Born to rough cloth in working-class London in 1748, Mary Saunders hungers for linen and lace. Her lust for a shiny red ribbon leads her to a life of prostitution at a young age, where she encounters a freedom unknown to virtuous young women. But a dangerous misstep sends her fleeing to Monmouth and the refuge of the middle-class household of Mrs. Jones, to become the seamstress her mother always expected her to be and to live the ordinary life of an ordinary girl. Although Mary becomes a close confidante of Mrs. Jones, her desire for a better life leads her back to prostitution. She remains true only to the three rules she learned on the streets of London: Never give up your liberty; Clothes make the woman; Clothes are the greatest lie ever told. In the end, it is clothes, their splendor and their deception, that lead Mary to disaster.
Emma Donoghue's daring, sensually charged prose casts a new sheen on the squalor and glamour of eighteenth-century England. Accurate, masterfully written, and infused with themes that still bedevil us today, Slammerkin is historical fiction for all readers.
PRAISE FOR SLAMMERKIN
""Superb . . . A novel of real force, filled with unforgettable sights . . . A profoundly entertaining and intelligent book.""--Elle
""[A] colorful romp of a novel . . . Impossible to resist. Donoghue paints a spirited picture. . . . Fabulous.""--The New York Times Book Review
""Intelligent and mesmerizing.""--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
""This book rocks from the title on. A spectacular job.""--USA Today
""What a great read this book is! Donoghue is a real writer, and she's elevated her racy story close to art.""--The Washington Post Book World
""[A] transporting read.""--Mademoiselle