By Emma Donoghue
* A gripping historical novel, based on a true story, which tells the tale of a girl born into rough cloth who hungered for lace and was hanged for murder in 1763.
* By a well-known Irish writer.
Set in London and Monmouth in the late 1700s, this is an extraordinary novel about Mary Saunders, the young daughter of a poor seamstress. Mary hungers greedily for fine clothes and ribbons, as people of her class do for food and warmth. It's a hunger that lures her into prostitution at the age of thirteen. Mary is thrown out by her distraught mother when she gets pregnant and almost dies on the dangerous streets of London. Her saviour is Doll - a prostitute. Mary roams London freely with Doll, selling her body to all manner of 'cullies', dressed whorishly in colourful, gaudy dresses with a painted red smile.
Faced with bad debts and threats upon her life she eventually flees to Monmouth, her mother's hometown, where she attempts to start a new life as a maid in Mrs Jones's house. But Mary soon discovers that she can't escape her past and just how dearly people like her pay for yearnings not fitting to their class in society...
Emma Donoghue is an Irish novelist, playwright and historian. Her second novel HOOD won the American Library Association Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Award in 1997. She is currently adapting her novel STIR-FRY for Horizonline Films (Ireland).
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- Publication date:
11 Aug 2011
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