Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Pleasures of Men

Have just finished reading "The Pleasures of Men" by Kate Williams.

Set in the 1840s during the reign of Queen Victoria, a young girl with a troubled past comes to live with her uncle in London at a time when a "Ripper" style killer is striking fear in the hearts of men and women alike.

Catherine's life is certainly troubled and the author Kate Williams tempts us with glimpses into Catherine's past as she, Catherine, narrates the present.  Interspersed are the stories of a number of other women whose lives have touched Catherine's own - and whose fate rests in the hands of the mysterious stalker.

Kate brings to life the often tragic conditions of Victorian London, and allows us a glimpse into the lives of some of this city's inhabitants - from serving folk to those of the upper echelons.  This was no pleasurable palace for a young woman, or young girl - life was cheap and hard, and often expendable.

It is a rather curious read - one step forward, two steps back - but we are gradually reaching the point of no return.  What secrets does Catherine's uncle possess - and how will these secrets affect Catherine.  Must read on to the point when all is revealed - and like the threads of a young ladies' corset, all loose ends are tied together when the fate of Catherine becomes known.

It may not be to everyone's taste - the mix of different narratives - and the "flashbacks" - but it is necessary in order to gain a better insight into the main characters and their motives.  Persevere.

I must confess to looking forward to reading more of Kate's work.

About Kate Williams:
"Kate studied her BA at Somerville College, Oxford where she was a College Scholar and received the Violet Vaughan Morgan University Scholarship. She then took her MA at Queen Mary, University of London and her DPhil at Oxford, where she received a graduate prize. She also took an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway. She now teaches at Royal Holloway."

See Kate's full profile at Goodreads.

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