Friday, 18 December 2009

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Trades of Flesh - Faye L Booth


Preston, 1888: as the century draws to a close, the prostitute murders in London have made young Lydia Ketch’s ‘trade’ a political issue. Lydia, the tough but optimistic daughter of a former workhouse inmate, has spent a year working in the ‘introduction house’ of Kathleen Tanner, a job that has given her an income few others could match.

When Lydia meets Henry Shadwell, a young surgeon with a passionate interest in biology, the two develop an instant – and non-professional – bond. And Henry soon enlists Lydia’s help in his underground sidelines; first as a model for pornographic photography; then as an assistant in procuring corpses for medical experimentation.

With the dangers of her own line of work becoming clearer by the day, and her newfound delight in her own sexuality burgeoning, Lydia becomes disillusioned with her life as a prostitute. And it soon become clear that her trade – and Henry’s – are even more dangerous than either had imagined.

Trades of the Flesh is a gripping novel about the body and its desires, from a precocious voice in historical fiction.


Multi genre books are becoming more popular these days and none will appeal to quite so many as this novel by Faye. Trades of the Flesh has elements that will grab readers from here to eternity and whilst the core of the novel is the romance between the two principle cast members there’s a touch of crime, a dash of literotica and bound together by a historical fiction romance. It’s a pretty impressive combination that few will even delve into let alone attempt to weave together. Whilst the story arc in itself is a bit on the weak side what the author really does well is bind her leading man and lady into an arc that makes them not on fascinating but a couple that you want to hang around to see how their tale pans out. It’s a bit on the silly side in places but anyone that can create characters that you want to spend so much time with really has to be congratulated. I’ll definitely keep an eye on Faye’s other novels purely for the entertainment. Come for the Cast stay for the arc.

1 comment:

Angela Addams said...

This sounds really cool! I guess I'll be making a trip to the book store this weekend?