In 1830s England, a self-proclaimed doomsday prophet requests seven virgins "for comfort and succour." The story of his unusual household is told from the perspectives of four of these "virgins": the ambitious Leah; the saintly Joanna; the skeptical Hannah; and the much abused Martha. A gripping, intellectually satisfying, emotionally unspairing story about faith, desire, ideals and betrayal.
I've heard great things about this book, and saw some of the stories that were adapted for HBO. However, I struggled with reading it and didn't finish. Maybe it was just too heavy, maybe the transitions were hard to follow, or maybe I don't have the concentration necessary to stick with it. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll tell you that I work 60 hours a week and read maybe a half-hour a day before bed to unwind. In those little short bursts of attention, I rarely can remember complicated storylines or details about characters. I am sure this is not the book's fault! In fact, I am certain that I am not the target audience. What kept happening was I would pick up the book after having only read 20 pages the day before, and would have to backtrack and re-read parts of it because I would forget the setting or forget whose voice this particular chapter was in. Also, one of the characters that does some of the storytelling is mentally challenged, so the parts that were from her point of view were deliberately difficult to read. I am sure this is an excellent book for people with more mental energy and concentration than I have, and I'll stick with the lighter stuff. Understanding that I am not the kind of reader this book was written for, I thought it might still be useful if I weighed in with a review, just in case I can let someone know who might have a similar situation as mine. If you are at all in a situation like mine, I would suggest "The Devil Wears Prada", "The Nanny Diaries", "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and other similar lightweight material. Hope this helps!