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Title: The Crimson Petal and the White
Author: Michel Faber
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 932
Date read: November, 2012

Meet Sugar, a nineteen-year-old prostitute in Victorian London who yearns for escape to a better life. From the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, she begins her ascent through society. Beginning with William Rackham, a perfume magnate whose lust for Sugar soon begins to smell like love, she meets a host of lovable, maddening, unforgettable characters as her social rise is overseen by assorted preening socialites, drunken journalists, untrustworthy servants, vile guttersnipes, and whores of all kinds.

First a disclaimer: I use the Goodreads definition of the stars, where 2 stars means "It was ok". I.e. this is not a bad rating! It's an average rating.

Because honestly, I thought it was an average book. It was pretty well written, but it was so LONG! And not good enough to justify 900+ pages. The story could easily have been told in half that space. The plot was interesting enough, although I did sometimes wonder where on earth Michel Faber was going with this... which turned out to be a reasonable worry, because the answer was "Nowhere."

Had it had a better ending, I would probably have given it a rating of 3 - maybe even 3.5. But it hadn't, so I didn't. Instead I turned the last page thinking, "That was it?!?!?! What a cop-out!"

I wanted to know what happened next! I wanted the happy ending we got cheated out of. It's a pathetic book indeed when the characters are happier 200 pages from the end that they are at the end - and not a type of pathetic I do well with.

So average. Not a book I'm likely to reread, but one I'm glad to be able to cross off my to-read list and say "The Crimson Petal and the White"? Sure, I've read that!" :)

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