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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Book Review - The Whores Asylum by Katy Darby

Book Review
The Whores' Asylum
The Whores Asylum
by Katy Darby
About the Author
Katy Darby
I've been writing fiction for about 10 years and have had various stories, plays and poems published. . I grew up in South-East England, Holland and Belgium, studied at Oxford and UEA, and now I live in London - Peckham. I studied English Literature at Somerville College, Oxford and took my MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where I  received the David Higham Award.  I have published thirty-two stories, twenty-two poems, and two plays and I am currently teaches creative writing in London.  However, most of the novel was written when I lived in a Victorian garret in Kilburn: true fact!

Author on Facebook          Authors Blog

Book Description
A haunting, romantic, gothic novel set in 19th century Oxford.

Edward Fraser and Stephen Chapman are roommates at Oxford in the 1880s, Fraser in divinity school and Chapman in medicine. Despite being different in almost every way, the two form a deep friendship that is tested when Chapman takes up work at a clinic treating venereal disease and offering asylum to the city's prostitutes. To Fraser, it seems a disreputable choice of career, made even more so by Chapman's relationship with the woman that runs the clinic, Diana Pelham, a familiar face that Fraser had hoped he would never see again. As the friendship between the two men is brought to breaking point, and long-held secrets are brought to light, a violent set of events is set in motion that ensures that neither will ever be the same again...

Book Review
Set in the late 1800's , the storyline is set around three main characters who have different backgrounds, breeding and beliefs.  The book had me enthralled within the first few pages due to the air of mystery that was created.

The characters are vividly described and the attention to detail of the settings, language used and etiquette is superb.  The story is based on two scholars, one for the priesthood and one training to become a doctor in pathology.  During his training to become a doctor he is given the chance to study on live cases who are working girls and are suffering from venereal diseases.  This appeals to him very strongly but when he tries to explain this to his friend, who is studying for the priesthood, conflict of interests arise.  The priest-to-be is appalled and horrified that the doctor could cure the girls so they could go back to plying their immoral trade.

On his research at the Asylum the doctor falls in love with the woman who runs the shelter.  When his trainer cannot attend a ball he gives the doctor the two tickets and he takes his priest friend.  On arriving at the ball he sees his lover in the arms of another man and the priest recognises her from his past life.

The author then relates each of the characters stories, the trainee priest, the trainee doctor and the madam.  As each of the story unfolds, you find yourself drawn further into the book, sensing how each character is feeling and understanding the motives for their beliefs, some of which are still poignant today as we judge people we do not know without really getting to know them.  The difference between the classes are a major issue in this book, how the rich live and dominate, the students living in squalor and struggling to survive and finally the working class who have to make ends meet in anyway.

When you read this book you will find yourself challenging your thoughts and beliefs.  As each story gets further down the line, the mysterious air and lives of each of the characters still remains and it is not until right at the end of the story you get the full picture.

The period of the storyline is one of my favourites in history and is excellently represented and anyone who enjoys historic novels must read this book.

Our rating


  1. Found you via the Linky hop and have become your newest Linky follower. Look forward to reading your future posts. Hope you have a chance to visit and perhaps follow me back.

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog! New GFC Follower and returned the Linky Love!

  3. That's a pretty "randy" and eye catching book title..

  4. I love the name! This book seems to be right up my alley! Thank you!

  5. I could see how back than these two professions could have a conflict regarding this. Sounds like a very interesting read. Thanks for the review :)

  6. Love the cover of the book and the name is interesting, you did a great job on reviewing it... Love the "our" rating birds... I've shared, tweeted and G+'d it, also new follower for linky followers.

  7. Stopping by from FB. Awesome review!!

    Katie @ Effortless Style

  8. i normally wouldn't pick a book when it says 1800's but this sounds fantastic

  9. Love the Title! Thanks for sharing...

  10. Great review! Thanks for making me aware of this author and book!

  11. My aunt loves books from this period too. I'll definitely have to share this with her. Thanks so much for sharing with us :)

  12. I've never read a historical romance novel! This sounds like a great read.

  13. Stop by to follow you from Friday Friend and Follow
    by MSPOSH followed Klout, stumble, google, fb, pinterest, picketfence, added your weekly book button to my blog, Subscribe via email, and add your button to my blog have a great friday. I would to be followed back


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