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A New York Times Notable Book from the author of A Stolen Tongue: A tale of crime and survival in nineteenth-century England “as unsettling as it is brilliant” (The Washington Post Book World).
In Sunderland, England, a city quarantined by the cholera epidemic of 1831, a defiant, fifteen-year-old beauty in an elegant blue dress sells her body to feed her only love: a fragile baby boy. When the surgeon Henry Chiver offers Gustine a different kind of work, she hopes to finally change her terrible circumstances.
But Chiver was recently implicated in the famous case of Burke and Hare, who murdered beggars and sold their corpses for medical research. And soon, Gustine’s own efforts to secure cadavers for Chiver’s anatomy school will threaten the very things she’s working so hard to protect . . .
“Reminiscent of Wuthering Heights . . . or the novels of Dickens . . . An even better book than Holman’s first, with prose that’s more limber and vivid—and with, appropriately, even more heart.” —The New York Times Book Review
“As unsettling as it is brilliant. Holman attempts Herculean feats of plot and character, and the resulting novel is seamlessly crafted.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Holman seduces you. Her prose, tart, racy and somber, will sing in your soul a long while.” —Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes
“Holman’s style is risky and direct . . . with unflinching emotional precision. This dazzlingly researched epic is an uncommon read.” —Publisher Weekly, starred review
Publisher: Grove Press