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The Journal of Dora Damage

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  848 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
In the tradition of Sarah Waters, a rich, sweeping historical novel set in Victorian London, about a bookbinder's wife who, to save her family, must take over her husband's business.

London, 1860: On the brink of destitution, Dora Damage illicitly takes over her ailing husband's bookbinding business, only to find herself lured into binding expensive volumes of pornography c
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,019)
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Jun 04, 2008 Renee rated it liked it
Okay book. About a poor woman in 1860s London who takes over her husband's book-binding business when his health deteriorates. Wonderful setting and characters. Charming writing. Interesting and very unique plotline. I liked it up until a certain point between the middle and end, where the story went into an odd and rather absurd place for me. Because the beginning was all so realistic, with a large part dedicated to showing how Dora manages to make due with the little her family has, when it cr ...more
Ava Black
This is a hard book for me to rate because I think it had a lot of potential but, as it often happens, it did not stand up to it.
When I pick up a novel I always look for:

1) a great, strong - headed and strong - willed heroine! A girl who is not a frail woman who need other people ( especially men ) to tell her what to do. At the same time, my ideal heroine has her own flaws and is sensitive.

2) A way with words. This is very simple, most of the books are written by people who, for me, shouldnt'
Oct 07, 2007 Andi rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: bibliophiles
Shelves: review-books
The Journal of Dora Damage is a wonderful book about a woman who takes over her husband's book binding business and falls into a job binding pornography for a secret society of London's upper crust. Dora finds herself on an intellectual and sexual journey that awakes her senses and puts her entire family in danger. Starling has crafted a beautiful tale full of intrigue and atmosphere. Sadly, the author passed away shortly after completing this book. Definitely give this wonderful book a shot.
Janie Johnson
Nov 17, 2014 Janie Johnson rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-challenge
It was probably not a good idea for me to struggle through a historical fiction and then pick up another historical fiction after that, but that was exactly what I did. I was reading this one for my 'J' in the A-Z challenge. I have to say though that this one was surprisingly good. It started a bit slow but gradually got better. The difference between this one and the one before is the fact that there was a story to be told in this one.

In this story we have our main character Dora Damage in the
Polo Lonergan
Mar 22, 2010 Polo Lonergan rated it it was amazing
I am not very squeamish when it comes to taboo topics, so to read something about the delightful deprivation of the Victorian pornographic trade was fascinating. The topic is one I have encountered before but never from this point of view - that of a female book-binder dragged into the business when her husband becomes ill and unable to work.

The woman in question is Dora Damage. At the beginning of the book she is a beleaguered Victorian housewife with a husband who insists that women book-bind
Apr 27, 2011 Hazel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very promising first half. Starling has a nice touch with the prose, and is convincing on Dora's Victorian world. She's clearly done her research, and it was fascinating to learn about the craft of book-binding. I think in our age of mass-production, books have lost their uniqueness and individual worth. I love the idea of getting a bespoke binding for a favourite volume. I love the idea of the binder choosing materials to suit the book's content and the character of the reader. I want one. :-)

Miss Spring
Jul 18, 2016 Miss Spring rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The journal of Dora Damage es un libro del que no esperaba nada, no había oído nada de él. Me ha encantado. La historia comienza con Dora, que se encuentra trabajando como encuadernadora de libros en lugar de su marido, Peter, que tiene un problema en las manos. A la vez tiene que cuidar de su hija, Lucinda, que es epiléptica. Dora tiene mucho talento, y pronto será conocida entre los aristócratas de la ciudad, que la llevará a ser el centro de una red de pornografía...
Lo que más me ha gustado e
Claudia Sesto
Mar 24, 2015 Claudia Sesto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Padronanza di sé. Ripensai a San Bartolomeo e al libro della nostra vita. La libera scelta comporta non poche responsabilità: dobbiamo scrivere la nostra storia con mano ferma."
Il libro racconta la storia di Dora Damage, moglie del rilegatore Peter, un uomo in pessime condizioni di salute a causa dei reumatismi, hanno una figlia Lucinda, che soffre di crisi epilettiche, la Legatoria soffre dei problemi di salute del padrone, ha poche commissioni e il marito, all'insaputa della moglie, ha contra
Feb 16, 2014 Roberto rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not many books finish with a note from another author (in this case, Boris Starling who happens to be Belindas brother telling us the unfortunate and untimely death of his sister immediately after she finished writing her debut novel - The Journal Of Dora Damage. Its really sad that such a promising author had met such a ungrateful death especially when she shows in her first and only novel such talent. Sad, indeed,
As for the novel itself, there were times when I pondered to review this book wit
Jun 28, 2011 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, as the rating indicates, I really liked it. (And for those of you wondering why it took me so long to finish it, as it's been on my "currently reading" list forever, the answer is: it didn't take me that long, I just delayed updating my info as I wanted to write a thoughtful review, and life was in the way.)

If you like stories set in Victorian London, and/or if you like stories about strong female characters who are nevertheless hemmed in by cultural circumstances, then you will like this
You’re probably looking at the description for Belinda Starling’s “The Journal of Dora Damage and thinking, “Not yet ANOTHER Victorian-era novel based n sex, intrigue, murder, etc” while rolling your eyes. Well, stop being a Debbie Downer! “The Journal of Dora Damage doesn’t follow a traditional story arc, as one would expect.

“The Journal of Dora Damage” lacks a “usual” introduction to the narrator (clearly, Dora in first person perspective), and her family. However, this is the prime case stud
Sono combattuta nel recensire queste 400 pagine. Iniziamo col dire che si legge facilmente e il tomo è stato pesante solo per i miei polsi, a letto, dopo una giornata passata sulla tastiera del computer. Però la storia, che inizia in una povera famiglia londinese, a un certo punto cambia tono. E lo fa pian piano, senza che tu te ne accorga subito, ma prima o poi si nota e stride un po'.
Dora è la moglie di un rilegatore di libri abbastanza apprezzato, ma ormai in declino a causa della sua malatti
Laura Locatelli
Jun 17, 2013 Laura Locatelli rated it really liked it
E' stato il titolo ad attrarmi.
Suonava come qualcosa di nascosto e proibito, qualcosa da sussurrarsi piano per non farsi sentire. E' per questo che l'ho comprato.
E dopotutto, non è così lontano da quello che contiene questo libro.
Parte subito con un diario, un inizio "dalla fine" che tendo a non apprezzare. Da grande fanatica del thriller preferisco un medias res.
Però come libro si è fatto apprezzare. Ti affezioni subito alla protagonista, una donna della Londra vittoriana, che cerca di emancip
Oct 17, 2012 ReaderSP rated it liked it
This story follows Dora Damage as she takes over her ill husband's book binding business. A woman running a business is very frowned upon by her neighbours and customers but she needs to make a living to support her child. As money becomes harder to come by, she starts binding illegal pornographic books for her wealthier clients. As often happens in illegal business, she finds herself getting deeper and deeper into this new world of slavery, sex and money.
This book really brings you into the sig
Sep 18, 2015 Roberta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Non mi aspettavo molte cose da questo libro. Comprato a caso all'ipermercato dopo una lettura veloce della trama in copertina, me ne ero anche quasi dimenticata.
Ma dopo aver iniziato a leggerlo non ho più avuto l'intenzione di metterlo giù.
Parto con il presupposto che amo i romanzi storici, ma non quelli erotici, e non ero seriamente pronta, e né mi sarei aspettata che una cosa simile mi potesse piacere.
All'inizio immaginavo Dora come una donna imbruttita dalle circostanze e non comprendevo co
Prepare to take a journey back to mid-19th century London and find Dora Damage taking over the bookbinding business of her husband due to his arthritic hands now no longer able to function. With commissions drying up, Dora must make some decisions that will cause her fall from respectable society. She, with her apprentice Jack, become the binders behind Damages Bookbindery. Through a chance connection with Sir Jocelyn Knightly and his wife Sylvia, Dora is seduced into the seedier side of the boo ...more
Apr 10, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
What a book! First of all the name is wonderful! Second, "Damages Bookbindery: Bindings of Any Kind" with a picture of a corset.... well doesn't that just invite. That said, this book sat on my shelf for awhile because the actual pages and binding of this book and the first sentence didn't quite pull me in when I would randomly pick it up. And once I did - it did take a little reading to settle in to the language of mid-1800's London. But once I did, I was hooked. Damages in a book-bindery in Lo ...more
Floriana Amoruso
La rilegatrice dei libri proibiti è un romanzo che, o ti piace sin dalle prime pagine, oppure cerchi di fartelo piacere o ancora ci rinunci a finirlo. Onestamente non so definirmi in quale di queste opzioni io rientri, perché il romanzo l'ho terminato, non mi è piaciuto e mi sto ancora domandando cosa non mi abbia convinta. Dora Damage è una giovane donna che decide in barba alle leggi puritane dell'età vittoriana, di gestire la legatoria di suo marito. No
Aug 12, 2016 Petra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ik kocht dit boek vanwege de titel, want mijn moeder is de vrouw van de boekbinder én dol op boeken. Ik besloot het boek zelf ook even te lezen voor het weg te geven en had eigenlijk geen idee waar het over ging. Het klonk helaas niet al te vrolijk... Maar het boek neemt je mee de wereld in van Dora, waar je je meteen thuis voelt, waar alles goed beschreven wordt en waar de schrijfster volgens mij echt verstand van zaken heeft, maar dat zou ik aan mijn vader moeten vragen ;) De opbouw van het ve ...more
Leggere nella postfazione che l'autrice ha fatto delle ricerche storiche mi ha fatto rivalutare questo romanzo portandolo a 3 stelline. Parte bene ma ad un certo punto si perde tra liti matrimoniali e librai sadici. Pensavo che i libri proibiti fossero libri di scienza o politica scottanti e la protagonista lottasse consapevolmente per difenderne la diffusione, in realtà si tratta di bisogno di soldi che porta Dora a rilegare pornografia per un gruppo di nobili selvaggi (più che altro sadici, se ...more
Apr 24, 2011 Anna rated it really liked it
Completely absorbing...loved it! A memorable array of beautifully described characters, and the descriptions of every day life in 1860's London for the 'lower-middle class' were gritty and believable. Best of all, the intriguing and sinister story at the core of the novel pulled me in and I couldn't put it down.
Courtney Williams
Jan 08, 2015 Courtney Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This is the second of two books I've read so far in 2015. It's also the second whose author passed away before their book was published. I'm not intending this to become a trend, but it seemed an odd coincidence.

Anyway, moving on to the book itself. I've had it for a while, having picked it up (I think) in the discount book shop in the city where I used to live. It was sitting on the bookshelf at my parents' home, but I decided to bring it down with me this summer. I've rediscovered an interest
Cristina ( Leggere In Silenzio )
Recensione completa su:
La rilegatrice dei libri proibiti si presenta e si evolve come un perfetto romanzo corale dove ogni personaggio recita perfettamente la sua parte che - come perfetto tassello di un puzzle da ricostruire - si incastra nella storia, mettendone in risalto pregi e virtù, vizi e difetti del genere umano.
Grazie alla penna ammaliante della Starling, il lettore sarà naturalmente portato ad immergersi nella sua storia con famelica curiosità
Antonio Mercurio
Nel romanzo si parla di un laboratorio di rilegatura libri condotta da un certo Peter e un aiutante di non jack. Peter ga una moglie Dora e una figlia Lucinda. Quando Peter si ammala sarà Dora che prenderà il suo posto svolgendo un lavoro che le donne non potevano. Contro ogni legge ed impedimento si cimenta nella rilegatura di libri erotici commissionati da un ricco medico che ha come scopo finale quello di rilegare la sua opera omnia con la pelle umana. Dora trasgredirà un'altra legge dell'epo ...more
Aug 11, 2015 Mari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: letti-2015
[Recensione pubblicata sul blog Libri, libri e...

Dora Damage, sposata con uno dei migliori rilegatori in circolazione, fa del suo meglio per essere la moglie e la madre perfetta, in genere con scarsi risultati. Quando le già delicate condizioni di salute del marito peggiorano al punto di impedirgli di lavorare, la donna si trova davanti a una scelta obbligata: soccombere ai debiti o prendere in mano le redini della legatoria. Inizia così un’avventura commerciale che le porterà diverse soddisfazi
English Department
Feb 18, 2009 English Department rated it liked it
Dora takes over her husband's book binding business during the 1870s when union pressure threatens to shut down those who employ women. Though writing is considered a feminist act of self-assertion, that women should write themselves, Dora has no control over the production of texts she binds; she mearly embellishes them - a reference to her exploitation and objectification. This is symbolised in the dresses she uses to cover the texts and further played on in the visual pun between bindery and ...more
Jun 17, 2015 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, storico
Bel feuilleton storico ambientato in una Londra vittoriana lontana dai soliti fasti e corsetti. La protagonista, Dora Damage, vive in quartiere rispettabile in una casa le cui condizioni ci fanno comunque rabbrividire dall'alto del nostro Ventunesimo secolo. Dora è moglie di un rilegatore, Peter, che è però affetto da una grave forma di artrite reumatoide. Quando la malattia gli gonfia le mani al punto da impedirgli di lavorare, Dora è costretta a prendere in mano le redini della famiglia e deci ...more
Apr 05, 2011 Camilla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ho trovato questo libro particolare, intrigante e davvero ben scritto.
Inizia lento, con il susseguirsi di vicende che sembrano non dicano niente in tutto, finchè a metà del libro si fa tutto più veloce, tutto si svolge in modo frenetico e davvero imprevedibile. Fino al finale che lascia increduli.

La storia si svolge in una Londra ottocentesca in cui le apparenze sono tutto, in cui è l'uomo a portare a casa il pane ed in cui le superstizioni sono molto sentite. In questo contesto la figura di Do
Feb 24, 2013 Joe added it
A mediados del siglo XIX, en el Londres Victoriano, la londinense Dora Damage asume el control del taller de encuadernaciones de su marido. Sus primeros clientes son los miembros del club Los Nobles Salvajes, un grupo de aristócratas que coleccionan libros o tratados pornográficos al más puro estilo de la mostrada por Kubrick en Eyes Wide Shut que a veces encuadernan con piel humana. Dora experimentará un despertar sexual leyéndolos, hasta que descubra otros turbios secretos. En este libro, nos ...more
Celia Powell
Dec 05, 2008 Celia Powell rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Belinda Starling was born in 1972 and died in 2006, aged 34, of complications following surgery. Her novel 'The Journal of Dora Damage' was published posthumously.
More about Belinda Starling...

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