something about it that felt hopeful to me, something about the way that the main character was stronger than her circumstances, getting up again e
Amazing! The heroine Linnet Gow (Smallpiece-Ingrahm) was endearing, lovable and oh so human. I found myself at times cheering her on and at others wanting to shake some sense into her. I applaud Linda Holeman for her vivid description of India.

Jul 26, 2011 Kaava rated it did not like it
Is it bad that I whished Linny a horrible, horrible death? She is one of the most annoying characters I've ever read about. No matter what good happens to her, how sweet and caring people around her are, she's still unsatisfied and she pouts ALL THE TIME! And after turning in a english upper class lady, she's often mentioning how good was to be a whore. A WHORE! She becomes a lady and misses her whore times! Good God, this book is awful!

Okropna książka. Sama w sobie (styl) nawet nieźle napisana
Jessica Jamison
Feb 12, 2010 Jessica Jamison rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A historical romance opens in Calcutta but quickly flashes back to 1823 Liverpool, England, where its heroine, Linny Gow, is turned into a prostitute by her father shortly after her 11th birthday. Surrounded by poverty and brutality, Linny clings to her dead mother's assurance that she has noble blood, a distinction that solidifies her determination to escape from her sexual slavery and break into the genteel class. Holeman excels at painting the different milieus of the time-from the clammy doc ...more
Feb 02, 2010 Collsells rated it really liked it
This book was difficult to get into at first, but I pushed through and am *so* glad that I did!
It can be quite graphic with scenes that not all people would read through...
In all it was a great book! I stayed up until 2am finishing it. I love it when that happens. : )
Susan Bright
Mar 22, 2010 Susan Bright rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. It is one of the few books that everyone in our book club loved! This is the first time we gave a book 5 Omelets. I know it is corny, but we are The Friday Morning Bookclub!
Mar 07, 2009 Alexandria rated it it was amazing
this is a very good read. when i began reading this book i couldnt put it down. this young womens journey is truly filled with obstalces and through her wit, street smarts, and charm gets to places she would have never imagined,
Five stars! I instantly fell in love with the setting and the characters. I especially loved the main character, Linny - a very strong woman who has nothing but horrible things happen to her. I found myself wanting to just give her a big hug and hope that she will someday experience joy. The story, however, is very dark, and although it has a satisfying ending , the story as a whole is very sad (but i like stories like that).
Halfway through the book, I found myself looking up the author to see
Julie Brown
May 21, 2013 Julie Brown rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
The Tea Rose meets The Secret Keeper meets India. A great sage about resilience, deception, love and survival.
Nov 22, 2014 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Outstanding . Couldn't put it down
Sep 14, 2009 Julie rated it it was amazing
At age 11 Linnet Gow is forced into prostitution by her evil stepfather and after one terrifying night that leaves her scarred but with new determination Linny escapes to freedom.

Reduced to doing the only thing she knows how to do, sell her body, Linny joins a group of prostitutes and saves her money to eventually buy herself passage to America so she can build her life there, free from the rough and nasty English streets that she has only known.

After working an overly rough customer one night h
Tara Chevrestt
Sep 17, 2009 Tara Chevrestt rated it really liked it
I had some doubt about this novel, as I have grown tired of the prostitute tales. More often than not, they are shallow and predictible or have characters the reader cannot relate to. Not so, this fine novel by Linda Holeman. The heroine of this story is the mother of the kind "knight in shining armour" of The Moonlit Cage. The reader becomes acquainted with her around the age of eleven, living in Liverpool in the year 1823, being pimped out by her stepfather. Unlike cage, this story is not all ...more
Viivi "Neri"
Jul 26, 2012 Viivi "Neri" rated it really liked it
I've read one other book from Linda Holeman, The Moonlit Cage. I fell in love with it and so I ended up finding other books from Holeman as well.

The Linner Bird wasn't a dissapointment even though I had very high expectations. Holeman has very unique way of writing. It's creative and at the same time describes well characters' thoughts and feelings.

I love the way that these both books (Linnet Bird and Moonlit Cage) have started with a little girl and ended to a grown woman. During The Linnet Bir
Nov 10, 2012 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who like their pleasure tinged with pain and their shirts starched
Shelves: 2012
If you like your highs soaring, your lows depraved and your girls plucky, this might be the book for you. It's 1839 and that puts us squarely in the historical fiction genre. Your bodice will be ripped, you will meet scoundrels and your Victorian sensibilities will be put to the test.

Linnet Gow aka Linny is as plucky as they come. Her trials and tribulations through life will probably make your problems look trivial in comparison. Things are rough from the start. She's born poor in Liverpool as
Sherry Chiger
Nov 09, 2012 Sherry Chiger rated it liked it
The first two-thirds of The Linnet Bird are fast-paced, engrossing--the stuff of page-turners. Then the protagonist, Linny, makes the decision to travel from Liverpool to India. The decision is a mistake for Linny, and for the novel.

With the shift in locale, the book shifts from a brutal but believable tale of life in the underbelly of 19th-century society and the possibility of redemption to a second-rate bodice-ripper complete with improbably coincidences and cardboard characters. It's as if t
Oct 14, 2008 Bethany rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
Re-read for Library Book Club; October 17, 2008

I've found an increasing enjoyment in reading historical fiction, and The Linnet Bird surely satisfies!

Set in 1830's Liverpool and Calcutta, this book is truly unique. Linnet Gow, or Linny as she prefers to be called, is growing up on the rough streets in Liverpool's riverfront area. Pimped out by her step-father at the age of 11, it seems that Linny future is set to follow a sad path.

But through a twist of fate, and the generous care of a stranger
Jan 29, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it
Requested this from the library well before Christmas, and at long last went and got it from the library. Due to my Kindle being poorly, I decided to pick this book up and see what it was like, well, I'm very suprised! Expecting to pick up this book and only read about 20 or so odd pages, I'm now on 160 pages. This book is most pleasing.

It starts in the 1850's with a little girl named linnet,otherwise, named as Linny. It goes through the turbulent and poverty stricken times of the Victorian era
Jane Kessler
Dec 27, 2012 Jane Kessler rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about The Linnet Bird. On the one hand, it was engrossing. Not a "couldn't put it down" book but one that I was pleased to open when I had a moment. The action and drama do pull you along and you wonder how it will turn out for the main characters. Descriptions of scenery and natural beauty were a particular strength of the writing.

On the other hand, the characters often seem like stereotypes: the prostitute with a heart of gold, the devoted Indian servant, the cruel husban
Feb 03, 2014 Mimi rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2014
When I was first married, my husband would buy me a Victoria Holt paperback and put it in my Christmas stocking every year. I enjoyed reading the books, and it was a good gift. This book very much reminded me of a Holt - in fact I think some of them had the same plot. I enjoyed Linnet's story and thought the inclusion of the British experience in India was interesting. Good read.
Jenna Carr
May 11, 2010 Jenna Carr rated it really liked it
This is a rather dark book and when I look back over it I am not sure why I liked it. :) It seems as though the main heroine can not catch a break. I do however really enjoy historical novels and this book seems to paint a very vivd picture for you. I can still see it all very clearly in my head and the scenes are beautifully portrayed. She is also a strong character who refused to conform to ideals of the time and did what she had to do in order to survive. The book takes you to the depths of l ...more
Jun 15, 2010 Meredith rated it liked it
This was an enjoyable page-turner. Set in the early 1800's, it follows the life of Linny, a young girl in Liverpool, during a 20-year span of her life.

One of the main themes of the book is childhood sexual abuse and its effects. If those kinds of descriptions are difficult for you to read, I would not recommend this book.

I enjoyed the historical aspect of the book and seeing "into" that time in Liverpool and British-ruled India. Some of the other themes in the book are outward vs. inward perso
Jul 28, 2011 Jadewolf rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 12, 2016 R K rated it it was ok
I'm not sure if I want to continue this book. I didn't feel the book being quite as dark as others have reviews it to be. I have read much darker and even gorier novels. The overall plot it okay. There isn't anything that really sticks out and the MC seems to be the typical "I grew up in unfortunate circumstances. And I now want to explore and find myself." Trope despite her living in early 1820-1830 Victorian Society. There were too many coincidences. Like, with the amount of sex she's been hav ...more
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Linda Holeman is the author of fourteen books of fiction. Her work includes two adult collections of literary short stories, Flying to Yellow and Devil’s Darning Needle, as well as the historic novels The Linnet Bird, The Moonlit Cage, In a Far Country, The Saffron Gate, The Lost Souls of Angelkov, and The Devil on Her Tongue. Her young adult body of work consists of a collection of short stories, ...more
More about Linda Holeman...

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