Monday, 4 January 2016

FACTUAL REVIEW: Peg Plunkett: Memoirs of a Whore - Julie Peakman

Release Date: 04/06/15
Publisher:  Quercus


'Of picking, washing and cleaning my pretty little toes, which he took great delight in, and in which pleasurable, innocent, and inoffensive pastime he as often spent hours; 'twas the greatest gratification to him on earth, nor did he (said she) indulge in any other in all the time we spent together, he never was even rude enough to give me a kiss.'

So emerged the first exposé of foot fetishism in the eighteenth century. Revelations and racy anecdotes about the lives of the rich and famous of Dublin and London abound within Peg Plunkett: Memoirs of a Whore.

From a violent domestic background, Peg blitzed her way through balls and masquerades creating scandals and gossip wherever she went, leaving dukes, barristers and lieutenants stranded in her wake. She was the first madame ever to write her memoirs, thereby setting the template for the whore's memoir. She wrote not merely to reveal herself but to expose the shoddy behaviour of others and her account of her life. In Peg Plunkett: Memoirs of a Whore, Julie Peakman brings her subject and the world through which she moved to glorious, bawdy life.


A title that is as scandalous as the life led by this 18th Century Lady of the Night and one of fame within Ireland and beyond. Whilst the title is salacious to tempt many a reader in, the book worked well for me as excerpts from one of Peg’s three diaries have made their way in to help (alongside Julie Peakmans work) explain the time that she lived in. Its definitely a book of academia and whilst for some they’ll be put off, I found it not only fascinating but enticing especially seeing how people of the time lived and spotting many similarities by today’s standards.

All round I was glued to each page learning terms that were utilised at the time and getting to explore Peg’s own extraordinary life. Thanks to Julie for making it so readable.

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