This book was written in 1722 and was incredibly daring for its time. Many people still find it risque. It is now regarded as an early feminist work, since it openly discusses gender inequities and the problems of prostitution and abortion: matters which absolutely could not be talked about in the 18th century. In the 18th century, it was not possible for a lady to get a husband without being in possession of landed property or other forms of property. Women were responsible for the payment of their dowry. For this reason, Moll needs to have cash, bonds or landed property in order to get married. Since she is not rich, she pretends to men that she has money so that she can seduce them. She has bad experiences with men and does prison time, leading a hard life, but she never succumbs to bitterness, and the novel even ends on a very happy note. If you missed it in English class (and if you were home schooled, you probably did) you should read it now, especially with the excellent forward by professor James Sutherland.
Oh, that Moll...scrapes, predicaments, scandals, triumph...all these define her life. From her beginnings as an orphan whose mother birthed her in prison, to her eventual success as an adult, with five marriages in between, Moll ends up a better person than she started out as, that's for sure.
I had trouble getting into the book, but once I got used to the language, after about three chapters, it turned out to be quite the exciting story. You root for Moll the entire time, even when she's doing bad things. I love characters like that.
A good read full of twists and turns and a great female character.