What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

Dara
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SOLVED: Adult Fiction > SOLVED. Regency, not a "romance" novel, about a woman who becomes very successful as a prostitute/courtesan [s]

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Tess | 439 comments I feel like the book had the woman's name in it, like "Gemma" or something. She was a farm girl and fell in love with her neighbor, who I think was married. Once they had sex, for some reason she had to leave. So she moved into a hotel and guys really liked her and she made some money. It goes through a lot of the men she met and all of her ups and downs in a prostitute life. I think in the end she was a courtesan for someone famous, like the Prince of Wales or someone?
It was set, I think, in the 1800's. I remember they kept calling a woman's vagina a "giny" and I thought that was really weird.

I don't know if it would be considered erotica. It wasn't as graphic as something like Ann Rice's Sleeping Beauty stories, but it wasn't a romance novel either.

Thanks for the help!


message 2: by Jena (new)

Jena | 40 comments Not Fanny Hill you're thinking of, is it?


message 3: by Sue (new)

Sue Elleker | 766 comments Or Forever Amber?


message 4: by Shanna_redwind (new)

Shanna_redwind | 859 comments I thought of Fanny Hill when I read your description as well.


Tess | 439 comments Thank you, but I don't think it's either of them, although they both sounds similar to what I remember. I don't remember it being in first person (Fanny Hill is). Also i don't remember her having one "great Love" like Forever Amber. Goodreads has Fanny Hill available for reading, so I'm going to skim through it, but from the first chapter it doesn't sound right already.


Tess | 439 comments OK, so checking Forever Amber out of the library, but after skimming through "Fanny Hill" I know it is NOT that one. I don't think it was told in first person, and she didn't work in a brothel at all. she was more freelance... :)


Thanks for your continued help!



semi-graphic other things I remember included below...





- she liked to be "on top" with the guys she slept with
- she met a dwarf who told her it wasn't how long it was, it's how thick a guy is that matters
- she uses a vinegar soaked sponge to prevent pregnancy
- she ends up marrying a guy who is rich, but actually likes men. he thought he loved her and was "cured" because he was able to have sex with her once. they got married, he realized he still likes men, she becomes a rich estranged wife


Tess | 439 comments Nope, not Forever Amber and not Fanny Hill. Thanks for those suggestions - those are along the lines of the book I remember


message 9: by Jenna (new)

Jenna I thought of Fanny Hill too. Maybe Moll Flanders but that seems unlikely.


message 10: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments I'll check out those two, thank you!


message 11: by Andria (new)

Andria (airdna) | 2500 comments Mod
Also, Too Great A Lady: The Notorious, Glorious Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton comes to mind. I don't think it's it, because you said your book isn't written in first-person and I believe this is. But "Emma" kind of matches your memory of "Gemma"in the title -- and she becomes the courtesan of, and later marries, Lord Nelson....so I'm throwing it out there in case it triggers something for someone.


message 12: by Moloch (new)

Moloch | 275 comments Andria wrote: "Maybe The Crimson Petal and the White?"

I don't think that's it, judging from the OP's description. There is indeed a prostitute, but the plot is completely different.


message 13: by Andria (new)

Andria (airdna) | 2500 comments Mod
Yeah, now that I look back at the plot of Crimson Petal, I don't really think that's it, either. It's been so long since I read it I had forgotten the exact plot. Oh well.

I also don't think it's In the Company of the Courtesan but I'm going to mention it anyway, since the OP mentioned a dwarf.


message 14: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments oh my goodness! Andria, the Too Great A Lady book sounds like it might be right! I have to check it out and I'll get back to you.

The description for In the Company of the Courtesan doesn't sound right to me, and I think the book I'm looking for is older.


message 15: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments Ok, thanks but it was not Fanny Hill for sure, or Too Great a Lady. Any other suggestions?

I think that the cover of the book I read was mostly light blue and white with a woman on it


message 16: by HJ (last edited Oct 07, 2012 04:04AM) (new)

HJ I wondered if it might have been Shamela or The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, or something by Eliza Haywood. It sounds as though it might be a book actually written in the seventeenth or eighteenth century (hence the earlier suggestions of Fanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, I suspect).

Despite searching around among novels by Fielding and Hayward I'm afraid I can't identify your book. I thought that it was worth mentioning my suspicion that it might be an early novel in case that reminded you of, say, a book you had to read for a particular class or course.


message 17: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments Thanks for the added suggestions, Hj. I am going to keep searching. Maybe people can suggest good lists of erotica or historical literature to look through?

Thanks!


message 18: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments I have found several books that sound correct, but then reading the synopsis on Wikipedia or in Goodreads they turn out not to be the one I'm looking for.
Does anyone have a suggestion for finding a list of novels that might be like this?

Thanks!


message 20: by Andria (last edited Nov 21, 2012 06:29AM) (new)

Andria (airdna) | 2500 comments Mod
Since Too Great a Lady sounded almost right, I'm thinking your book could be another fictional retelling of Emma Hamilton's life. Maybe The Magnificent Courtesan. It was originally published in UK as Our Dearest Emma.

Also, Emma: the lives and loves of Emma, Lady Hamilton by Molly Graham. I couldn't find it on goodreads, though.


message 21: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments Thank you, Athena & Andria. I'll check the lists out and the book suggestions


message 22: by Andria (last edited Nov 29, 2012 02:08PM) (new)

Andria (airdna) | 2500 comments Mod
Another possibility: Fanny: Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones by Erica Jong. First published 1980. It's a sort of feminist parody/retelling of Fanny Hill, which might explain the similarities.

AND - I just did a little more digging and she does use a sea-sponge soaked in vinegar as birth control.

edit: but I don't think she was a farm girl, either. Hmmmm.


message 23: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (jessdaygeorge) | 155 comments The Slammerkin?


message 24: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments I'll check out both of those!


message 25: by Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (last edited Nov 29, 2012 03:15AM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (themis-athena) | 71 comments Jessica wrote: "The Slammerkin?"

From the description given, I doubt it -- that book's heroine ends up (view spoiler), not becoming a celebrity's mistress ...

ETA: also, she's not a farm girl but a girl from one of London's poor neighborhoods.


message 26: by Beebs (new)

Beebs (yvond) | 113 comments Possibly a biography of Prinny's mistress Mary Robinson AKA Perdita, she wrote her memoirs too, Memoirs of Mary Robinson: Perdita or a contemporary of hers Harriet Wilson??? I can't find a link for Harriet Wilson but I know she wrote her memoirs.


message 27: by HJ (new)

HJ Beebs wrote: "Possibly a biography of Prinny's mistress Mary Robinson AKA Perdita, she wrote her memoirs too, Memoirs of Mary Robinson: Perdita or a contemporary of hers Harriet Wilson??? I can't find a link for..."

I'm sure it is Harriette Wilson! Harriette Wilson's Memoirs: The Greatest Courtesan of Her Age


message 28: by Andria (new)

Andria (airdna) | 2500 comments Mod
I don't know about Harriette Wilson. She was also not a farm girl, her father owned a shop in Mayfair. But if you want to check, her original memoir is available in full-text online here: http://archive.org/details/memoirsofh...

The edition linked above is an edited version, I believe.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (themis-athena) | 71 comments Maybe "the other woman" in the Duke of Devonshire's life, Elizabeth "Bess" Foster? She had a bit of a "checkered" past if memory serves, and was living in a hotel (in Bath, I believe) when the Devonshires first came across her. She is dealt with extensively in Amanda Foreman's bio of the Duke's "legitimate" (though herself likewise rather scandalous) wife, Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire; I don't know whether anybody ever wrote a bio of Bess Foster, too, though -- and she herself had every reason not to go too public with the, by prevailing moral standards, rather salacious details of her life.

Another woman with at least a potential rural background was the Merry Monarch's (Charles II's) favorite mistress, Nell Gwynne. I'm aware of several bios about her
Nell Gwyn
Nell Gwyn: Mistress to a King
Nell Gwynne: A Passionate Life,
and there are also a number of novels
The King's Favorite: A Novel of Nell Gwyn and King Charles II
The Darling Strumpet: A Novel of Nell Gwynn, Who Captured the Heart of England and King Charles II,
The Fabulous Nell Gwynne
Nell Gwynne's Scarlet Spy
The Women of Nell Gwynne's,
though I don't think she ever wrote an autobiography.


message 30: by HJ (new)

HJ There is a book about Elizabeth "Bess" Foster. It was originally published in 1955, but a new edition has been published recently: Dearest Bess - Elizabeth Duchess of Devonshire.

(I think I've read another one, but perhaps it was this one in another edition.)


message 31: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments oooh you two are pretty awesome! I will check through these titles. Thanks Hj and Themis-Athena!


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (themis-athena) | 71 comments Hj wrote: "There is a book about Elizabeth "Bess" Foster. It was originally published in 1955, but a new edition has been published recently: Dearest Bess - Elizabeth Duchess of Devonshire.

(I think I've read another one, but perhaps it was this one in another edition.)"


Interesting! Looked it up on Amazon -- did the edition you read look anything like this?
http://www.amazon.com/Dearest-Bess-Af...


message 33: by HJ (new)

HJ Themis-Athena wrote: "Interesting! Looked it up on Amazon -- did the edition you read look anything like this?..."

No - I thought it was a completely different book, possibly published around the early 2000s. The cover was a painting from the 1800s, or part of it.


message 34: by HJ (new)

HJ I think the cover was the picture at the bottom left of this blog-post (which gives a slightly biased version of her life)! http://georgianaduchessofdevonshire.b...


message 35: by HJ (new)

HJ Found it!! (and I was right about the cover, as you can see from the Amazon link - it doesn't seem to be on GR). Elizabeth and Georgiana http://www.amazon.co.uk/Elizabeth-Geo...


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (themis-athena) | 71 comments Wow. So now all we need is to find the book Tess is looking for (or find out whether we've already found it)! :)


message 37: by HJ (new)

HJ Themis-Athena wrote: "Wow. So now all we need is to find the book Tess is looking for (or find out whether we've already found it)! :)"

Yes. We digress - or maybe we don't!


message 38: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments ^_^ again, you two rock. I have a few of those books you listed on hold at the library, so just waiting to get them. Some of them are old, though, and I might be able to get them through inter library loan, but not sure.
The book I am looking for is a novel, so some of the suggested books aren't right, but if it was about Nell or Bess, maybe a biography would point me in the right direction for finding the novel.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (themis-athena) | 71 comments Hj wrote: "Themis-Athena wrote: "Wow. So now all we need is to find the book Tess is looking for (or find out whether we've already found it)! :)"

Yes. We digress - or maybe we don't!"


I don't think we do ... In any event, I'm enjoying this tremendously!


message 40: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments Bump? I don't think it was about a real person


message 41: by Andria (new)

Andria (airdna) | 2500 comments Mod
Dang, none of those were the one? I was really excited when I found the bit about the vinegar-soaked sea sponge in the Erica Jong book - thought for sure that was it. Bummer. I'll keep an eye out for any other possibilities.


message 42: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments Actually, just reading the goodreads description I didn't even try that one. I have it ordered from the library now.


message 43: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments Andria, its not Fanny by Erica Jong. I am pretty sure it was told in third person, and I really dont remember such graphic sex scenes.


message 44: by Andria (new)

Andria (airdna) | 2500 comments Mod
Dang! This one has me flummoxed. I'll keep my eyes open for anything else that might fit. Have you mentioned when you read the book or when it may have been published?


message 45: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments Andria wrote: "Dang! This one has me flummoxed. I'll keep my eyes open for anything else that might fit. Have you mentioned when you read the book or when it may have been published?"

I'm pretty sure it was in 1998 - 2001. I read it I think in High School after finding it at the library booksale. I remember liking the title and not realizing it was so much about sex. Thereafter I hid it in case my mother started browsing my bookshelf. I am not sure about publication at all.
It was hardcover with a blue dust jacket and I think a woman on the front but I can't remember if she was clothed or naked, or what she was wearing.


message 46: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Love | 1077 comments I'm guessing that the woman on the cover was clothed, or you might have guessed that it was "about sex."


message 47: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments yeah, but she might have been drapped with cloth ala a renaissance painting rather than fully clothed


message 48: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 606 comments this sounds familar - lemme see if i can find on my shelf of books - I remember a cover vaguely like that


message 49: by Tess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Tess | 439 comments Dee wrote: "this sounds familar - lemme see if i can find on my shelf of books - I remember a cover vaguely like that"

I look forward to this, Dee, it's been bugging me!

The awful thing is, I don't remember it being that great of a story. I just really want to know what the heck I read in High School :p


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