2009 Historical Fiction

The Harlot’s Progress: Yorkshire Molly – Peter Mottley

Yorkshire Molly is the first in a trilogy of books that breathe life into Hogarth’s series of etchings, The Harlot’s Progress (Please note that the previous link takes you to pictures of the etchings, which contain plot spoilers).

Set in 18th Century England, the book begins with Molly travelling on a wagon from York to London, excited at the prospect of marrying her wealthy cousin. Unfortunately, the moment she arrives in London Molly is lured into a whore house, where her innocence is brutally taken from her. With her plans in tatters Molly must learn to survive in her dangerous new surroundings.

‘London’s full of dressmakers,’ Mother Wickham said sharply. ‘Every silly child who can thread a needle calls herself a dressmaker. Forget your scissors and thread, girl. The prick of a needle is worth pennies. The prick of a man is measured in guineas.’

This is a fantastic book – it is rich in period detail and the plot is gripping throughout. It had a similar feel to Fingersmith, I’m sure that fans of Sarah Waters will love this book too. There were numerous twists and turns, and although none of them are as shocking as those in Fingersmith it was a fantastic plot, giving a glimpse of life as a notorious whore and in a privileged country home.

If my post hasn’t persuaded you to read it then have a look at the book trailer, as that is what made me want to pick it up!

Isn’t the author’s daughter fantastic? After listening to her I wanted the audio-book version, but unfortunately there isn’t going to be one; there will be a TV adaptation at some point though – I’m looking forward to it!

This book is a must for anyone who loves reading about 18th Century England; I’m hoping they publish the rest of the series soon.

Have you found any books that are similar to Fingersmith?

Has a book trailer ever persuaded you to read a book?

25 replies on “The Harlot’s Progress: Yorkshire Molly – Peter Mottley”

What a tempting review! I am reading an American crime story which takes place in the 1930s right now. Also really well-written, and it says a lot about the living conditions of women at that time. I am happy I wasn´t born until 1961!

Dorte, We are really lucky to have been born when/where we were. Reading books like this only reinforces this – women in the 18th century had a tough life.

Sandy, This is the only book I’ve read that has come close to the Fingersmith – it isn’t quite as good, but is a good substitute. I am sure you’d love this one.

Simon, There are a few similarities to Moll Flanders, but the story line is different. If you enjoy the atmosphere of Moll Flanders then I’m sure you’d like this one.

Wow his daughter is an amazing reader! Why was she talking about the book and not the author himself? I never heard of the trilogy before, but it intrigues me now. (Okay I just found out that the Peter Mottley passed away in 2006. That’s too bad. Did he know that his books were getting published?)

mee, It is very sad to know the author died before his books were published – I don’t know if he knew they would be or not. It is great that the daughter is so passionate about his books though. Someone should hire her to read audio books!

Your review had already convinced me, but the video did seal the deal! I loved his daughter’s reading. I’ll put this on the wish list for March! (you know, BLOB and all).

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