This is one of those books you will either love or hate. It is a very depressing book about a very depressing time. I found the history fascinating and the story boring. I had very little empathy for the main characters other than the poor fiance of Dr. Chivers. I did learn some history, but otherwise.. a waste.
Beautifully written but a little lacking in plot, I felt. Historically, it was fascinating. Although the main character is a prostitute, I felt there were parts that were unneccessarily and almost gratuitously crude. Also, the voice was a little hard to get used to at first, it begins in second person. Overall, worth reading for the insight into the history and for the artistic writing style but not for an overwhelmingly great plot.
I enjoyed this read...a very dark, haunting original and richly written novel about the Cholera epidemic in London in the 1830's. Gustine, the main character was gritty, intelligent and wise beyond her young 15 years. The style of writing was unique and the book grips you from the first page.
Finished reading this today and I was pleasantly surprised. Although the writing style of Holman - speaking in the 2nd person - was a little disconcerting at first, you get used to it as the story progresses. The story was very captivating and disturbing about the life of a young prostitute during the Cholera epidemic of 1831. Gustine is a "dress lodger" -- a prostitute who rents a dress from her landlord and then sells herself on the street. Interwoven into the novel is the story of Dr. Henry Chivers, a doctor who specializes in anatomy and his quest for human cadavers to further his studies and teachings. Gustine crosses paths with Dr. Chivers on her quest to save her infant son who was born with his heart outside his body. Holman excellently captures the superstitions of the times as the cholera epidemic affects the people of the town. She really delves into the depressing conditions during that time period and the inhumanities of man. Overall, an excellent read!
Could not get into it, so I did not finish it. I recommend the Crimson Petal and the White or Slammerkin instead.