Guest #Review: The Crimson Petal and the White

7623095The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

Published: September 11th 2003
: Canongate Books
E-Book: 845 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Author: — Website
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Source: Library
Buy: — PaperbackKindle Edition



Sugar is an alluring 19 year-old prostitute who plies her trade at Mrs Castaway’s brothel in late 19th century London. Her aim is to lift her body and soul out of the gutter.Goodreads

My Thoughts:

For many years my friend Aly has spoken about one of her favourite books, The Crimson Petal and the White. Firstly, the title sounded very bazaar to me, so I didn’t give it much thought. But she kept talking about how this book is beautifully written and we have to read it. So one weekend I traveled to one of my favourite places on earth and I rediscovered a remarkable little local bookstore there. While browsing my eye caught the title, the price was reasonable and I bought the book. Let me just tell you that this book has over 800 pages, so I wasn’t in much of a haste to start reading it. I put it on the back-burner for a short while and then just couldn’t resist.

The book is indeed beautiful to read. It took me quite a while to get to the end, as the pages are very condensed and you have to take in all the detail of each page and each event to really fully “get” the story. The author thoroughly describes the characters in the book, so much so that you can see them in your mind’s eye. I’d love to see a film adaptation of the book but would be too scared that the film makers would spoil the image in my imagination.

The story is about Sugar, a young prostitute in the 1800’s who has a bit of a reputation as being very sought after. It’s for such a particular reason that William goes to find her one evening; he wants something that not all of the ladies of the night are willing to do. He falls in love with Sugar and wants to take care of her, he takes her out of the wallow of Silver Street and deposits her into a sweet little home of her own. So everything sounds fabulous right about now right? Don’t fret readers, the book has so many stories going on, like the fact that William is married to Agnes, who seems to be slowly losing her mind. Or William who is the reluctant heir to a perfume company, as his elder brother Henry shows now interest and would rather become a clergyman. Then there’s the story of how Henry is terrible in love with Ms Fox, a widow, the daughter of the doctor who sees to Agnes (see, there are twists and turns around every corner). There’s also Sophie, Williams little daughter who you don’t come to know of until much later. Catherine, a friend of Sugar, Mrs Casteway, Ashwell and Bodley; friends of William, the book is crammed with characters, all intertwined with one another, yet despite this fact, the book keeps track and you never feel so lost that you don’t know where you are.

The book also is not some soppy love story with a wonderful ending and we all cry happily for the beautiful couple, oh no. This book has meaning to me because I’ve been in situations with men where they act like total pigs, and in this book this is so true. You see the love story unfold before you, you’re so happy for Sugar, but dread is never too far behind.

I’ll not spoil the entire book for you my dear readers, rather go and read it yourselves. Be warned, you do need a bit of time for this one, but it’s worth it in the end, I promise.

Michel Faber, wonderful job, I cannot wait to read more of you fantastic books.