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The Wages of Sin

(Sarah Gilchrist #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  783 ratings  ·  185 reviews
Sarah Gilchrist has fled London and a troubled past to join the University of Edinburgh's medical school in 1892, the first year it admits women. She is determined to become a doctor despite the misgivings of her family and society, but Sarah quickly finds plenty of barriers at school itself: professors who refuse to teach their new pupils, male students determined to forc ...more
Hardcover, 290 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Pegasus Books
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3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  783 ratings  ·  185 reviews

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Elyse Walters
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sarah Gilchrist knew the world could be cruel. She wasn't the type of woman content to let it remain so.
People who were closest to Sarah turned on her at a time in her life when she needed them most. Her parents had her placed in a sanatorium to cure her hysterical, melancholic behavior.
In 1882, given the type of wealthy family Sarah came from in London, if she was raped...a complete victim...she was a disgrace to her family. Shame, blame, and sin would follow her.
"The doctors at the sanatori
The Wages of Sin by Kaite Welsh is a 2017 Pegasus publication.

I love historical mysteries, especially those set in the Victorian era, so I’m always on the lookout for a new series that fits that bill.

Thankfully, I stumbled across this little gem, which shows a great deal of promise.

Sarah Gilchrist is a character I instantly admired and respected. She’s suffered much as a woman in 1892 who has been cast out by her parents, who treat her as though she is the one who should be ashamed, and then
If the eyes are the windows of the soul, then certainly the hands may convey the strength of it.

Ushering in the year of 1892, female hands were thought to solely engage in the rigid stitches around an embroidery frame and not clasped around the likes of a surgical scalpel.

But then you haven't met Sarah Gilchrist.

Sarah arrives in the upscale household of her aunt and uncle, the Buchanans, with a pleasing face and stature. This is Edinburgh, Scotland. Sarah has left behind a scandal upon the lips
The combination of 19th century, feminism, and Scotland gave me high hopes, but I became more unhappy as I read. The sleuthing aspect is minimal; two-thirds of the way through the novel, the protagonist still hasn’t advanced beyond “I had no real reason to think she was murdered, but I could not stop thinking about her.” Once things start to develop, the narrative flow is cut off at the knees when the backstory of the prime suspect emerges in a long explanation given *while standing over the new ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
THE WAGES OF SIN is a historical fiction that has just the right ingredients for me. We have a strong heroine with a past that haunts her, a murder mystery and just the right amount of romance, which for me is pretty little. I love it when you can feel the chemistry between two characters and the author doesn't rush away with it instead builds it up slowly. The book also deals with something that is very close to my heart, women's right to study. Actually, it deals with more than that, the book ...more
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have grown so bored with mysteries that torture women, terrorize them and basically make women appear to be helpless fools so when I saw the blurb "feminist heroine," I was immediately intrigued. The fact that the book was set in the Victorian Era only heightened my curiosity. I was not disappointed at all! The Wages of Sin is, unbelievably, the debut suspense novel by Kaite Welsh. The heroine mentioned is Sarah Gilchrist, a former socialite with "a past" who is now is one of the first females ...more
MaryannC.Book Fiend
A very atmospheric and detailed read about a young woman named Sarah Gilchrist who was allowed to study at The University of Edinburgh's medical school despite strong objections from her family who think her desires are lofty and fanciful. After suffering an assault which left her devastated, Sarah begins to recover and put her life back together only to deal with humiliation and shame in her family's social circles and decides she wants to make something of her life and become a doctor. There a ...more
Diane S ☔
Apr 13, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 review to follow.
I feel like I can't say anything I'm thinking without spoiling everything. So everything is going to get a spoiler tag.

(view spoiler)
nikkia neil
Thanks Pegasus Books and netgalley for this ARC.

Tantalizing first look at a new series that has everything I love in a historical mystery. Intrigue, rebellion, love, murder with a girl-power theme
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An unapologetically feminist historical fiction novel set in Victorian Edinburgh with a female lead that deconstructs every single aspect of the patriarchy not only to herself but also with other women and men.

I love Sarah. I love how brave and smart she is, and it shocked me how much I could relate to her. She feels so modern and full of anger; she just wants to be a doctor and not deal with any sexist bullshit.

I've found a new historical series to look forward to.
I don’t know whether it is a case of every novel being timed perfectly to have the most meaning in today’s political climate or a greater awareness of certain issues in general, but it does seem as if every novel I read lately is particularly important in illuminating the history behind current political viewpoints. The Wages of Sin certainly fits that bill. With its discussion of women, particularly poor women and their lack of choices when it comes to earning money, it covers women’s rights or ...more
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars

Historical crime/mystery (with a touch of m/f romance). The first 3/4s was compelling, but I didn't enjoy the resolution. Apparently, this is the first of a series.
Kirsten Fleetwood
May 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
OK, OK, I get it: Victorian women were repressed no matter which class they were from. Men were mostly misogynistic bastards who wanted women for sex or breeding, and woe betide any woman who tried to climb out of the pit of ignorance.

This book veers between earnest musings on how women were repressed forever and hysterical drama. I didn't much care for any of the characters, even my beloved Edinburgh seemed like a hell hole. And the whodunnit in the end was so tremendously implausible that it
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
It is 1892. Sarah is a social pariah, sent away from her home in London to her family in Edinburgh, where she has joined the first class of female medical students. Supplementing her official training with hands-on work, she meets Lucy, and feels a strange connection with her, and this will change her life.

The social and professional interactions between the genders (including women-women) and students-lecturers were well handled, and all the women themselves varied from the extreme to the moder
Atmospheric and heady mystery set in Edinburgh's dark side in the 1890s.

Moray Teale
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wages of Sin follows the trials and tribulations of Sarah Gilchrist, an English medical student at the University of Edinburgh. Kaite Welsh sets her scene with verve and passion, establishing the Auld Reekie atmosphere of Victorian Edinburgh with its dark and dingy closes, Cowgate squalor and apparent moral turpitude, contrasting the whorehouses and tenements of the Old Town with the more refined life of the New Town. It’s a setting rich with possibility for a historical crime drama and she fill ...more
Elaine Tomasso
I would like to thank Netgalley and Headline for a review copy of The Wages of Sin, a historical novel set in 1892, Edinburgh.

Sarah Gilchrist has offended Victorian propriety and is ostracised by her family but they have allowed her heart's desire to be one of the first women to study medicine at Edinburgh University. As a woman of dubious moral values she is encouraged by the aunt and uncle she is staying with to undertake Christian volunteer work which she does at a local hospital for the poor
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves-2019
Definitely a wonderful choice for my first book of the new year.
This one's good. Female lead training to be a doctor in the late 19th century and ends up trying to solve a murder. Can we have a sequel please?
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I cannot wait to read the next one.
Keara Dee
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I work in Edinburgh, it was really fun to read this novel and imagine what Sarah's streets were like, and how they differ to the ones I walk.

This was a fascinating insight into the plight of female medical students, and the cast of characters was very well done. I raced through the story in no time at all, and I can't wait to see what happens next! Gripping read.
Leah Angstman
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best part about this book is its historical atmosphere and research. It definitely takes you right into the world, and with great accuracy. I saw in another review, someone commented on assumed historical inaccuracies, saying:

"Bloomers had their heyday in the early 1850s and their resurgence several decades later doesn’t count as being 'recently pioneered.' The first female medical students to take classes at the University of Edinburgh began in 1869 so why is the class of 1892 causing such
Tara Chevrestt
Mar 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked it, but there were times I became disinterested in it. The problem for me was not enough mystery. The case of the dead prostitute was overshadowed by the drama with fellow student, Julia, and constant subtle referencing to the heroine's own "sordid" past. I'd rather her past have been revealed asap than have a guessing game the entire novel. So the prostitute and murder became pale next to all this and the ending came out of nowhere. It was a WTF??? ending. And while I love surprise, I a ...more
Holly Rivers
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was given the opportunity to read this from NetGalley. My review will be posted in February.
"Go back to your lecture hall, Sarah. Save your tears for your examination papers, because they won't do any good here. It may sound harsh, but it's the truth. You can do more for these women with a clear head than you can with a big heart. Your compassion may seem like a good thing now, but if you care too much, it will destroy you."
"How do I stop caring?"
I looked at Fiona, with her pale, drawn face and the evidence of sleepless nights written across it, and I wondered if she took her own advi
Vicky-Leigh Sayer
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The wages of Sin tells the tale of Sarah Gilchrist, a society outcast as a result of an unwanted suitor. Banished from London to Scotland to her Aunt Emily’s.

Sarah’s purpose in Scotland is not solely familial, she has been accepted onto the first female medical course at the University as she follows her dreams of becoming a Doctor.

She also volunteers at a charitable institution, keen to be seen to be doing something to help the local community away from her studies.

The women on Sarah’s course a
Beth (bibliobeth)
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
First of all, a huge thank you to Tinder Press for approving my request on NetGalley to read this extraordinary novel in exchange for an honest review. I saw Wages of Sin initially on Twitter and it ticked all the boxes for me as a reader. It's a work of historical fiction (tick), set in Edinburgh (tick) in the Victorian era (tick) that involves a strong female lead character (tick) dealing with a mysterious murder (tick). With so much going for it, there is always the anticipation that it might ...more
Nicole Sweeney
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review originally posted on The Bibliophile Chronicles

I loved this book from start to finish. Sarah Gilchrist is such a fascinating character. Forced to leave London in disgrace, Sarah is part of the first group of female medical students at Edinburgh University. She's determined to become a doctor and help those in need. However those around her are not so thrilled at the idea of having female doctors, and there are those in her family who would much prefer she let the idea of doctoring go and
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is not a nice book. We follow Sarah Gilchrist, who is studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh, having barely convinced her family that it was better to have a daughter studying medicine than to have a daughter permanently locked up in some upper class "sanatorium", and then she ends up investigating the death of a prostitute from the slums. The details we are gradually given about Sarah's backstory, the trap of her life even now, as well as her interactions with her fellow students ...more
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Kaite Welsh is an author, critic and journalist living in Scotland.

Her novel The Wages of Sin, a feminist historical crime novel set in Victorian Edinburgh, is out in 2017 from Pegasus Books in the US in May and Headline/Tinder Press in June. It is the first novel featuring medical student, fallen woman and amateur sleuth Sarah Gilchrist, with two further books due in 2018 and 2019.

Her fiction has

Other books in the series

Sarah Gilchrist (2 books)
  • The Unquiet Heart (Sarah Gilchrist #2)