I loved this book. I just wanted to be able to say that first.
Belle is a fifteen year old girl, living in her mother’s brothel in Seven Dials with dreams of being a milliner. Until she witnesses the murder of one of the women working there, she is completely innocent to what happens upstairs in the bedrooms.
Pearse completely immerses you into the world of 1910 England, France and New Orleans. I felt like I was travelling alongside Belle as she is abducted and then sold into prostitution because the worlds were so vividly created.
As a character, Belle was constantly striving to be freed from a life that she didn’t want, looking for opportunities to change things for herself. I cheered her on when she found a job outside of the world of prostitution as a milliner’s assistant and was then heartbroken, just as I imagine she would have been, when she lost the job because of what had happened in her past and the prejudices of the woman who ran the store.
The storyline takes place over two years where Belle’s main goal is to free herself from the world she has been forced into and to return to her mother, Annie and housekeeper Mog, who are seeking answers to where she was taken to and wondering if they will ever be reunited.
I read this book in one afternoon/night, only taking breaks to get food or drink to give me the energy to keep me reading. In those breaks, all I wanted to do was get back to reading. I became so involved with reading it that I was oblivious to all else around me.
I didn’t know what to expect from this author, as I have never read anything that she’s written before, but I know that I’ll be looking on the bookshelves for stories for the months to come because I enjoyed this book so much.
I will be eagerly anticipating the release of the next book, which follows Belle on the next part of her journey.