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Crimson and Bone

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A dark, gripping story of love and obsession from bestselling author Marina Fiorato, perfect for fans of The Crimson Petal and the White.

London, 1853.

Annie Stride is a beautiful, flame-haired young woman from the East End of London. She is also a whore. On a bleak January night Annie stands on Waterloo Bridge, watching the icy waters of the Thames writhe beneath her as she contemplates throwing herself in. At the last minute she's rescued by a handsome young man.

Her saviour, Francis Maybrick Gill, is a talented artist. He takes Annie as his muse, painting her again and again and transforming her from a fallen woman into society's darling, taking her far away from her old life.

But there is darkness underpinning Annie's lavish new lifestyle. In London and in Florence, prostitutes are being murdered. There's someone out there who knows who Annie really is - and they won't let her forget where she came from...

266 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 18, 2017

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About the author

Marina Fiorato

17 books559 followers
Marina Fiorato is half-Venetian. She was born in Manchester and raised in the Yorkshire Dales.

She is a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she specialized in the study of Shakespeare’s plays as an historical source.

After University she studied art and since worked as an illustrator, actress and film reviewer.

She also designed tour visuals for rock bands including U2 and the Rolling Stones.

She was married on the Grand Canal and lives in North London with her husband, son and daughter.


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5 stars
69 (28%)
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105 (44%)
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41 (17%)
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19 (7%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 51 reviews
Profile Image for Lucy Banks.
Author 12 books293 followers
February 20, 2018
I received a free copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

Richly portrayed gothic-style tale, which had me gripped throughout.

Crimson and Bone's tagline was a 'twisted story of love and obsession', and it certainly lived up to it. With a cast of prostitutes, Pre-Raphaelite artists, mysterious men and eerie vases, not to mention the gorgeously portrayed backdrops of Victorian London, Florence and Venice, this was a book that captivated me from the start, and kept me firmly hooked until the final pages.

Annie Stride, a prostitute, starts the book standing on the edge of London's Bridge of Sighs, ready to jump off and end her life. Her best friend / work companion Mary-Jane is dead - drowned in the river only a month previously, and Annie feels she has nothing left to live for, especially as she's pregnant.

A mysterious, wealthy man called Francis rescues her, and takes her back to his home, where he transforms her life completely. He's a painter and eager to portray her as a variety of different women - Jezebel, the Mary Magdalene... in fact, a wide range of fallen women. His most sinister painting features her wearing an old, tatty white dress and clutching a vase; which appears to be of utmost value for Francis.

As you might guess (without giving too much away), there's something sinister afoot, and for a long time, Annie's only real clue is the flowers that Francis has her posing with - the pungent carmelias that she soon grows to detest. A mysterious Italian, known initially as the 'rainbow man' on account of his occupation selling paints to painters, starts posing for pictures alongside Annie - but it turns out that he's more than he seems too...

There was much to love about this book. Above all else (and most importantly), it was a ripping good yarn. Well-paced and richly detailed, it kept me turning the pages well into the wee small hours of the night. I also adored the three distinct locations in England and Italy. It was very apparent that the author was intimate with all of them, because she conveys them so wonderfully, without overloading the reader with too much detail. I also loved the artistic details - the references to painting which were not only well researched but added real depth to the story.

The end had me surprised, and the final conclusion was satisfying, to say the least. A thoroughly enjoyable read, and one I'd recommend, particularly if you enjoy darker mysteries and 'rags to riches' stories such as The Crimson Petal and the White.
Profile Image for Cora Tea Party Princess.
1,323 reviews805 followers
May 15, 2017
5 Words: Art, passion, family, hardship, luxury.

What a glorious book.

First off, it has to be said that I love Marina Fiorato's books. I love reading her feisty female characters, seeing them stand on their own. And with Crimson & Bone I was not disappointed.

This is probably the darkest of the author's books so far, and it felt like there was something sinister lurking in the background of the story right from the start. Despite this darkness, there was always a shining thread of hope in the story, and the writing was gorgeously colourful and full of description. Each person and place came alive on the page.

I loved how the theme of disguise was explored, with every character and setting seemingly hiding something. No one character was truly reliable and it lent itself wonderfully to the growing feelings of dread and unease as the story progressed, even as the setting changed.

This is a deliciously complex story of Victorian London, and the art and beauty hiding just beneath the surface.
Profile Image for Louise.
415 reviews16 followers
May 16, 2017
Crimson and Bone’ can be summed up in several words it was Gothic,Dark, atmospheric and artistic.

I have never read a novel by Marina Fiorato so I wasn’t sure of what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. What drew me to this particular book was the setting and the concept, I love historical fiction especially the Victorian era.

This book was rich with atmosphere and descriptive writing that felt that you were alongside Annie through her journey. The characters were amazing, Annie is feisty but this comes with working the streets and survival. When she is given this incredible chance to change her life she grasps it with both hands and will do everything to make sure she doesn’t return to the streets. Francis her saviour seems to be the perfect gentleman, hiring her to become a model for his latest pieces is all that is required, but some things just don’t add up.

This book will have you on the edge of your seat, there is an underlying darkness to the plot that you will be aware of but just can’t put your finger on and will leave you guessing all the way through.

‘Crimson and Bone’ is a fantastic Historical Fiction novel set in Victorian London and Venice, which is full of art,deceit and hope.

Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for providing me with a copy of this book
Profile Image for booksofallkinds.
1,013 reviews160 followers
May 18, 2017
This was my first time reading a book by Marina Fiorato but it will certainly not be my last.

Straight away we are thrown into the story of Annie Stride, a prostitute in London in 1853, who has reached the point of desperation and is contemplating ending her life. Standing on the brink Annie is saved by an artist who sees something special about her and makes her his muse, catapulting her into a new world of beauty, art, and privilege. But all is not as it seems - a murderer is on the loose and they know who Annie is...

CRIMSON & BONE by Marina Fiorato develops at a good, steady pace with plenty of colour and vibrant description to really capture your imagination. Yet, always in the background, there is a sense of darkness and doom hovering, waiting for an opportunity to pounce, which adds a delicious edge to this tale.

Throughout the novel, I connected with the characters even though they all seem to have secrets to hide. Constantly questioning my opinions while reading, the ending leaves no stone unturned as surprising truths are revealed.

CRIMSON & BONE by Marina Fiorato is a compelling story of art, beauty, danger and lies, and I cannot wait to read everything this author has written so far. It is an exquisitely dark historical novel that will keep you gripped throughout.

*I voluntarily reviewed this book from the Publisher
Profile Image for Helen White.
783 reviews11 followers
September 18, 2019
Enjoyable dark novel about Pre-Raphaelite art. Annie Stride is a prostitute about to kill herself when Francis offers her salvation in the form of modelling for his paintings. He sets about improving her and moulding her into a respectable young woman but at what point is Annie allowed to live her own life and stop being grateful to her saviour.

I really enjoyed this, Annie is a believable character and when the novel takes a darker turn I really wanted her to succeed. Well worth reading if you're interested in Pre-Raphaelites at all.
Profile Image for Matt.
187 reviews3 followers
October 2, 2022
Horror can often be misconstrued as monsters, vampires, werewolves etc... when in fact I believe horror lives in the everyday, the decisions one makes that can have catastrophic circumstances for another, whether psychological or emotional.
I mention that because even without the obvious horror this book holds its strength lies in what it anticipates, what it holds back, what it builds so stunningly well.


A real treat.
Profile Image for Angela Smith.
417 reviews51 followers
June 17, 2017
I thought this was a clever idea for a story. I think the author has taken the name Annie Stride from Jack The Ripper lore although the real victim was Elizabeth Stride, but the first name was probably inspired by another ripper victim, Annie Chapman. (A sort of an amalgamation of two of his victims) Then there is Francis Maybrick Gill who is the strange Pre-Raphaelite painter. Surely his name is based upon James Maybrick , a Ripper suspect? Too many co-incidences in names for me unless I am seeing something that was not there, lol. It was those references that attracted me to read the book. However, I did read the author's enjoyable book, Beatrice and Benedick so I knew it would be worth reading.

This is a much darker story than the aforementioned book. Annie Stride is a young prostitute and tired of life, especially now that her only friend in the world (Mary Jane) is now dead. On a cold night, destitute, hungry and homeless, she stands on Waterloo Bridge, named The Bridge of Sighs like the one in Italy, but more for the fact it is a popular suicide site. As she is about to jump off, Annie is saved by a young, rich artist named Francis Maybrick Gill.

He takes Annie in, feeds and clothes her and molds her to his requirements, taking the dirt of the streets off her literally and in reforming her manners and expanding her knowledge. All she has to do in return for him is be his model for a series of paintings.

Time passes and Annie can tell all is not right with Francis, but she doesn't press too hard as she has secrets of her own that she is unable to share. They have to hastily relocate to Italy. Annie senses Francis is running away from something, something she begins to understand as time goes on and she begins to fear for her life. I liked the attention to detail, descriptions and colours as well as the art. It was a well written story and leaves you desperate for a happy ending for Annie who never really had a chance in life
Profile Image for Juliet Bookliterati.
434 reviews9 followers
May 18, 2017
Marina Fiorato is one of my favourite historical novelists. Her books regularly combine my favourite subjects; history, art and Italy all of which are part of Crimson & Bone. This book has a slightly darker, more gothic feel to it than her previous novels. To stay with an art metaphor this novel is like a Caravaggio painting; the light and focus draw your eye to the main characters but the darkness surrounding them is always threatening to encroach on them.

The plot is similar to Pygmalion in that Frances Maybrick Gill takes Annie and raises her up in society by teaching her how to behave, speak and act like a lady. As a character Frances seems the hero of this book in his saving Annie from her death and giving her a chance at a better life, but there is something that makes you feel uncomfortable, that he is not all that he seems.

Annie has a hard start to life, begging and stealing from when she was a child, but she hasn’t let it destroy her spirit. After her brush with death we see that her heart is in the right place and there is a warmth and gentleness to her character that evolves during the book. She also shows an aptitude for learning and is a willing student is her progression form prostitute to lady. It is from Annie’s perspective that the story is told, her progression in life and her feelings for Frances. As well as Annie, Mary Jane who was Annie’s best friend, opens each chapter telling her story leading up to her death.

Marina Fiorato’s writing is beautifully lyrical in her use of language. The prose flows seamlessly which makes it pleasurable and easy to read. Her descriptive writing of London, Florence and Venice is captivating, you are transported back to the mid nineteenth century with its sights, sounds and smells. I also enjoyed her evocation of the art works, both pre-Raphaelite and Renaissance. Through language she brought the paintings to life which isn’t easy, which enriched the reading experience. If you are interested you can of course look up the paintings on the Internet, but remember Francis Maybrick Gill is a fictional character although his subject matter was commonly painted by other artists.

The Crimson & Bone is an erudite and exquisite read. Full of detail with a plot that will keep you engaged from the first page to the last. This is historical fiction at its best.
Profile Image for Clare.
410 reviews42 followers
May 18, 2017
This review was originally posted at Dual Reads
Copy received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I've been a fan of Marina Fiorato for a long, long time. I've read and loved every one of her books and I can confidently say that this is her best yet! This was compelling and dark and so, so tense right from the start and I was hooked from page one right to the end.

Annie was such a wonderful character, full of self-doubt and with a dark past and all of her actions were so understandable. I could feel her anxiety not to return to her old life, I could understand her desperation and her willingness to give Frances whatever he wanted so that she could hang on to security. I can't remember the last time I was this entranced by a character. Frances of course is slightly more complicated but the progression of his character development or rather the revelation of his character was so thoroughly fascinating and realistic.

Marina Fiorato is as good at writing settings as she is people - which means they feel alive! London and Venice are both cities I know and love and she brought them to life expertly, whilst Florence is somewhere I haven't yet been but she made me love it! It's so easy to get lost in her books because they feel so real and alive - everything is tangible and exciting and you just want to keep turning the pages indefinitely.

It's hard to know how to talk about the plot without giving something away - and I don't want to do that because the darkness at the centre is best discovered on your own. But - imagine My Fair Lady but way creepier and more intense. I started with relief and then progressed to this niggling unease like something was going to go bad soon and then slow dawning horror and finally a tense finale. It was just so wonderfully crafted.

At the beginning of each chapter you get a small snippet from Mary Jane's point of view - Mary Jane being a friend of Annie's who committed suicide shortly before the novel begins. These were the parts that caused my unease the most and definitely added to the eeriness and the sadness of the book. It also let you get to know Annie from someone else's eyes - someone who had loved her and seen the good in her in a way that Annie couldn't.

Overall this novel just stunned me. Everything from characters to plot to writing to the atmosphere was about as close to perfect as a book can get. I definitely recommend this to anyone who loves historical fiction or dark stories although it might not be for those who dislike profanity or sexual content (which you probably already gathered from the blurb).

Trigger Warnings:
Profile Image for Aybi.
27 reviews1 follower
May 12, 2023
This was definitely a treat, a mystery, dark, eerie novel that I had been craving. I have to say the ending was pretty predictable, but still, it was enjoyable. I would recommend this to anyone who loves an excellent powerful female protagonist novel with some mystery.
Profile Image for Brittany (Lady Red).
253 reviews26 followers
May 20, 2020
I was right and I hate being able to guess an ending like that-pet peeve. The writing was beautiful though so if that doesn’t bother you I still recommend.
Profile Image for Julie Cohen.
Author 65 books551 followers
April 10, 2017
A luscious jewel of a novel, full of colour, desire and danger.
Profile Image for Karen Keane.
848 reviews2 followers
June 21, 2017
It's the first time I have read a book by Marina Fiorato but I will definitely be reading another one. I loved the book from start till finish. It is a dark, brooding book about Annie a prostitute in the 1850's, who becomes an artists muse. I loved Annie as a character and enjoyed the way we saw a whole new world opening before her eyes, but all is not what it seems and there is always danger lurking in the background.
Profile Image for Louise Morris.
233 reviews1 follower
July 21, 2017
Another great book! Like the first book of her' s I read, it is involving a fallen woman who redeems herself in the end.
Profile Image for Sarah.
128 reviews4 followers
January 2, 2021
I picked this book up from the library on a whim due to a lovely cover and an intriguing title. I had never heard of the book or the author for that matter and I am so glad I decided to read something new. It was a dark, gothic read full of atmosphere and intrigue.

The story set in 1853 follow the story of prostitute Annie Stride who is about to plunge to her death over Waterloo Bridge. She is saved in the nick of time by a Pre-Raphaelite artist, Francis Maybrick Gill who takes her in as his muse. He cares for her, feeds and dresses her and in return she poses for his paintings. This is a life so vastly different from the seedy streets of London that Annie starts to fall into a deep infatuation with Francis. However, as the story unfolds Francis becomes more mysterious and more possessive of Annie, who starts to fear and dislike Francis, but in order to continue with the life ahe is now living, she must meet his demands.

The novel went from salvation story to psychological thriller very quickly. It showed how class doesn't mean better. Although a major theme in this book is prostitution, there are no sex scenes, so if you aren't into that side of things in a book there is no need to worry here. It is very much implied and one particular scene involving Annie as a child may be a trigger to some.
443 reviews57 followers
February 13, 2023
This was a good read. I loved the Victorian time period and how the author detailed the disparity between the high and low classes. This was the tale of the attractive Annie Stride, a low-born prostitute, who has recently found herself both pregnant, homeless and penniless. At the beginning of the novel, she is standing on a bridge ready to throw herself in the river below. She feels sunk so low and realizes that a baby is the worst possible thing that could happen to her. But then a gentleman grabs her arm and pulls her away.
He introduces himself as an artist, Francis Maybrick Gill, and he appears legitimately concerned for Annie's welfare. He asks to pay for her time and accompany him somewhere and if she still wants to kill herself, he will bring her back to the bridge. Annie agrees. Francis takes her to a museum to see a series of paintings that he created concerning the lower classes of society. Francis is part of the pre-Raphaelite group of artists who believe in capturing realism. On observing one of his paintings, she realizes that it depicts her best friend - when she was found floating in the river Thames.
Francis is taken by Annie's situation and her beauty and sees her as a muse. He offers her lodging, food, clothes, and tutoring in return for her modeling for him. She readily agrees. The first night there she loses her baby in a miscarriage and Annie mourns the child. Once Annie has recovered, she is able to start her modeling sessions. She poses as different fallen women throughout history, starting with Eve. Their relationship feels strange to Annie, who is accustomed to men's lustful desires. Francis never makes any demands upon her body, instead she must offer her gratitude. This is most important and Annie learns when to soothe his ego by telling him she would be nothing without him. Francis enjoys teaching her to speak properly, appreciate art, read literature, - all in the service of making her the perfect specimen for him.
But there is something creepy about Francis in his hands-off approach and his need to feel revered. There is an underlying uneasiness in his interactions with Annie, but she is more fearful of being tossed back to the gutter at his whim. This reads like the precursors to domestic violence or coercive control in that Annie feels beholden to Francis, but at the same time trapped and lonely. She tries to force herself to feel things for him that she does not and ignore things that she should not. Then while on their sojourn to Florence, Annie meets the "Rainbow Man", who sells Francis paint, and her feelings are upended. Then the tension begins.. especially when Annie and the Rainbow Man pose for the painting of Mary Magdalene and Jesus.
Enjoyed this very much and could understand Annie's motives. I will read another by this author.
Profile Image for Sofia.
35 reviews4 followers
August 30, 2019
I started this book with the best intentions because it promised really well: a woman protagonist, England and Italy from the mid-800s, art, mystery ...
On page 53 my only wish is to launch it in the Thames. The protagonist, Annie, is a prostitute of about eighteen years who is saved (?) by Francis, a painter, while he is about to commit suicide. I don't know what problems these two have, but they are sure to have been found each other. She does nothing but repeat that she is "The Queen of Sheba" when she probably doesn't even know who she is; she seems shy, delicate, when a girl who has run away from home as a child should at least be strong and independent. On certain things she is extremely modest and this is ridiculous (at one point she says she finds INDECENT taking a bath naked ???? A prostitute ??????? How should you wash yourself otherwise ?????). He seems constantly on drugs, he is dull and disturbing. She says something with a minimum of logical sense and he caresses her face in an adoring way ("to make sure it was real" pah) saying "Yes Annie ... yes you're right ..."; he leaves the sentences in half and even he is extremely modest. I honestly only hope that he turns out to be a sociopath / murderer and that she somehow has to run away because oh my god if these two are not a gripe.
The author tries to make us empathize with the protagonist, telling us about her past and the unpleasant things that happen to her, but the truth is that I don't feel any closeness with her. None. He stands there trying at all costs to appear strong, but for what? *
I will arrive to page 100, maybe. Hoping it gets better, otherwise goodbye goodbye, life is too short to read bad books.


*At one point she is posing for a painting and her arm starts to hurt and she thinks "no, I must not show my weakness, I am more than this, I am like the Queen of Sheba" WHAT !! You're POSING for a FRIEND you don't have to prove anything to anyone. Jesus.
Profile Image for Erica.
116 reviews
June 27, 2023
3.5 rounded up.
Some good moments, some great moments. I'm not sure precisely why, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. For a short book (my version had 266 pages) this took an age to read!

The plot was good, and the tension was slowly wound up towards the end, yet the pay off of the final meeting was less impressive and impactful than promised. The gothic horror was there in spades though and much appreciated!
I also liked the author's parallels between Annie's experience with Francis and La Dame Aux Camellias, and the way Fiorato wove the novel into her own as an important plot device and almost a character unto itself.

A good proportion of the tension is created from the reader's knowledge of Francis's true character, although the details are left to the end. We have to watch Annie making bad decisions and be frustrated - if it were a film we would be yelling 'run!!!' at the screen.

One plot point: it is mentioned many times how close Annie and Mary Jane were, therefore it is hard to believe that she didn't tell her she was modelling for an artist at all, even if she didn't mention his name. She would be encouraging Annie to seek out this alternative to their sex work, rather than hiding it. But, of course, if she had done that, then Annie would have realised from the first night that Mary Jane had known Francis and the story wouldn't have happened. Thus some small measure of disbelief is necessary, but the rest plays out well.

In general this book is a credible gothic horror, with elements of DuMaurier's Rebecca, Leroux's Phantom of the Opera, Hitchcock's Psycho, and of course, Dumas's La Dame Aux Camellias, all set between the swirling fog of grimy Victorian London and the sultry golden Tuscan sun.
Profile Image for Samantha (A Dream of Books).
1,168 reviews104 followers
May 19, 2017
I am always eager to read anything by Marina Fiorato because her stories are captivating and her writing is beautifully lyrical and descriptive. Her newest offering, ‘Crimson and Bone’, was a real treat and I devoured it in a couple of evenings.

The story focuses on a common prostitute, Annie Stride, who at the beginning of the book is ready to end it all. Life has not been kind to her and down on her luck, she decides that she doesn’t want to live anymore. Events however, take a different turn, when she is saved by a handsome painter, Francis Maybrick Gill, who offers her comfort and safety in return for her becoming his model.

At the beginning of each chapter, Annie’s story is accompanied by that of Mary Jane who was Annie’s best friend. At the start of the book, I wasn’t entirely sure why this was included, but as Annie’s story progresses, it made a lot more sense and all the threads of their stories wove together brilliantly at the end.

My favourite part of the book was actually the beginning which was set in London. It was interesting to see Annie adjust to her new surroundings and gradually become more refined under Francis’s tutelage. She revels in no longer having to share her body with a man and in being protected by someone with seemingly pure and good motives. The other two parts of the book are set in Florence and Venice. I could sense Marina Fiorato’s love of these places in the way the language of the book flowed so easily in these sections and in the way she described Annie’s surroundings.

The tension built throughout as the story headed towards a revealing and shocking finale. I was utterly gripped until the final page as revelations about the main characters come to light. Overall, 'Crimson and Bone' was a hugely entertaining read and one that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend.
Profile Image for Angela L.
318 reviews4 followers
June 6, 2017
What a fabulous read this is. Annie Stride is a beautiful fame haired woman but, thanks to an impoverished childhood and deeply unpleasant father, she is now working as a prostitute in London. She has teamed up with a new friend, Mary Jane, and the girls are getting by. Then Mary Jane drowns and Annie (finding she is pregnant) decides to follow her and jump into the Thames from Waterloo Bridge. She is saved by Francis, an up and coming painter who re-invents her. She becomes his muse and follows him from London to Florence and Venice.
Is Francis as altruistic as he seems though? Whilst she has a comfortable existence now she has no real idea of who Francis is, his past remains a mystery. As the book develops it seems clear that Francis is perhaps not what he seems and may be hiding a dangerous secret.
This book is really absorbing and I finished it within a couple of days as I really didn't want to put it down. Lush descriptions of the good and bad of London and Italy really draw you into the story and I was sorry when it ended. I shall definitely seek out other works by this author.
July 18, 2019
Enjoyable book- I especially liked the Pre Raphaelite element as it’s my favourite art movement.
Enjoyed the character of Annie and thought that the Victorian concept of ‘the fallen woman’ was explored nicely. The Rainbow man was swoony, and actually (shock horror) respected women.
Throughout the book, I imagined Annie as looking like the model from Millais’ painting ‘The Bridesmaid’- lo and behold, in the author’s note Fiorato revealed that this painting was the inspiration for Annie’s character and looks.
My only problem with the book is that cremation (I think) was illegal in Victorian England, which means that a relatively significant plot point couldn’t have actually happened, which is a shame as I thought the author did an otherwise great job in portraying the time period accurately.
Profile Image for Dramatika.
691 reviews45 followers
May 26, 2017
It is nothing like The Crimson Petal and The White, which is exceptional novel like no other. This book is an entertaining historical thriller, with exciting hints at Jack the Ripper crimes. There is a mysterious artist who paints fallen girls in vivid scenes, one of the Pre Raphaelites group. If you ever seen paintings from this movement, you will be able to imagine bold colors and amazing poetry of these works which add a special oomph to the reading. I've been to the exhibition of this group a few years ago and still remember the impression of fairy tales in bright colors and presice drawing work. The book reminded me a little bit of Painted Girls, although here the ending and a heroind is too conventional. Great read for the plane or a beach.
Profile Image for Angela.
2,451 reviews4 followers
December 16, 2019
2.5/5. It was a fairly entertaining novel but at times its really slow paced. There were some interesting things that were going on but there were some serious historical inaccuracies, gramophone records for example weren't around until another 70 years and a play that she was taken to see would appear on stage for the first time only in 1913. There could have been other inaccuracies that I never noticed but these two were the ones that stood out. The only reason why I know these two facts is from a hardcore gramophone/records hobbyist and a University English Literature class. While the story does have flaws it was a decent enough story and I did care about the main character which is more than I can say about some other books I've recently read.
3 reviews2 followers
July 22, 2017
A good and interesting story to start with, utterly ruined by several glaring inaccuracies. It's set in England and Italy in 1853, and so far the heroine has listened to gramophone records more than forty years before their invention, gone to the theatre to see a performance of 'Pygmalion' written by Shaw a full two years before he was even a twinkle in his daddy's eye, and someone's ashes are carried around thirty years before cremation became legal. If you're going to write a historical novel, please, at least have the courtesy to your readers not to make such massive errors, and being a history graduate makes your mistakes inexcusable. Not sure if I'm going to bother to finish it.
Profile Image for Helen Murray.
118 reviews3 followers
July 28, 2017
Fascinating example of Neo-Victorian Pre-Raphaelitism. Fiorato is obviously heavily influenced by the Gothic style. Consequently in parts, the novel is somewhat histrionic, and heavy-handed with the Neo-Victorian tropes. However, a great deal of research has evidently gone into this book, and it makes some very intriguing points about the role of art, Pre-Raphaelite art in particular, and the contemporary reader's vision of the nineteenth century through such works.
Profile Image for Susan Leona Fisher.
Author 38 books74 followers
October 1, 2018
Right from the start the reader knows something’s amiss with Maybrick the artist, who’s too perfect to be true when he rescues Annie from throwing herself in the Thames and takes her home to be his model for a series of paintings of fallen women. It takes a trip to Italy before we and she find out the awful truth. Well written, dropping the clues to dark deeds cleverly as we begin to get the picture, and the author uses her extensive knowledge of the art world to great effect.
Profile Image for Emilie de Saint Martin.
164 reviews33 followers
September 9, 2020
I didn't know what I was expecting with that book and I sure wasn't expecting what I got, but it's been an even more wonderful journey because of it. I was scared to find a simple historical romance overlooking the abuse of power in the relationship between the two main characters and what I found instead was an ode to womanhood, a bone chilling crime story, and a work of art in its depiction of scenes and characters. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Jo.
3,374 reviews124 followers
June 2, 2017
Annie is a prostitute in Victorian London. She's about to throw herself off a bridge when a young gentleman rescues her and takes her home. And so begins her relationship with Pre-Raphaelite painter Francis Maybrick Gill. Loved the dark tone and mystery of this as well as the settings in London and Italy.
Profile Image for Brittany Wouters.
209 reviews1 follower
October 5, 2017
Fan-freaking-tastic! Loved it; it's a creeping, atmospheric piece, with interesting characters and a vibrant world. Mary Jane's story being filtered in slowly just added to the unsettling nature of the plot, and it was just so very good. I haven't really liked Fiorato's previous books, I've read one or two, not really my cup of tea, but this? WOW. 5/5 from me; a polished novel, excellent.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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