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Trades of the Flesh

3.25  ·  Rating details ·  161 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
A darkly erotic tale of prostitution, murder, and medical science in Victorian England

Lydia Ketch is a young woman whose life some would call immoral and shameful. But with the death of her mother and the prospect of the obscene conditions of the workhouse looming before her, Lydia chooses to enter into the "trade" in order to shield herself (and, more to the point, her sw
ebook, 304 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Forge Books (first published August 7th 2009)
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I was taking my own advice when I didn't judge this book by it's cover...mistake! The writing is so amateurish that I'm surprised this book ever got published. The awful cover is a good indicator for what you will find inside.

I thought this was going to be a gritty look at the life of a prostitute in Victorian England, with a bit of grave-robbing and pornography thrown in. And, yes, that does sound good to me. In my mind I thought of it as The 'Dress Lodger', 'The Mephisto Club' and 'Fingersmith
Shawna Hunter
This was the tale of a british prostitute and....some stuff that happened. Really that's about it. If you're hoping for sex then look elsewhere because it's barely in this book. What is here are a series of life events and characters who do grow on you. There's no common plot throughout, however, sometimes Lydia is trying to escape the "introduction house" other times she's perfectly content to pursue her relationship with Shadwell or hang out with her friends and other times she writes. The wri ...more
May 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Faye Booth has written a different kind of historical romance. It’s set in Victorian days, but this is no tale of a poor but genteel woman rescued by a duke or lord. Protagonist Lydia Ketch is only a teen when her mother dies in wretched poverty, with her last words to Lydia being to take care of her younger sister Annabel- the brains of the family, the one with a future. There aren’t many options for poor girls with no family in that era, so Lydia picks the one that looks to be the most lucrati ...more
A nice little book. I think that had I gone by the copy on the back (that I only read after finishing the book) I would have been disappointed, though. This is not a dark, gritty, or even erotic book as advertized; but there really isn't anything wrong with it, either. I suppose going into it without any expectations (I literally chose it at random from a stack of Thriftbooks envelopes, long after I marked it as "to read" on here) helped me out a lot, judging from the other reviews.

This is the
Mar 25, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The early reviews here are terrible, but Victorian whores are my favorite.
Joe Stamber
It was great to read a 19th century tale that was set "up North", rather than in London, although I should add that it doesn't make a massive difference to the story. Lydia Ketch has to think fast after her mother dies, leaving a younger sister to care for. It's an uphill struggle until Lydia takes residence at an "Introduction House", where she finds some sort of stability. Eventually, both Lydia and her sister realise they want to better themselves, and attempt to do so in their different ways ...more
Jenny Q
Feb 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copy
A quick and attention-grabbing read, but in the end it left me wanting more. The marketing copy is a bit misleading. I got the impression that there was going to be a darker, murderous, mysterious element, but there wasn't. Jack the Ripper is stalking London prostitutes, but he doesn't figure into the story at all, and indeed there didn't seem to be much danger other than that which nineteenth-century prostitutes already faced. But I did find it an interesting glimpse into the seedy side of Lond ...more
Oct 20, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
I really wanted to like this book, I love well researched books about the seedy side of Victorian life but this read like porn for young adults.
The story itself was really childish and naive and the author had tried to titivate it up a bit by splashing a few dirty words and unrealistic sex scenes in all over the place.
It held a lot of promise and the ideas behind the story were pretty good, but having read The Journal of Dora Damage and The Crimson Petal and the White I just found this to be a c
Jan Crow
Lydia's life seems to be set for her when her mother’s passing leaves her in
charge of a younger sister, Anna. Barely more than a child herself, she applies
at a House of Introduction for employment as a prostitute so that she can
provide for her sister allowing her to continue her education as was her
mother’s dying wish.

Lydia quickly fits into the entertaining life and meets Henry who chooses her as
his favorite. Their friendship grows and Henry asks her to be a model for him.
Lydia learns just
Oct 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This is the kind of book I pick up from the library when I'm desperate--I'm totally out of reading material, the library closes in 10 minutes, and none of the books I actually want to read are available at the branch I'm at and the books for which I've placed holds haven't been delivered yet. I grabbed several books off a fiction display and bee-lined it to check out, thinking if any or all of my random picks were awful I wouldn't read force myself to finish the books. But fortunately, it was a ...more
Dec 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b
Actual rating: 3.5 stars. I really liked this because it was a more realistic look at prostitution in Victorian England than what we normally get. It's not glamorized, but it's not portrayed as immoral or shadowy. While the ending concerning Lydia and Henry was realistic, I'm (view spoiler) On the other hand, Annabel's sideplot was sloppily done. The ending of it was so abrupt (and convenient. I mean, what are the chanc ...more
Oct 08, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bargain-finds
This wasn't what I expected at all, especially with the cover it has. I was pleasantly surprised to find it a light story about the Victorian underworld; a look at prostitution and the laws surrounding learning medicine. It is set in Victorian England without shoving that fact in your face. Small details show the politics and environment it's set it. It's not about the dangers of being a Victorian prostitute or procuring corpses for medical studies, but about a girl who made a promise to her dyi ...more
The story about two orphaned sisters who move into a brothel to stay out of the workhouse.
The younger sister is intelligent and goes to school while the older sister works tricks to make ends meet.
I thought as I started reading that this was very 'light', I want to say YA, but I have read some YA books that have better character development. This story could have taken place anywhere, I didn't feel immersed into the time or place, or into the characters themselves.
A fast read that was a bit e

Well I will say that whoever chooses the covers for Booth's books does a great job as they are lovely.

This book wasn't quite as bad as her first one,'Cover the Mirrors', so showed some improvement.

Again I felt that Booth did write some good erotic scenes but still there wasn't much of a story, realistic characterizations or a convincing Victorian feel to the setting.
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
What a surprising little book, it was only £1 or so and most definitely worth it. A little bit of scandal, female fiction and history with loveable and easy to know characters. Easy to read but definitely a book for adults due to some slightly explicit scenes. Very glad I read it and I shall be looking for more from the same author.
Apr 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eh, historical
As much as I wanted to LOVE this story, it lacked in rising action & there wasn't a climatic pivotal moment. It was just stuff happening. *SPOILER* The ending was eh...right when you think Lydia is finally going to do something worth reading, she quickly changes her mind after talking to her friend.

Overall, it was an okay story. I'd probably read it again, but no time soon.
May 15, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I read this entire book but I did not like it much. It was just weird...I never would have guessed or even could have pictured this book going the way it went and I didn't like it. I loved how Lydia starts her life on her own terms, I love the concept of a "lady of the night" being independent...a la Sugar...but I just didn't feel the connection to this book that I wanted to.
Anna Wallace
Jan 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
It is touted as being an Historical Romance, but I didn't find a lot of romance in it. Sure, our lead heroine seemed to have a liking for our "hero," but the story wasn't about them.

It was an interesting look into the underbelly of London and I enjoyed it.
Aug 11, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-bother
Moral of this story : don't borrow a book from the library just because all the good ones are gone. Life is too short to waste on dodgy books.
Jan 05, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Light but not fluffy not really worth the time spent on it
This seemed more like a first draft or outline of a novel than a finished novel. It was all a bit rushed and muddled.
Loved the character of Lydia as she makes the best of her circumstances.

Mary, Daisy & Kathleen at house and Henry Shadwell make excellent foils for her.
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. This one didn't thrill me.
Sonia Dean
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-books
Not astounding but an enjoyable read
Mar 07, 2011 marked it as no-thank-you  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: harriet-loved-it
Review # 24,000 for our fearless leader.
Jul 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a literary masterpiece but a fun read when you're looking for something historically inaccurate but enjoyably scandalous.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
It was will written, but i picked it up thinking it would be very dark and was disappointed that the back cover synopsis seemed misleading.
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i am allowed to be biased here as the author is a very good friend of mine but i was gripped and i really enjoyed the book
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2012, ebook, steampunk

I don't often read mediocre romance novels. But when I do, I make sure they contain corsets, cobblestone streets, and grave robbing.
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Faye L. Booth was born in Lancashire in 1980 and continues to live in the county. She shares her home with a menagerie of animals and has given up denying her eccentricity.
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