Fifteen year-old Belle has lived in a brothel in Seven Dials all her life, with no understanding of what happens in the rooms upstairs. But her innocence is shattered when she witnesses the murder of one of the girls and, subsequently snatched from the streets by the killer, she is sold into prostitution in Paris.
No longer mistress of her own fate, Belle is blown across the globe to sensuous New Orleans where she comes of age and learns to enjoy life as a courtesan. Yet thoughts of home – and the knowledge her status as golden girl cannot last – compel her to break out of her gilded cage.
But Belle finds escaping tougher than she imagined, for her life is threatened by desperate men who crave her beauty and attention. Armed only with resourcefulness and spirit, she has a long and dangerous journey ahead of her.
Will courage be enough to sustain her? Can she make it back to her family and friends and find her chance at true happiness?
Author: Lesley Pearse
No of Pages: 624
Published: February 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Adult
My Rating: 3.8/5
There is just something about books written on prostitution that makes me want to read them all that more. But no matter how much I read about it, the horror never ceases.
Belle is an independent and fierce girl who is snatched from the streets and sold into this vile profession. She is a very strong yet innocent character. And that innocence doesn’t vanish with the gruesome circumstances that she is put through.
My problem with the book was the timeline it provided. So much of it happened in two years that at times, it just does not seem plausible. If you go into details, the timeline does not make sense.
The story itself is remarkable. There are so many aspects and views on the same thing. You see prostitution from many different angles. Yet all of them are horrendous. It just makes you more aware of it.
My favourite character was Annie, Belle’s mother, who appears to be cold and heartless. Emotions just don’t come easily to her. Annie’s history explains her character to you. Her brought up tells you why she is the way she is.
One of the things that I loved was when Jimmy says that although, whatever happened to her was horrendous, it changed the lives of many people and brought them closer. I love when you can take a positive message from whatever happens to you.
I loved all the twists and turns of the story. What surprised me the most was the ending. It was normal. Nobody does normal endings these days. That normality amongst aberrant circumstances makes the story good.
It’s the kind of story that makes you do more. If Belle can do what she does, after everything that she went through, then we most definitely can.