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Madam: A Novel of New Orleans

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,110 ratings  ·  170 reviews
When vice had a legal home and jazz was being born—the captivating story of an infamous true-life madam
New Orleans, 1900. Mary Deubler makes a meager living as an “alley whore.” That all changes when bible-thumping Alderman Sidney Story forces the creation of a red-light district that’s mockingly dubbed “Storyville.” Mary believes there’s no place for a lowly girl like he
Paperback, 326 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Plume
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Ronn There is some sexual content [as one would expect in a book in which prostitutes play a large role]. Some is violent, but not graphic. There is more t…moreThere is some sexual content [as one would expect in a book in which prostitutes play a large role]. Some is violent, but not graphic. There is more than a little adult language, also to be expected. I would not give this to a pre-teen, but a more or less worldly teenage could handle it. You should consider reading it yourself first and then deciding whether or not your daughter is ready for it. [I just noticed that your question is three years old, so this is no doubt water under the bridge; I hope it all worked out OK.]

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Diane S ☔
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Late 1800's and Marie Dauber is an alley whore who remakes herself into Jessie Arnold a Madame at one of the most notable houses of prostitution in Storyville. I love New Orleans and have long been fascinated by this city's colorful history.

The red light district of New Orleans came about when Alderman Story, a staunch man who abhorred prostitution and wanted the women moved to the back of the city away from all the outstanding citizens of New Orleans. That the new district took his name, appall
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
In the 1890s and 1900s the city of New Orleans instituted boundaries for a place where there would be legalized prostitution and all the vices that go with it. Nicknamed Storyville, a reference to the man who proposed the idea, it became a notorious few blocks serving both Blacks and Whites as a prurient playground for lust. Its most remembered contribution to history was as a musical incubator where ragtime pianists and early jazz innovators like Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver, and Louis Armstr ...more
Erin Germain
I think I would have liked this a bit more if it had shown more of Josie Arlington's life. Instead, it showed how Josie came to be, focusing on her days as a whore in Venus Alley; interesting reading, but something about her days as Madam of the Arlington would have been interesting, as well. ...more
Diana | Book of Secrets
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
MADAM is an entertaining romp through the underbelly of New Orleans on the eve of the 20th century. This book is based on the true story of Mary Deubler, a poor “alley whore” who transforms herself into Madame Josie Arlington in the new vice district. When city officials realized that it was impossible to rid New Orleans of prostitution, an alderman named Sidney Story proposed moving all prostitutes to one area of the French Quarter, and thus Storyville was born.

Mary was a survivor who found the
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 because of how quickly I finished it.

"Madam" follows several characters throughout one year in New Orleans -- the year when prostitution became legalized and regulated within the "Storyville" district. And when this book says it's a "novel of New Orleans," it means it -- although Mary Deubler is set up as the main character, this book follows several different characters throughout the book. While that's not a bad thing, because the book is relatively short, the time p
Feb 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Madam is based on the true story of Mary Deubler and her transformation to become Madam Josie Arlington. This story is about New Orleans at the turn of the century. The description of the city, people and times transports you there. Mary becomes an orphan at the age of 12. She and her brother are "looked after" by their nasty uncle who "pimps" Mary out to make money. The authors tell of Mary's struggle to make some money to survive and provide for her brother.
Some of the officials of New Orlean
Jun 08, 2014 rated it did not like it
I love New Orleans and really thought this could have been good- but it wasn't.
If your subject matter is going to be sexual trauma, death, incest, etc. then you had better be able to write. Unfortunately, these two really can't.
How did it take 2 people to write a depressing soap opera in clunking, forgettable prose?
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
All right! I'm going to have fun eviscerating this book. I only finished it, because I am one of those people where I *have* to know what happens. But if you want a compelling, original story, do not look here for it. There were sooooo many things wrong with this book, starting from the very beginning. What follows are SPOILERS, so if you want to muddle through all 300 pages to find them yourself, stop reading.

There are numerous problems with this novel, including: awkward, forced dialogue; lit
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed this fun romp through the past.
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Historical Fiction at Its Most Riveting

Based on the life of Marie Deubler, eventually known as Josie Arlington, a famed brothel madam in the infamous 1900’s turn of the century Storyville, New Orleans, ‘Madam’ starts the young Marie’s story when she is working as a prostitute carrying her mattress on her back and earning quarters while alternating shifts with another prostitute in a broken down shack each day in Venus Alley as she attempts to simply survive. The book ties in the creation of Sto
May 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, 2013
The world's oldest profession

1897 New Orleans, we travel the labyrinthine of the Underworld as we follow the story of one plucky, determined 'alley whore' metamorphosizing into the infamous madam of Storyville - the red light district.

This isn't just the story of Mary Deubler aka Madam Josie Arlington this is the story of New Orleans and its colorful facets. All the intricacies are explored - the Voodoo and spirit world - Mary even procures a treatment for Gonorrhea via Voodoo, the ever pop
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Book Review

Madame by Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin is biographical novel based on the life of Marie Deubler, aka Josie Arlington, the madam of a notorious brothel in Storyville, New Orleans. The story takes place is the late 1800’s and begins with a young Marie working as a lowly street prostitute earning mere coins. She shares quarters and works shifts with another prostitute in Venus Alley, a run-down alley of shacks and crates where whores lay for the poorest dregs of society. She struggles to
WTF Are You Reading?
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Madam: A Novel of New Orleans, is a wonderfully narrated tour of New Orleans' more sordid past; as seen through the eyes of some of its most note worthy and notorious citizens.

This is a story of a New Orleans living in the shadow of Jim Crow, and nod the cusp of change.

The waning of the 1800's and the dawn of the 1900's brought many changes to New Orleans. While the Jazz culture was in its infancy, the long and storied history of the bawdy girl or "crib prostitute" was at an end. What rose in h
Stacy Cook
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Madam: A Novel of New Orleans was just that; a story of New Orleans. From the first page I felt as if I was transported back to New Orleans at the turn of the century. Back to Venus Alley where Mary Deubler turns tricks on her kip which she must carry back and forth from her humble home to the shack in the Alley. Mary tries to make the best of her situation, scrimping and saving money for something better for herself, her brother and his wife who is with child. We are there for Mary's struggles ...more
Apr 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I saw this as an ad on
I have given Madam: A Novel of New Orleans 5 stars. I LOVED it!

Cari Lynn and Kelli Martin did such a fabulous job incorporating factual research into this novel, I really didn't want it to end.

We also get to know not just Mary, but, the other characters that were a part of Storyville such as Tom Anderson, Countess Lulu White and her girls, Mayor Flower, Snitch, Alderman Sidney Story, Charlotte and Peter, Ferd LeMenthe( Jelly Roll Morton), Eulalie Echo, a qui
Jessica Quadrel
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I opened this book, only looking to skim the first page, as I was currently in the middle of reading another book. Well, the authors got me hooked on the very first paragraph. Before I knew it, the book was finished. This story, which is actually mostly non- fiction is about Mary Deubler, who works as a prostitute in New Orlean's "alley" to support her brother, sister-in-law, and soon to be niece. This story brings the reader into Mary's world to New Orleans in the late 1800's. The story also fe ...more
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as an Early Reviewer. I have a fascination with New Orleans and its amazing history. Madam is based on the true story of Mary Deubler, also known as Madam Josie Arlington, head of The Arlington House bordello in Storyville. This book tells the mostly-true story of her rise from orphaned 12-year-old to a queen of The District. I wish it were longer, to be honest. I loved getting lost in the streets and traditions of the city- voodoo, political corruption, music, and letting t ...more
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: random-stuff
The writing does well in evoking images of the French Quarter and other areas of New Orleans, but I have to wonder why the author chose to focus on this area of Mary Deubler's life. We don't see her rise to power as much as we see her played as a pawn in other people's games (that even in the long run aren't fulfilled plot-wise). It's just, here's this chick, she's dirt poor. And then she's in the right place at the right time, gets noticed due to magic conjurings, and now she's the most illustr ...more
Shelby Harper
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in four days and very much enjoyed it. I didn't want to put the book down because I was absorbed into the world of 1897 New Orleans and the story of Mary, a common prostitute who rises to become the Madame of the red light district. I felt attached to the main character and enjoyed the entire cast of characters, and I especially enjoyed all the New Orleans voodoo. ...more
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book - so much, in fact, I would like to find more scholarly books about this period of New Orleans history. I think the authors did a fine job and I would definitely read more of their work.
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
It would take some work to make the history of Storyville dull. Having spent considerable time in NOLA, this was an enjoyable way to get the history and some of the ambience. The perfect gift for the NOLA fan living far away.
Apr 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
A light, quick read. It encouraged me to seek out some meatier nonfiction about these characters to get more of the story.
May 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
The history included in this story was more interesting than the characters.
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not really feeling this, unsure if it's the writing or if it's the concept. ...more
Andrea Quigley Maynard
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brita Addams
Mar 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Really don't see what it is that others see in this book. It's competently written, but not excellent. The story is pretty blah. Ostensibly, this is mostly historical fact about a time when New Orleans had, for about 19 years, legal prostitution; however, the whole focus is on the run-up to that period, and really, nothing much happens. At least one subplot is left completely hanging (presumably because the authors have no idea what happened). The characters are not very interesting. The main ch ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
My favorite quote in this book was the very first line in the book - " I come from a long line of whores."

Set in 1897 in New Orleans, Madam is a work of historical fiction based on a true story. It tells of Mary and how she becomes a fearsome and ardent madam in Storyville, the red light district of New Orleans as its conception. The authors depiction of Mary makes you KNOW Mary in the book - from a rag-tag girl to a prostitute on Venus Alley to her own bordello, The Arlington.

This was quite th
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sometimes you get a rare treat when you peruse the deep discount tables at Barnes and Noble. I picked this book up because I love New Orleans and it was cheap. When I finally had time to open the book I was immediately transported to 1897 New Orleans living within the pages with the main character, Josie Arlington. Suffering her incredible indignities. Feeling her complete and utter exhaustion physically and emotionally. But most importantly celebrating her amazing strength and perseverance. I c ...more
Shelby Dawson
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I LOVED this.

My only complaint is that it wasn’t longer. It would have been nice to get more details of Ms. Josie Arlington’s life not only on the alley but after she reaches the position of Madem. It was a real quick read, I completed it in basically three short sittings, and very entertaining the whole way through. The humor is nice and tastefully done for a book that is about quite a sad life.

If anyone knows of any reads along the lines of this I’d appreciate some recommendations!!
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Play Book Tag: Madam: A Novel of New Orleans; 4 Stars 1 9 Aug 21, 2016 06:14PM  

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