Since she was found as a baby, floating in the Thames one foggy night, the web-toed Pearl has been brought up in a brothel known as the House of Mermaids. Cosseted and pampered there, it is only when her fourteenth birthday approaches that Pearl realises she is to be sold to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, the orphaned twins, Lily and Elijah, have shared an idyllic childhood, raised in a secluded country house with their grandfather, Augustus Lamb. But when Lily and Elijah go on a visit London, a chance meeting with the ethereal Pearl will have repercussions for all of them, binding their fates together in a dark and dangerous way...In this bewitching, sensual novel, Essie Fox has written another tale of obsessive love and betrayal, moving from the respectable worlds of Victorian art and literature, and into the shadowy demi-monde of brothels, asylums and freak show tents - a world in which nothing and no-one is quite what they seem to be.
Following the success of Essie Fox's highly acclaimed debut THE SOMNAMBULIST, this is a gloriously gothic new novel from one of the most talented historical writers around.
"A fabulous foray into a shadowy Victorian world" -- Fanny Blake WOMAN & HOME 20121101 The author behind the Virtual Victorian blog has followed up her Channel 4 Book Club choice THE SOMNAMBULIST with this Wilkie Collins-style sensation novel... An obvious comparison is with early Sarah Waters...The glee with which Fox approaches her material is infectious. All Victorian life is here ...Intriguing. -- John O'Connell GUARDIAN 20121011 "Fox's vivid, sensual prose is - fittingly - as seductive as a siren's song, drawing you into a shadowy Victorian world of obsession and guilt... An intoxicating follow-up to 2011's acclaimed The Somnambulist. Recommended to fans of Sarah Waters." HEAT 20121117 "If you like imaginative, romantic stories then this book is definitely the one for you! A beautiful gothic novel we loved and know you will too." ESSENTIALS 20121203 An absorbing novel that twists and turns through a labyrinthine plot to reach a satisfying conclusion. BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE 20121101
Essie Fox divides her time between Windsor and Bow in the East End of London. She is the author of The Virtual Victorian: http://virtualvictorian.blogspot.com