Whores’ Asylum – Katy Darby

Deer Reeder,

Whores Asylum
Source of Photo        In Penguin’s publication, it is called “the unpierced heart”

Now, before you think it stop your dirty mind, this is NOT a Fifty Shades of Grey style book! Never judge a book by its cover or its rather risqué title for that matter…. Ironically its title was what caught my eye in the first place. I couldn’t help thinking “what the hell is this going to be about?” Well it turns out it was about an actually interesting story.

I read this story probably about two months ago but since it isn’t my usual genre I delve into often, I thought I might as well write my thoughts on it. It’s a Victorian period drama and usually I try to avoid dramas because they’re sad but curiosity got the better of me this time. I’m always looking to branch out and explore new authors and plot lines.

The book is about two friends who are living with each other and run into trouble when Edward’s past pops its nasty little head around the corner and says,

“remember me?”

Now I tend to have a soft spot for first person narrative for the very reason that you, the reader, only get supplied with one side of the story framed in the view point of that character. It is one way the author can keep secrets and plot twists from the reader. The only drawback is if you tend not to like the inner workings of the character’s mind. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t like Edward’s narrative at first. Ever met a narrow-minded person and then been forced to see the world from there tunnelled vision perspective, well this is what it was like reading his part of the story. However, the view point was needed as you see the tragedy unfold without the full context of how these events came about. Also, it sticks to how a priest would have deemed certain parts of society at the time, it’s not extravagantly unrealistic.

The book is written in three points of views. After Edwards, the narrative switches to Edward’s closest friend Stephen. Stephen’s mind is more open and accepting which was a nice change for me as he seemed more human. The later tragic events happening in the novel are surrounding him so this is the part where the reader gets the chance to fill in gaps and change their view point on events described by Edward previously. And lastly the narrative switches to Diana who fills in all the remaining gaps and adds on to the sorry tales already shown to us.

This book looks at some of the crueller parts of society in the Victorian era, how the destitute stay there and the rich wish these poor people would either die faster or are there for their own pleasure, to use and abuse. So clearly a lovely time to have been alive……! There are scenes of friendship, love, loss, violence and some characters (one in particular) who show a pure twisted nature. The sort that you end up swarming while reading it, then look up and wonder way the passengers on the train are giving you a well doggy look.

A quirkiness that you very rarely see in any adult novels are pictures or drawings. This book isn’t filled with them, there are probably about five in total but it added a fresh element and brought me back to my childhood. Although I already had mental pictures of the scenarios it just added more depth to the scene.

If I could sum this book up in one quote from it, it would be:

“Love is a disease….”

This was Kate Darby’s debut book so I don’t really know what her others will turn out like but I’m very inclined to search for her novels in the future. In terms of recommended reading it’s a bit of a hard one as I tend not to read these kinds of books often. However, if you like period drama with romance then you may enjoy Finger Smith by Sarah Waters (her books are usually about lesbian romances so don’t go in expecting a tall, dark, handsome prince to sweep anyone off their feet).

-The End-


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