Friday, November 2, 2007

The Dress Lodger – Sheri Holman

Type: Fiction
Rating: åå
Pgs 320

In Sunderland, England, a city quarantined by the cholera epidemic of 1831, a defiant, fifteen-teen-year old beauty in an elegant blue dress makes her way between shadow and lamp light. A potter's assistant by day and dress lodger by night, Gustine sells herself for necessity in a rented gown, scrimping to feed and protect her only love: her fragile baby boy. She holds a glimmer of hope after meeting Dr. Henry Chiver, a prisoner of his own dark past. But in a world where suspicion of medicine runs rampant like a fever, these two lost souls will become irrevocably linked, as each crosses lines between rich and destitute, decorum and abandon, damnation and salvation. By turns tender and horrifying, The Dress Lodger is a captivating historical thriller charged with a distinctly modern voice. . . . (From

What led you to pick up this book? It has been on my reading list for a while and then I found it at the ½ price book store.

Summarize the plot, but don’t give away the ending! It is the story of Gustine who is part of the poor in Gustine, where she is a Dress Lodger – a person who wears a dress to earn money as a prostitute. The owner of the dress takes a cut of the money and has her followed by “the Eye” who watches the dress. Gustine also has a baby who needs medical treatment. To gain favor with a Doctor she helps him obtain dead bodies to perform cadaver studies on hoping in return he will cure her son. During all of this cholera epidemic hits.

What did you like most about the book? I liked that the ending summarized what happens to all the characters.

What did you like least? The first thing is that it was difficult to determine who was telling the story. Sometimes it was dead people and at one point it was the cholera disease itself. Also there were some plots that I don’t think added much to the book (i.e. the theatre about cholera and the actors of the theatre specifically).

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books? Yes, Mammoth Cheese . I didn’t record it in my book journal, but from what I remember I liked it better than this one.

What did you think of the main character? I liked her. She wanted the best for her son, even though she had very little to offer. She worked hard and was smart to figure out ways to get the things that she wanted even though she was poor.

Share a favorite scene from the book. I liked the change in the relationship between Gustine and the eye. I also liked the scenes with Gustine and her son.

I didn’t really like this book very much. I had a hard time finishing it and it was quite depressing. It is a unique idea and there were plot surprises which I like.

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