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Wasp

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3.44  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  9 reviews
For a gentleman seeking more prestigious company amidst the seedy bawdy houses of an eighteenth-century city, the House of Masques provides the perfect no-touch escorts. Girls, highly educated and socially trained, are geisha-like status symbols for politicians, bankers and minor royalty. But these girls are the condemned, the exiled and the abandoned, who are given new id ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited
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Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  86 ratings  ·  9 reviews


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Susan
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it
This historical novel is set in eighteenth century England. Bethany Harris is a disgraced governess/companion, who, having caused a scandal, has been sent out of the way to a madhouse. She is taken from her prison by Kingfisher, a former tribal leader, now slave, to the House of Masques. Here, she is to be cared for, fed, clothed and taught how to behave in Society. However, what is the price for this care? From the first, Bethany believes she has been sent to a brothel. In fact, the House can b ...more
Maya Panika
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Set in mid eighteenth century England where a cast of damaged and broken characters have been gathered together under one roof in a kind of Georgian escort agency. There's a deal of delightful writing here, a lovely tone and interesting use of metaphor. The character voices are good - especially considering the complications of the cast (not spoiling) - never once was I reminded that this is a male author writing overwhelmingly female voices. But the characterisation is far and away the best of ...more
Marguerite Kaye
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably a high 3 in terms of the story, but definitely a 4 for being something differed.

This was an odd one, and I came across it on a KDD. It's Georgian, and it's set in a sort of upmarket brothel, where all of the women are Masques, defined by a tattoo on each of their cheeks. The story centres around Bethany, or Wasp as she becomes known, who is rescued from a Comfort Home (asylum) where she was dumped by her aristocratic lover when she started to mouth off about his son's unwelcome overtur
...more
Cassandra
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Uhm... this was an interesting book, if not a tad too disjointed. A bit too confusing at the end. But I wasn't bored. ...more
Ever Dundas
Feb 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wasp is a brilliant character-driven novel set in 18th century England, where The House of Masques provides escorts to those willing to pay for their services. It’s a well-crafted, well-written page-turner.

I enjoyed the way the present and the past unfold together – as we learn more about The House of Masques we gradually learn more about how the protagonist, Bethany (or ‘Wasp’, as she comes to be known), and the other characters came to be there.

Wasp exposes the hypocrisy of ‘civil’ society, wh
...more
Petra
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
*** Read in Dutch translation ***
I like most part of the book, the era it was set in, the very original way to give woman another chance (even though it seemed that they didn’t really have a choice) and the clients stories. What confused me though was the timing. Sometimes the story jumped back in time to get more insight in the history of some characters, I often didn’t know at first who they were talking about and for me, this kind of story telling often breaks the pace. It’s not clear to me h
...more
Cherry Bee
As always I wish GRs allowed us to award half stars! In comparison to other books I've rated 3 stars is too low and 4 stars too high.
I liked this, the story is good - not brilliant but interesting and captivating, something a little different - although I felt it petered out somewhat towards the end, suddenly jumping towards a resolution with everything falling into place a bit too easily. The writing is also good, despite the use of the phrase 'higgledy-piggledy' 3 times in different contexts.
...more
Desiree
Dec 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Story about a governess who falls into disgrace and is send to a madhouse. Here she is "rescued" by an ex slave and taken to the house of Masques, an institution for high class, no touch, escorts.

In the house of Masques no one is who he or she seems to be however, and it is very difficult to find out who is friend or foe.
All characters have had serious problems in the past and have their own (double) agenda's.

Nice enough metaphors for the 18th century English society where everyone in "polite" s
...more
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Dr. Ian Garbutt has worked in journalism and publishing. He was awarded a Scottish Arts Council New Writer’s Bursary and attended Napier University, in Edinburgh, where he obtained a Master of Arts with Distinction in Creative Writing. Historical novels are his speciality, and he has published two historical novels for Piatkus under the pseudonym of Melanie Gifford. More recently he has obtained a ...more

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