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Publisher's Summary

NOW A MAJOR BBC DRAMA starring Romola Garai, Chris O'Dowd, Gillian Anderson, Richard E. Grant, Shirley Henderson, and Mark Gatiss.
'Watch your step. Keep your wits about you; you will need them....' So begins this irresistible voyage into the dark side of Victorian London. Amongst an unforgettable cast of low-lifes, physicians, businessmen, and prostitutes, meet our heroine Sugar, a young woman trying to drag herself up from the gutter any way she can. Be prepared for a mesmerising tale of passion, intrigue, ambition, and revenge.
©2011 Michel Faber (P)2011 W.F. Howes Ltd
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Critic Reviews

"A big, sexy, bravura novel...wildly entertaining." (The New York Times)
"Irresistibly readable." (Ruth Rendell)
"Faber is the master of the spine-tingling page-turner, while creating a wholly believable universe." (Dazed and Confused)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By anniepaints on 06-16-11

Loved this Book!!

I loved this book SO much and when I read the first review that was written for this book I felt so sorry for waiting to give my opinion. I think that anyone that enjoyed watching "The Duchess of Duke Street" and/or "Upstairs, Downstairs" on PBS would probably like this story as well or more. This is not a book for the squeamish so if you cannot tolerate a certain amount of sex and unpleasantness, don't bother. I was able to keep track of the many characters quite easily, partly because the narrator is so easily understood. Once I started listening, I was so hooked! I finished this almost 42 hour book in just 10 days and wished it was longer. The ending was excellent. It was a bargain for just one credit. (Editor NOT needed, thank you very much).

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51 of 53 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Martha on 10-24-11

Can't Put It Down

While I freely admit, I am not finished with this book......not even finished with part one of the five, I have to say I LOVE IT. I wanted to counter the few less than stellar reviews given by previous reviewers. Yes, it is rather long-winded and probably could have used a more scissor-happy editor; however, this is one thing I love about the book. The author is indeed verbose, using many words to describe people, places, and things, but this has always helped me to more easily visualize settings and characters. I detest authors who are skimpy with descriptors (I guess I just don't have a vivid enough imagination). This author is excellent and I will be looking forward to more from her.

Believe it or not, the characters come across as likeable (more or less), even when they are obviously toffee-nosed snobs. The book is definitely adult. If you are squeamish about sex, coarse language, and the seedier side of life, do give it a miss. BUT if you, as well as I, enjoy reading about lives lived completely differently than your own, buy it. You just might find yourself being transported to a different place and time. And you WON'T want to leave. I actually can't wait to finish this review so I can turn on my iPod again to be sent back to London, circa 1874. I'm anxious to see how Sugar is getting along; how William will manage his serious "issues", and to meet the other interesting and complex characters created by Ms. Faber.

Apparently this book has been made into a major BBC drama now starring Romola Garai, a terrific, young, English actress. I'd love to see it sometime. It'd be interesting to see how they "clean it up" for airing on public television.

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23 of 24 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By knittyboot on 05-26-11

I loved it!

First let me say that if you dislike crude language I would avoid this book as it treats sex and prostitution quite unflinchingly and describes the world it deals with in a way that I found to be refreshing but may offend some. Normally prostitutes in fiction are depicted as "tart with a heart", sexy siren or cold hard witches. They never seem quite real but this book breathes life into the world it depicts; it evokes sights, smells and characters of this world in sometimes alarming detail. I loved the introduction, the story and the narration. It was quite wonderful

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57 of 57 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Michelle on 07-03-11

Gothic Chic-Lit

This book is the "Marmite" of historical fiction; readers/listeners will either love it or loathe it. I am definitely in the former category.

The book is a narration of several intertwined people's lives over the period of about a year, the narrator being an integral part.Through these lives, a story of how love comes into the most unlikely of lives. The main characters are Sugar, a much sought after prostitute with many qualities not usually found in the fallen women of fiction, and William, a typical Victorian father who thinks he is anything but typical of his class and time. The story weaves through Sugar and William meeting and her deciding to improve her lot because of William's infatuation for her.

There are a number of supporting characters, and rather than the usual story of a "tart with a heart" winning her man, "Pretty Woman" style, it is the slow development of love in those characters who both crave it and think they're beyond it.

To begin with, I was felt cheated by the somewhat abrupt end, wanting to know more about what happened to the characters. However, the more I thought about I reaslised that I didn't need to know at all; the author told us undirectly and there were happy endings for those who deserved it most.

I can recommend this book to anyone, especially women as I don't think it's particularly a man's book, who enjoys a saga and isn't offended by graphic descriptions of the world inhabited by prostitutes and their clients. The narration is superb, the nuances and inflections add perfect undercurrents to the book. I can do nothing more than recommend this highly and strongly recommend that listeners give it a go - you'll either love it or hate it.

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25 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Julia on 04-19-16

Dickens-like ribaldry

What did you like best about this story?

I'm generally an anti-Dickens reader and this story had many of the same elements - but a large dollop of humour and sex lightened the otherwise Gothic mix.

I've also got a soft spot for being addressed directly by the narrator.

What does Jill Tanner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Tanner deserves a standing ovation, if only for her 40+ hours of stamina! ... but mostly for bringing such life and colour to this sizeable cast of characters.

I doubt this is a print book I'd have finished but the narration was addictive.

Any additional comments?

What, that's it?! ... the ending finished as prematurely as some of Miss Sugar's clients ...

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1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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