I've always enjoyed a good re-imagining of a classic story; whether based on a legendary myth or a popular work of fiction, I really love when a writer tackles the often difficult task of breathing new life into a well-known tale. Kenneth Oppel does so with expert finesse in This Dark Endeavour (HarperCollins Canada). The story is a prequel to the popular classic novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley; it follows the adolescent Victor Frankenstein in the events that propel him on the dark path that will lead to the creation of his infamous monster.

Victor and Konrad Frankenstein are twin brothers who, along with their distant cousin Elizabeth and best friend Henry, get up to all kinds of mischievous adventures on the grounds of Castle Frankenstein. When Konrad falls deathly ill and no doctor is able to find a cure, it is up to the other three to take drastic measures to save his life. Konrad enters the forbidden Dark Library, hidden in the basement of Castle Frankenstein, and finds the recipe for an ancient alchemical potion called The Elixir of Life. With help from Elizabeth and Henry, Victor must embark on a series of harrowing tasks to gather the necessary ingredients for the Elixir, before it is too late.

This book was so much fun to read; not only is it adventurous and fast-paced but the storytelling is really detailed. The plot progresses quickly and Oppel weaves in details through Victor's narrative in a way that really worked for me. Victor makes for a fascinating protagonist; he is a bit of an anti-hero and at times his behaviour is deplorable, but I still found myself rooting for him. He has some pretty fantastic moments of bravery and selflessness that help to prove his heart is ultimately in the right place (for now). I felt Oppel really hit the nail on the head when it came to striking the balance between Victor's good and evil sides.

This Dark Endeavour is one of my favourite reads so far this year; the gothic style, the historic setting and a compelling narrator all make for a really engrossing book. Though it does have the quick pace and plot-driven writing style common in contemporary YA fiction (one of the many reasons I love reading teen novels), for me there was a lot of complexity written between the lines in this book. The sequel entitled Such Wicked Intent is due out at the end of this summer and I plan to head out to my local bookstore that very day so I can get right back into the story.
I have been MIA from my blog for a couple weeks, due to the hectic and beautiful thing I call my life. A lot has been happening in my world in the last little bit that has kept me preoccupied, both literally and mentally/emotionally. I had an interview for a really great publishing job in Toronto, finished up my internship at First Book Canada (no more long commuting!) and upon hearing not a peep about the job I was waiting on, decided I wanted to put my energy into another option I'd been toying with for some time: moving to the wonderful city of Kingston, ON.

My boyfriend Jess got a really great job in Kingston back in January. We both finished school around the same time so we were in the same boat when it came to looking for work, and I am so proud of him for finding a job in his field. Of course, I was living in Guelph and commuting to my internship in Mississauga everyday, so this meant a lot of time apart. We've been in a long distance relationship for about a year and we are both ready for that to come to an end. So, when it seemed I hadn't gotten the job and my internship was finishing up, I decided to move to Kingston so I could be with the love of my life. 

It was a hard decision because 95% of publishing jobs are in Toronto so for me, a move to Kingston means that for the next little while, I likely won't be working in publishing. That isn't to say that Kingston doesn't have a vibrant literary scene; there are two wonderful independent bookstores (one new and one used), the Kingston Writers Festival, a lot of writers who call Kingston home, an awesome Bookmark featuring the Bronwen Wallace poem "Mexican Sunsets" and from what I can tell, a wonderful community of avid readers. So, being the glass half-full kinda gal that I am, I look forward to all the exciting things waiting for me in Kingston; be they literary or otherwise.

So, that is what has been occupying my time. I am in Kingston now, looking for work, trying to find an apartment and just strolling around the city I'll hopefully be calling home. As for this blog, I've got a review coming up soon, an exciting (well, I think it is exciting) addition to my booklists and other bloggish-type fun. 

Thanks for reading!

This book blew my mind. Those five words sum up my feelings towards The Night Circus (Random House) by Erin Morgenstern so perfectly that I could just leave my review at that. However, I don't think that would be very satisfying for those reading my blog so I'll do my best to add a few more thoughts.When I first heard of this book I was so excited, it sounded absolutely magical and it was getting all kinds of crazy good reviews. Then, two of my friends read it, and both stated that it was over hyped and didn't live up to their expectations. I began to worry that I wasn't going to enjoy it either; we have similar reading tastes so it was a good possibility. I should never have worried though because I fell head over heels in love with this book.

The Night Circus tells the story of Le Cirque des Rêves, a mysterious traveling circus that is only open at night. It is full of magical wonderment, unlike any circus that has ever been seen before, and continually dazzles the audience night after night. The circus is really a front for an intense competition between two young magicians, Marco and Celia, who have been pitted against one another by their rivaling instructors. As the years go by, and the game becomes more and more imaginative and complex, Celia and Marco find that they are falling in love with one another. Their fate, and the fate of all who love the circus and call it home, becomes entangled in the deadly duel of magic that must be played out till its inevitable end.

For me, the best part of this book is the beautifully detailed writing. Morgenstern evokes the magic of the circus so perfectly that I felt I could see, smell, hear, taste all the delights of Le Cirque des Rêves myself. The best word I can think of to describe the writing is seductive, every time I was reading I felt entirely swept into the world of the circus. I longed to experience what I was reading for myself; the writing is so visceral that I felt so close to the action of the story and yet, as it is a book and not real, so very far away. I was jealous of the characters in the story because they got to experience this truly hypnotic circus. It reminded me of my jealousy towards the characters in Harry Potter because they got to attend Hogwarts. 

There is an interesting cast of characters, an odd collection of delightfully eccentric individuals brought together through the unique magic of the circus. None of the characters clearly claims the role of the protagonist, unfortunately creating a slight issue when it comes to character development that I think might turn some readers off. I personally wasn't bothered by this as Morgenstern evokes such a detailed world that I let my imagination fill in the rest. I also felt that the true protagonist of the story was the circus itself.

The Night Circus is not an action-packed, page-turner written to be devoured in a few short sittings. It is a luxurious, meticulous read; one that the reader must fully submerge themselves into in order to get the true experience. Utterly fabulous!
Usually when referring to those who "have" and those who "have not," we are talking about a person's financial and social position. However, for the purposes of this post, I am referring to those who have experienced the transformative power of books and those who, quite simply, have not.

I was bitten very early on by the "reading bug." For as long as I can remember, reading has been a huge part of my life, I read on an almost daily-basis. If I go more than a day or two without reading, I get restless and out of sorts. For me, books have always been a place of refuge from everyday life; I can disappear into the world of stories and leave my life behind. It is as though all my cares, my stresses, my responsibilities just melt away. Nothing else outside the world of the book matters. It is pure bliss and I will happily (and proudly) admit to being addicted to the wonderful world of literature. Most of you reading this blog probably feel very similar. We are the "Haves."

There are people out there who do not read, shocking I know, but it is true. It is not as though they never read or despise reading, they just don't read very much (a few books a year, maybe) and they feel like reading is more of a chore than a pleasure. These people are the "Have Nots." 

The "Have Nots" will never understand a book lover's obsessive need to always have a book on the go, just as the "Haves" will never understand how a person can get by on reading only once in a blue moon. Of course, there are a lot of people who fall somewhere in the middle, they love reading and do so on a regular basis. They will happily engage in a conversation about books, and they understand wholeheartedly the power of reading a book. They are like the upper middle-class of the literary world, but not quite the 1%.

As a total bibliophile, I will occasionally find myself at odds with the "Have Nots" when reading is concerned. There have been numerous times in my life when all I want to do is curl up with my book and shut out the rest of the world, including other people. This is as necessary for my well-being as my morning smoothie and getting fresh air everyday. It is not because I don't like you, or because I am anti-social. It is simply because I have a burning, unyielding and passionate need to read. If I do not fulfill this need I become at best, a "Grumpy Gus" and at worst, a raging, crying ball of fury.  For some people, this is an unreasonable and strange need that they will seemingly never understand. Sometimes not having this need understood by those around me can be hurtful, as though I am not accepted for who I am (an insatiable book nut who cannot be stopped). 

But, you know what? More often than not I feel sympathy for these "Have Nots" rather than contempt. I feel sorry that they have never experienced the joy that comes with loving a book so much that it gives your life new meaning. And so, fellow book lover, next time you are chided for choosing books over play just smile and nod, bury your nose back into the pages and slip into your special book world. You are so lucky that such a world exists for you.

“At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book--that string of confused, alien ciphers--shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.”

-Alberto Manguel
I wanted to read this book from the moment I first saw it when my class went to Random House on a field trip last summer. It was on display in the board room, and I had a few moments to flip through it and mentally add it to my long list of books to read. The Midwife of Venice is the debut novel by Roberta Rich and is published by Random House Canada. The story follows Hannah Levi, a young woman living in the Jewish Ghetto of sixteenth-century Venice. She is renowned for her skill as a midwife, so much so that late one night a Christian Conte comes knocking at her door, seeking her out to help his labouring wife. It is illegal for a Jew to give medical care to a Christian, the punishment being death, but the man is desperate to save his dying wife and Hannah's compassionate nature, combined with an opportunity for rich payment, wins out. Her beloved husband Issac has been kidnapped and sold into slavery in Malta, the money could be enough to pay off his ransom.

And this is only the beginning of the gripping story as Hannah finds herself entangled in the dangerous affairs of the affluent Christian family she agrees to help. Throw in an outbreak of plague, the safety of the entire Jewish ghetto and the matter of securing Issac's freedom, and you have an amazing historical page-turner.

I was positive I was going to like this book, I love historical fiction and I have always been drawn to books where midwifery is featured prominently. The Midwife of Venice did not disappoint. Hannah is a wonderful protagonist; she is fierce and determined but is still very human. She is motivated by her love for Issac and her sense of right and wrong; Rich does an amazing job of creating a strong female character who is still very much a woman of her time. In historical fiction, I find it can often be tricky to get the balance right but Hannah is perfect. I really connected with her and cared deeply about the outcome of the story. The novel also follows Issac in Malta, detailing his time working as a slave and devising his escape so he can return to Hannah. The love between these two characters is palpable without becoming hokey, and for me it was the glue that held the story together.

The Midwife of Venice is a fantastic combination of excellent prose and great readability; it's a fast-paced novel full of action and excellent detail of sixteenth-century Venetian life. There were certain aspects of the story that I felt could have been fleshed out a little bit more, but my enjoyment of reading this book far surpassed any small criticisms I might have had. If you are a fan of historical novels then you must read this book; it would also be the perfect choice for someone who is curious about historical fiction but doesn't know where to start.

All in all, a thoroughly satisfying read.

So, I was getting tired of the layout of my old blog because I found it uninspiring and I didn't really want to post on it, plus it is a registered domain name that is going to expire soon, and I don't really want to deal with all the trouble of renewing it (and paying for it, ha). 

Anyways, this is my brand-spanking new book blog. I am really excited about it, though I have to admit that I feel super behind in my blogging efforts. I have about six books I need to write reviews for and to make it even more difficult, I am just zooming through my reading list these days. Partly because I have a three hour commute everyday on the GO bus, but also because I am too damn tired to do much else once I get home from said commute.

I hope everyone is having a relaxing weekend, and that you are finding time to read great books. I am about to crack into The Taker by Alma Katsu, which comes enthusiastically recommended from my friends Chelsey and Ikhlas, so I am going into this one with high hopes! 

Happy Saturday Night everyone!!!

I am a lover of fiction! It is the bulk of what I read and enjoy, and I always assumed that non-fiction equaled a snore fest. I viewed it as something an unimaginative teacher forced the class to read as a form of unwarranted torture. However, I was recently introduced to the world of non-fiction by a very lovely man who is an avid reader of non-fiction books and I was very pleasantly surprised...they can be just as mesmerizing and wonderful as any novel. I have compiled a list of some non-fiction reads that I gobbled up voraciously, and I think would appeal to both readers of non-fiction and those who, like me, shun non-fiction like it is the plague (ok, I am being slightly hyperbolic). Enjoy, and please suggest some non-fiction reads you love!

1. Our Inner Ape by Frans De Waal

coverimageThis book holds a really special place in my heart because it was the first book my boyfriend ever gave me. It is an awesome look at our two closest relatives, the Chimpanzee and the Bonobo, and how their social, sexual and problem-solving behaviours compare to our own. Frans De Waal is a Primatologist (an anthropologist who studies apes) and he offers an engaging, humourous and often touching look at the similarities between us and our closest relatives.

2. Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman

coverimageAn amazing travel memoir written by a truly fascinating and inspirational woman. In her late fifties, and as her divorce was being finalized, Rita Golden Gelman embarked on a life-changing journey around the world. Determined to abandon the notion that we must live in one place and adhere to one cultural norm, she sets off to live amongst peoples from all over the world and learn their particular way of life. She truly adopted a nomadic existence, and continues to live her life this way.

3. Why We Get Sick by Randolph M. Nesse, George C. Wiliams

coverimageThe authors of this book challenge us to rethink what we know and believe about being sick. Pioneers in the new field of Darwinian Medicine, they examine common illnesses from allergies, to cancer, to the common cold and how our society handles being ill all wrong. They remark on (amongst many things) how we confuse symptoms for an actual illness, how medicine can actually increase the length of a sickness and ultimately, on our culture's inability to recognize what our own bodies are telling us. An engaging, fascinating read that offers a new perspective on what it means to be sick.

4. The Sacred Balance by David Suzuki

coverimageI probably don't need to tell you who David Suzuki is, and if you have never seen his show, The Nature of Things, I suggest you check it out posthaste. This book is part environmental cry-for-help and part spiritual guide to reconnect with nature and our place in it. Suzuki explores the great dependence all species (humans included) have on the four basic elements of the planet: earth, fire, water and air and the evolutionary importance of living in harmony with all species we share this planet with. A beautiful, fascinating wake-up call.

5. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Cover ImageWhen confronted with the realization that he will be unable to explain where food comes from to his soon-to-be born son, novelist Jonathan Safran Foer embarks on a quest to find the answer. He speaks to farmers, animal activists and corporate honchos and does his best to visit farms, slaughter houses and ranches to find out what he can about the lives of the animals we call food, and how we as a culture justify treating them as mere commodities. It is both a memoir and a philosophical look about the ethics and morals surrounding humankind's culinary preference for meat and other animal products. This book is profoundly shocking and horrific, but Foer approaches the dilemma of eating animals with an empathetic and non-judgemental tone. Still, I dare you to read this and eat a philly cheesesteak sandwich afterwards. 
The first thing that everyone says about this book is how much it is like The Hunger Games; yes it is a young adult dystopian novel with a female protagonist but really, the similarities end there. While I do think it can sometimes be useful to compare books and/or authors, I also find it can really get in the way of a reader’s pure experience of the book in question. Divergent by Veronica Roth (HarperColins) is one of these books that suffers from such comparisons. It is really good; a fast-paced, adventurous story with a really unique and well-developed world that deserves to be read and enjoyed based on these virtues, and not on its ability to stack up to another series of books.
cover imageDivergent takes place in a futuristic Chicago, a society that is divided into five distinct factions where each citizen lives in adherence to the quality most valued by their faction. There is Dauntless who value bravery, Erudite who value intelligence, Amity who value kindness, Candor who value honesty and Abnegation who value selflessness. 16-year-old Beatrice Pryor was born into Agnegation, but has never truly felt that she belongs and the story begins with her making the mandatory choice as to which faction she will choose to live in for the rest of her life. If she leaves Abnegation for a different faction, she will never again see her family. Before deciding, Beatrice takes an aptitude test, designed to indicate which faction’s values best align with her own. However, it turns out Beatrice is actually Divergent, showing aptitude for more than two factions, which is a very dangerous thing to be. The test administrator warns Beatrice not to reveal her results to anyone, ever. The next day Beatrice decides to leave her old faction behind and pledges to join Dauntless, renaming herself Tris in the process.
The rest of the book focuses mainly on the Dauntless initiation process, a series of terrifying tests designed to push people to the edge of their fear and pain thresholds. If the initiates do not pass the tests, they will become factionless or they will die- which many believe is a more desirable fate than living as an outcast. During the course of the book Tris begins to uncover deadly secrets about their world, those who rule it and why being Divergent puts her in a very dangerous position. The resolution of these discoveries comes to an intense and heart-pounding climax in the last quarter of the book that played out really well.
There were some things that I wasn’t really feeling in this book though, the first issue being with the character Tris herself. I didn’t love her, which for me is important in a protagonist. I don’t have to like everything about a character, but I do need to care about them and feel a certain connection and with Tris, I just didn’t get there. I really wanted to and I’m hopeful that in the next book it will happen, but there was just something about her I found annoying. She was kind of a baby, really self-conscious and weak at times and uncaring and distant at others. I think Roth might have been trying to make her sympathetic by showing her flaws, but to me, she just came off kind of whiny. Hopefully in the next book she grows and becomes more sure of herself.
The second irksome part of this book was that it was predictable. Too predictable, to the point that it was actually disappointing. I was able to guess all the “twists” in the story well before they actually happened, so that when Tris had a revelation, it just made me like her less for not cluing in to things that were being laid out in a pretty obvious fashion by the author. I wish Roth had used more subtlety in this aspect of her writing, I really love being caught completely off guard in a book, especially one with so much action as Divergent has.
That being said, I did really enjoy this book, it was a quick, well-paced book with a fascinating world and I sped through it in a couple hours worth of reading time. I thought Roth’s imagining of a future society was really well-developed and clever; I found myself thinking on more than one occasion that this was a realistic portrayal of a futuristic world.  The ending was set-up perfectly for the sequel, it tied up the main storyline well and left a lot of openings for the next storyline to begin. I finished it wanting to read the next one right away, which luckily for me, is being released May 1st of this year. According to Goodreads, a third book is also expected and I think that is great, the storyline, and particularly the world, will lend themselves well to a trilogy. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that as the story continues, Tris will grow on me and the plot won’t be as predictable as in the first book. All in all, a great book that lends itself well to an escapist read.
One of my goals this year is to read more Non-Fiction books, so when I heard about The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary by Andrew Westoll (HarperCollins), I knew it was a perfect choice for me. I love all animals but I have always had a really special place in my heart for Great Apes, including chimps. I ordered a copy from a great bookstore in Kingston, ON called A Novel Idea and was sad that I had to leave town before it arrived. Next time my boyfriend came for a visit, he brought with him my copy of the book as a surprise. I was so excited I danced around my room, hugging the book to my chest. Jess really does know that the way to my heart is through books!
Cover ImageFirst and foremost, when reading this book I advise that you have some tissue handy because you are going to cry. The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is about a champion of a woman named Gloria Grow who decides to turn her farmland into a sanctuary for chimps who have spent their lives in biomedical research facilities. While there, they were subjected to terrifying medical procedures, social isolation and depraved living conditions. The book is also a memoir detailing Westoll’s own time spent living at the sanctuary, immersing himself in the “retirement” life of the chimps and getting to know the people who have dedicated their lives to helping these animals find some dignity in their later years.
Above all else though, this book is about the chimpanzees themselves. It is their stories that really made me love this book and read it every spare second I had- including while waiting at the bus stop, frozen fingers be damed. Westoll vividly describes the horrors they knew as research chimps, the physical scars and ailments they bear after years of being experimented upon and of course, the psychological traumas that haunt them every moment (many of Fauna’s past and present residents display symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). However, the book really allows their resilience to claim the soul of the story. After years of being subjected to horrors that I couldn’t even fathom enduring, these amazing animals are capable of trusting, forgiving, loving and learning. Their story is an inspiration. I loved how Westoll expressed the unique personality of each and every one of these extraordinary animals; I felt a strong attachment to all of them as individuals. This is where that box of tissues comes in handy, not just because their stories are sad (and they are tragic) but because these animals are the strongest, most compassionate individuals I have read about in a long time. As Westoll himself writes, “They are better than us.” They really, truly are and that is what reduced to me to a tearful mess.
I could go on at length about the issues of vivisection and the use of animals, including chimpanzees, in research but I won’t.  Westoll does a superb job of expressing why using chimps (or any animal) for experimentation is horrible, but the residents of Fauna Sanctuary are the best advocates of all because they put faces, names and an incredible story of survival to the issue. I loved this book, I still think about it every day. Well-worth checking out.
It is hard to know where to begin with this book, but I will say this: I absolutely loved it. It was a bit of a long read for me, I am usually a pretty fast reader but this book was so lush and so detailed that I found it difficult to move at my usual pace. It is definitely the kind of book that appeals to me, at its core it is a story about the beauty, passion and magic of being a woman and the price that is paid for being as such. Combine that with the incredible historical setting and Hoffman’s detailed prose and you have a book that this reader just devoured.
So, without further ado and before I digress too much, here is my review for The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, published by Simon & Schuster.
Cover Image
The Dovekeepers focuses on the events that took place in the two years leading up to the massacre and is divided into four parts, each part narrated by a different woman. The women each have a unique voice and story to share but they are all bound together through their work at the dovecotes. Yael carries a terrible guilt; her father has always blamed her for her mother's death, which occurred during Yael's birth and she is burdened with carrying a child out of wedlock. Revka has lost both her beloved husband and daughter to brutal violence and is left to care for her traumatized grandsons. Aziza is a warrior, secretly raised as a boy who finds herself falling in love with a celebrated soldier. Shirah is a witch, a powerful medicine woman who is wise in the ways of ancient magic. Hoffman elegantly weaves their stories into one and does a remarkable job of giving each woman a powerful narrative, every time one character’s section was over I was terribly sad to leave her behind but was quickly drawn into the world of the next. Despite the oppression and violence the women are faced with, they are all strong, resilient and powerful in their own special way. I was deeply moved by each character’s story.
The writing is impeccably detailed, often this level of detail does not work for me but for some reason this book was different. Whenever I was reading, I felt so completely drawn into the world and so emotionally connected to the events that were happening within.
The book was tragic in that really beautiful kind of way that is difficult to describe, it made me feel proud and sad to be a woman all at the same time. The Dovekeepers tells a truly captivating story that is haunting, passionate and magical. A breathtaking book.
This review has the distinct honour of being the first book review I have written, at least for blogging purposes. I chose The Virgin Cure, written by Ami Mckay and published by Random House Canada, for my first review because it was probably my most anticipated read of 2011 and it did not disappoint. 
Cover Image

When I say I was anticipating this book, I mean I was really, really anticipating this book. I read McKay’s previous novel The Birth House and found that it was a beautifully written, rich story with a very evocative setting. I knew that I shouldn’t get my hopes up too much for The Virgin Cure and risk being disappointed, but it is hard for me not to get excited about things (especially literary things). I was lucky though, because The Virgin Cure was everything I had hoped it would be and more, in fact I would say I enjoyed it even more than I did The Birth House. Maybe. They are both so great, that I would now name Mckay amongst my favourite authors. 
The story is set in 1871 Manhattan and tells the story of twelve-year old Moth, a girl from the slums of Chrystie Street whose father abandoned her and her mother when Moth was very young. Unfortunately for Moth, her mother abandons her as well and she is sold to a rich household where she becomes a servant to the wealthy lady of the house. Again, things don’t pan out so well for poor Moth and she suffers terrible abuses at the hand of her new employer and flees the mansion for a life on the streets. It is this choice that lands Moth at Miss Everett’s “Infant School” where she becomes a prostitute-in-training, waiting for her virginity to be auctioned off by Miss Everett to the highest bidder. During her training Moth gets to know the other young “students” and full-time professional prostitutes at Miss Everett’s, as well as a coulourful collection of freaks and misfits working at nearby Dink’s Museum. She also meets Dr. Sadie (a character based on McKay’s own relative), a female physician from a wealthy family who services the girls working for Miss Everett. Despite all the hardships and seemingly impossible choices that Moth must face, she is resilient, strong and surprisingly innocent, given the life she has been forced to live.
McKay’s writing style lends itself to both beauty and readability, she manages to paint a detailed and gorgeous picture while still keeping her writing accessible to a varied readership. I was also impressed with her ability to tackle uncomfortable subject matter in an unapologetic and descriptive fashion without sacrificing the flow of the story. While I was certainly saddened, upset and even disgusted by some of the events that took place, I never felt like I was torn out of the story because of them- rather I was pulled in deeper and formed a stronger connection to Moth and the other characters. The historical detail in the novel was impressive and McKay’s use of Dr. Sadie’s “notes” in the margins of the pages, a detailed map of Moth’s Manhattan and excerpts from newspaper clippings to support the narrative added a lovely touch and sense of realism to the book. While it is of course fiction, it wasn’t hard to imagine that many young girls and women found themselves in the horrible circumstances endured by Moth and others during this particular time period. The title itself refers to the popular myth at the time that a man afflicted by Syphilis could rid himself of the deadly disease by having sex with a “clean” and virginal girl, a myth that would obviously be extremely dangerous to a girl in Moth’s vulnerable position.
I would really recommend this book to anyone with a love of Historical Fiction, it is really evocative of the time and place and Moth's story is so captivating.