Let me just start by saying, I know you should never judge a book, but for all the Jessie Burton fans out there, the cover of this book gives me serious The Muse vibes. It’s very pretty and there is a lot going on, just like in this book.
The story is set in Georgian London and is told from Tully Truegoods perspective. She isn’t the most reliable protagonist, but has a certain likability to her. She grows up closed-off from the world around her and is naïve about this world she knows nothing of, often imagining things that aren’t there – or are they? When we meet her at the beginning of the story, she is currently in prison on a murder charge; we don’t know if she did it or who she is accused of murdering. This was enough to hook me in and keep me interested from the very start.
Tully then proceeds to take us back to her lonely childhood with her alcoholic father, though the only person she really has a loving relationship with as a child is the house cook. When her father remarries and she has a new stepmother and two stepsisters, that’s when the fun starts.
After the initial intrigue, it tails off a little bit as we read various stories of Tully growing up. She is then thrown into situations I wasn’t expecting to happen to her; the front of the book does say shades of Sarah Waters so I don’t know why the detailed sex scenes surprised me.
The writing is done very well, however, some of the language used to describe female and male body parts was laughable and made me cringe somewhat. Now, I have no knowledge on how people spoke in Georgian London but I found it uncomfortable to read in places and I did find it predictable in parts.
Health warning: this book will give you a hot flush or two!