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The Bottle Stopper

(The Paper Duchess #1)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  85 ratings  ·  33 reviews
"Too much trouble, and you'll end up just like your crazy mother."

Maeve was six when they took her mother away, and left her in the care of her Uncle Lou: a drunk, a misogynist, a fraud.

For eleven years she's lived with him in Falside's slums, deep in the silt of the Falwere River. She bottles his miracle medicine, stocks his apothecary shop, and endures his savage temper.
Paperback, 212 pages
Published December 2nd 2015 by Bogus Caller Press (first published October 31st 2015)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  85 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Nicola McDonagh
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a haunting and atmospheric story of a chilling future dystopian society.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A tale of abuse, secrets, and lies, The Bottle Stopper is a well thought out dystopian novel that tells the tale of Maeve and the abuse she suffers at the hands of her wicked uncle who she is forced to live with when the powers that be take her mother. This all-powerful authoritarian state-like existence carries on throughout the story and is the backdr
Mark Tilbury
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Maeve is living a life of hardship and cruelty at the hands of her uncle. She has lived with him ever since the authorities took her mother away when she was a young child. As his violence towards her gets worse, she begins to put into action, a poisonous plan to get her revenge and escape. Uncle Lou is an evil piece of work who deserves what he gets in the story.

There are quite a large number of characters in this book, but they are all needed, serve a purpose and are well developed. This is a
Rabid Reader
Apr 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
An imaginative dystopian novel that has some well thought out characters and an interesting but dark storyline. Maeve lives in a harsh, politically controlled world with a cruel and abusive uncle. She is made to work as a bottle stopper in her uncle's apothecary, until his escalating violence eventually pushes her into seeking revenge and planning her escape. It is an interesting story that has a likeable protagonist and enough twists to keep your interest. I did find that the numerous character ...more
Anthony Redden
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a solid introduction to this dark and seedy world. Well written and full of more than a handful of twists. Kept me hooked to the end and then some. Can't wait for the second instalment.
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book.The author has a talent for world building and creating well developed characters.I liked that the book portrays a gritty dystopian world with flawed characters.The struggle of a young woman to escape from her abusive home and find her place in the world is engaging.The book finishes nicely yet leaves room for more books.I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maeve lives at the bottom of society, down by the stinking river where she collects water and appropriates bottles for her abusive uncle's shop. His rages have left her bruised and broken, and it's only a matter of time before he goes too far. But hope comes in the form of a monk with a hidden past, a friend she never knew she could have, and a little something extra hidden amoungst the apothecary's plant clippings, setting in motion events which slowly start to spiral beyond her control.

I love
P Henderson
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I downloaded this book a little over two years ago but only just got around to reading it now. It is a fairly decent book. Short though. I read it in a single day.

It is a dystopia, and a particularly brutal and bleak one at that. A little too much so for my taste but still a good story. The plot revolves mostly around one character. A seventeen year old girl living under the care of an uncle since years ago her mother was arrested and taken away and has been unheard-of ever since. The girl is ab
Pascal Ringoot
Sep 27, 2019 rated it liked it
In a dystopian UK somewhere in the future the young woman Maeve has to live with her brutal uncle, who manhandles her and makes her his slave. He is a fraud, sells dirty river water as a medicin to cure people’s sickness, pain, ailment, or affliction. She has to fill and cork up the bottles, hence the title of the book. Her mother has been taken away from her when Maeve was a child. There seems to be something special about her mother and we get some hints (not much) throughout the story, what m ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a free download for my Kobo, and it was the first book I've read by the author. It's a solid 3.5 stars because I loved the fast paced story telling, as well as how real most of the characters appeared to be.
The language used was simple and distinct, and the author didn't linger too much on the wallowing of some of the characters as they were experienced it, giving the reader just enough information to imagine what the characters were feeling. But at the same time, that was part of the
K.M. Allan
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A well-written book full of morally gray characters set in a dystopian world that could easily be our future. The protagonist of The Bottle Stopper is Maeve, a 17-year-old girl living with and working for her corrupt uncle who sells 'medicine' that is little more than dirty water. When a bottle of this medicine takes something precious from Maeve, she sets in motion events to bring down her uncle and free herself from his abuse. As Maeve finds the courage to fight back against her uncle, she als ...more
Denis Mcgrath
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Maeve is orphaned after her mother is arrested because she was a seer. She is put under the care of her uncle, who runs an apothecary shop selling slum water as medicine in pretty bottles. Her uncle treats her miserably. She learns about the perfidy of her uncle and meets her father who is a nearby monk of a rather unsavory monastery. Both her uncle and father cannot resist the ladies of the night. Maeve vows vengeance after she learns her uncle initiated her mother’s arrest. Her father has remo ...more
T.L. Clark
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dystopian
This is a story which lures you in. The author lets it unfold in its own time. There is no rush.
A dystopian future zooms its focus onto one girl who's turning 18; Maeve. She's physically abused by her uncle, leaving her black and blue and desperately seeking a way out of the slums.
Women are scarce, and yet become a controlled commodity. Times are bleak indeed. But there is yet hope.

There is somehow a touch of Chaucer in here. Don't even ask me how. Just a vibe I get. Maybe it's the monk? Or t
Julie Powell
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book one of this series gives a disturbing glimpse into a future world where women are tightly controlled. It seems to be a world of extremes and hypocrisy with quite odd characters.

Maeve is intriguing with a definite dark side, her origins and possible genetic make-up a mystery.

The world is cruel, strict and steeped in poverty, though only part of it has been explored as yet. There is a curious mix of technology and Victorian England, which, I assume, is a result of some catastrophe.

Pamela Blackwell
Good read

I enjoyed this book very much. The horrors of being a woman throughout time seem to always go back to the men being far superior over the women. This story is well told and I feel like I can almost smell and feel the awfulness of this town. I want to cheer on any hope that can be found and want to see what the mystery is that the author is holding back.
Joni Janice Mielke
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this on my Kindle and the short chapters had me hooked throughout. This is a great book with a great title, which is synonymous with the central charactet whose significance grows and grows to the final page of the book as the next book in The Paper Duchess series hovers in the wings. An excellent start to a promising series. I'll definitely be reading more!
Henana Berjes
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story begins in a really dark surrounding and you can feel it slowly growing into you. The MC isn't someone you could ever forget. She grows into you. she is too real. I loved the way the story unfolds in a grotesque world and seems totally real and very well defined. I'm a slow reader but as I'm finally nearing the end, I can already feel anxiety growing in my stomach pit. Engrossing read.
E.A. Lake
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice little read

3.5 stars. A nice novel that kept me mostly engaged. Liked most of the characters. Loved Mauve. Some came and went too fast. And there were a few grammatical errors, but not a lot. Fun little dystopian novella.
Madalyn Koval
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Wish it wasn't a series as I would have liked to been able to keep reading this story. Excellent characters
Pat Raab
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
What an indictment of a future world in which the "administration" controls everything, everyone, everywhere, and where women are chattels as they were centuries ago.
Very well written.
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good read about the plights of women and the hardships placed upon them by men.
Ciayrra The Scorpion Flower
Wonderful read.

This is a great revenge story. Well written, nice plot. I truly recommend it, it is quite interesting. Looking forward to reading more from this author!
Karen Siddall
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review-copy
When Maeve was six years old, her mother was taken away by the authorities for unspecified crimes against the state. Since that time she has lived with her Uncle Lou, a horrible, abusive man that runs a sham of an apothecary. Maeve’s job is to scavenge old bottles from the nooks and crannies and alleyways of the “The Floor,” the poorest slum of the city of Falside where they live, and fill them with medicine to sell in the shop. In reality, the “medicine” is the polluted water from the local riv ...more
Kay Smillie
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first work I have read by this author, and I am impressed. This dark, dystopian tale introduces us to the characters who will be in the trilogy.

This is mostly Maeve's story, and it's not a pretty one. Maeve lives with her uncle who abuses her violently on a daily basis. There are lots of questions raised whilst you are reading, such as 'where are her parents?' and 'why on earth was she left with such a man?'. I don't want to say anything else or I will spoil the story, but do not und
Feb 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: series
This dark tale draws you in and holds you even though, sometimes, you want to turn away from the horror of their everyday lives.
Even though there are many terrible events and violence that take place in this world so unlike ours I feel hope for the citizens that are mistreated and abused. That hope is generated by hints dropped throughout - something huge is going happen to change their way of life. The many twists, turns and shockers made for a compelling read.

There were quite a few unanswered
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it
almost 1/3 thru as I write this. reminds me of king, in that I think I smell a story in there. if you like king, you might like this better-update-halfway thru now-there's a story in there, n some intensity, buried in the scenery, n a lot of realism too(a bunch). still recommend if pacing's not an issue. is fer me, wading thru the mud n the stench of low tide to get across town, minus one shoe, is descriptive, but I could skip it to just get there. but that's me. still sure a lot of other folks ...more
Ava Rogers
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Bottle Stopper started a little slow for me. In fact, were it not for the fact I promised a review of the book, I may have stopped reading it altogether before I made it to the first quarter mark. However, now that I've finished it, I'm glad I stuck with it and am heartily looking forward to the second book, The Matching, which is due to be available this spring.

The Bottle Stopper is definitely very dark, with no holds barred when it comes to abuse, death, secrets and lies. Angeline's style
K Idamari
Dec 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Grim and Dark, with flashes of Hope

Maeve grows up a slum girl under the brutal care of her misogynist uncle, helping him run his sham of an apothecary. She is the titular bottle stopper(-er). As Maeve grows old, she is subject to increasingly violent punishments by her uncle. She needs to escape before he actually killed her.

When the government began to actively spy on people using the technology that once connected and informed them, people gave them up for the reprieve it brought. A new politi
Carol Morgan
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A dark chilling insight into a a society thats run by " big brother ".Thanks to the authorities Maeve is left at a young age in the care of her abusive uncle .& her life is miserable from then on, even finding her father brings her no joy although he does sort of redeem himself later on . pushed beyond endurance she snaps & seeks revenge .Angeline Trevena paints a clear picture of the dystopian world Maeve & her family exist in. A story that starts slow but quickly grips you with its many twists ...more
Elisabeth Zguta
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent story and a creative world dreamed up by author Trevena. The reader can't help but empathize with the main character, Maeve, and her dire circumstances dealing with her evil Uncle Lou. Her tribulations are many, but so is her quick thinking. Maeve takes the cruelest acts against her and tries in her way to make them right. Revenge, but in a unique and twisted way. The descriptions of the people she meets, her friend, and the places she visits are deeply cultivated within the rich wo ...more
Melodye Johnson
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting read

Kept me going until the last word, I couldn't guess how it would end. It was more than interesting. Can't find words to express my feeling s.
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Dystopia Land: Not all medicine is good for you... 1 14 May 09, 2016 09:00AM  

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Angeline Trevena is a British science fiction, fantasy, and horror author. Creator of The Paper Duchess series, she is best known for her feminist brand of dystopia.

She’s been writing stories since she was old enough to hold a pen, and after gaining a BA Hons degree in Drama and Writing, she honed her craft with horror and fantasy shorts which are published in numerous magazines and anthologies.


Other books in the series

The Paper Duchess (4 books)
  • The Matching (The Paper Duchess #2)
  • The Visionary (The Paper Duchess #3)
  • The Mothers

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