I am fascinated by the role of prostitution as it pertains to women’s history because until the end of the 19th century, the only real professions forI am fascinated by the role of prostitution as it pertains to women’s history because until the end of the 19th century, the only real professions for lower-class women were servants, teachers or prostitutes. Plus prostitutes in the 19th century in Europe at least played such an interesting role in art, but I digress. Mary was an interesting character and it was intriguing to see the world of a prostitute through her eyes, as it is usually seen through the eyes of the customer. Her story was particularly captivating as she rose from a common lady of the night to a woman of high stature in that community. I loved the vintage photographs of the area at the beginning of each chapter, as they really helped visualize the setting of the story and its characters. My only big gripe was that story focused so much on her beginnings, and I would’ve really wanted to know more about Storyville and her time there.
Mary Deubler is a poor prostitute working on Venus Alley in New Orleans in 1897. Mary wants more than this profession that her mother had before her, for herself and her brother, sister-in-law and unborn niece. However, her growth is stifled by a overbearing pimp named Lobrano. She finally gets her chance to move up in the world after a politician decides to create a separate area (later nicknamed Storyville) for the prostitutes and bars, away from decent folk. Seemingly overnight, she is transformed from the worn-down Mary Deubler into the nearly respectable Madame Josie Arlington, in charge of her own bordello.
The authors have done a great job of really making you feel like you are in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century, trudging down the dirty back alleys with the bars and whores and their johns. You can almost hear Buddy Bolden playing his trumpet with his band, or Ferdinand De Menthe (or Jelly Roll Morton as he will soon become) tickling the ivories. You could walk into the shop of Eulalie Echo, the Voodoo priestess, for remedies or curses. I enjoyed the character of E.J. Belloq, the famous photographer, who helped publicize Storyville to the visitors to The Big Easy. I had no idea that people in New Orleans during that time period were open to allowing Creoles (a mix of French, African and Spanish) to mix with white society, or at least more so than regular mixed-race people. 4 stars.
Disclaimer: I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review....more
I’ve been fascinated by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for awhile now, ever since watching the most recent Sherlock Holmes movies, directed by Guy Ritchie, anI’ve been fascinated by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for awhile now, ever since watching the most recent Sherlock Holmes movies, directed by Guy Ritchie, and the BBC series with Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch. I’ve never actually read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books, though I would definitely like to in the future. This book wants me to read it even more. The same thing is true of Oscar Wilde’s works. I’ve been fascinated by his personal story, but never have managed to read any of his books or plays. You can tell the author is English or at least got a good English education from the excellent vocabulary used in the book. I enjoyed the Author’s Note at the end of the book as it confirms that the author was very in-depth with his historical research, something I always appreciate when reading historical fiction.
Arthur Conan Doyle (henceforth referred to as Arthur) has just killed off the famous Sherlock Holmes and people are rioting in the street and cancelling en masse their subscription to The Strand magazine, where the stories were published. Arthur is relieved as he wants to start a new project. His beloved wife, Touie, is dying of consumption (tuberculosis). He is summoned to a darkened house to help a young beautiful woman named Hope solve a murder, her own. He thinks it is all poppycock and leaves, but finds himself thinking about her in not-so-innocent ways afterwards. He is invited to a conference with the Psychical Society, which is meeting at Thraxton Hall, which Arthur soon discovers is the ancestral home of the lady he has just met. He decides to go with his friend Oscar Wilde, who provides the perfect foil for Arthur’s serious demeanor. Will they be able to uncover who is the murderer and save Lady Thraxton in time? To find out, read this exciting first book of The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle series. 4 stars.
Disclaimer: I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review....more
I really enjoyed this unexpectedly good book that I randomly found in the children's section of my library. My only gripe with the book was that the sI really enjoyed this unexpectedly good book that I randomly found in the children's section of my library. My only gripe with the book was that the secondary storyline about the boy wasn't as developed as I would've liked, but the author did a fine job researching the main part of the book and has many resources for students in the back of the book on the topic.
The book was about a 13 year old boy named Eel who lives in London and makes his living as a mudlark, someone who used to go into the Thames River and sell bits of things found there, like nails and coal, for a few pennies to buy food. For more information on how disgusting and smelly the Thames was and the Great Stink, check out this website: http://www.choleraandthethames.co.uk/.... Eel ends mudlarking after both his parents have died and he has to take care of his younger brother Henry. They are trying to escape from Fisheye Bill Taylor. Eel also picks up odd jobs working for a brewery, cleaning up a tailor's shop, and feeding animals at Dr. Snow's house. The "Blue Death" refers to the Cholera Epidemic of 1854, which killed over 600 people in one area of London, and it is featured as part of the mystery in the book. Eel witnesses people that he lived and worked with die from the disease and Dr. Snow is helped by Eel to pinpoint how the epidemic spread from the area around the Broad Street Water Pump. They are trying to figure out who and what started the whole thing. Will they be able to prove that the infection is spread by water, and not by air like previously thought, and stop it at the source? Will Eel and Henry be able to escape the evil clutches of Fisheye Bill Taylor? To find out, read this great book. Recommended for ages 9-13, 4 stars. ...more
I have mixed feelings about this book. Overall, I enjoyed it and was pleasantly surprised by the ending, at least for the main part of the story (theI have mixed feelings about this book. Overall, I enjoyed it and was pleasantly surprised by the ending, at least for the main part of the story (the secondary ending was rather predictable from about halfway through the book). It seemed like the author took the cover photo and made the story up from that, and not the other way around as it should be. It also seemed like she was trying too hard to incorporate the speech of modern teenaged girls, which made them sound a bit airheaded, which kind of played into the stereotype in the book that women are "the gentler sex". I expected the story to be more steampunk, and it really wasn’t. Yes, there were some inventions ahead of their time and steam-powered dirigibles, but it was more of a historical fiction book set in late Victorian/early Edwardian times. I enjoy books with strong female lead characters and the main three characters were likable, but didn’t have as much depth or descriptive setting as other YA books from the same time period that I have read and loved (like Gail Carriger).
Cora is an East London girl who has been apprenticed to the almost-fatherly Lord White, a secret inventor, for many years now. She thinks she is being replaced by a young nobleman named Andrew Harris, and is rather frustrated with her employer because of this turn of events. And yet, she is strangely attracted to Mr. Harris. Nellie is the assistant of The Great Raheem, a Persian magician, who she sees as a protector. Michiko is a sword-wielding Japanese girl who is unable to really communicate in English. She performs fighting routines with her hated master, Callum. Michiko is secretly training a younger apprentice named Hayao, in exchange for him teaching her how to silently run (which reminds me of parkour). Through a series of chance occurrences, the three girls meet and decide to work together to solve the mystery of the dead bodies of scientists and flower girls that have been popping up all over London. Nellie soon develops feelings for a young cop named Officer Murphy, who has been assigned to the case they are working on. Someone has also threatened the city of London and demands a ransom be paid. Will they be able to catch the killers and find out who is the criminal mastermind behind everything? To find out, read this exciting book. Recommended for ages 12+, 3 stars. ...more
I found this book in the New Mysteries section and decided to give it a try based on the cover art and the subject matter. I was previously reading aI found this book in the New Mysteries section and decided to give it a try based on the cover art and the subject matter. I was previously reading a book on murder and death in the Victorian era, so this seemed like a fitting follow-up, though the time period is a little bit earlier. I enjoyed the incredible detail given by the author, which really drew you into the story. There were a lot of twists and turns in the book, which really keep you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out how the story will resolve itself.
Officer Hawkwood is a Bow Street Runner, the precursor to the police in London, in Regency era England. He has come to Bedlam Mental Hospital to check out a recently murdered inmate, a Colonel Titus Hyde, recently back from the Peninsula War. Only things aren’t as they seem and now Hyde is on the loose. Hawkwood also goes to investigate a man who has been killed and crucified in a graveyard, with his tongue and teeth removed. As the story develops, he realizes that he has stumbled into a turf war between rival gangs of Resurrection men, who dig up and sell recently dead bodies to medical facilities. At this point in history, it was illegal to dissect anything but criminals in medical schools. Will Hawkwood be able to discover the truth behind Colonel Hyde’s escape? Just what is his true purpose and reason for escaping Bedlam? To find out, read the exciting 2nd book in the Hawkwood series. I didn't know this was the second book until after I started it, so now I want to read books 1 and 3. 4 stars. ...more