03 July 2012

Review: Belle by Lesley Pearse

Belle by Lesley Pearse

Published: February 2011 by Michael Joseph

Pages: 624 pages (paperback)

Genre/s: Historical Fiction (early 20th century)

Source: Own library

Check It Out: Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ The Book Depository

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Fifteen year-old Belle has lived in a brothel in Seven Dials all her life, with no understanding of what happens in the rooms upstairs. But her innocence is shattered when she witnesses the murder of one of the girls and, subsequently snatched from the streets by the killer, she is sold into prostitution in Paris.


My Thoughts


Back before I discovered zombie, post-apocalyptic and dystopian books, I read almost exclusively historical fiction, both romantic and non-romantic.  So whenever I feel a little 'zombied-out', its a genre I revert back to because I enjoy it so damn much.  And Lesley Pearse is one of my favourite historical-fiction authors.


Belle is a young, innocent girl when she is kidnapped, and at fifteen years of age she has been sheltered from much of the badness in the world by her mother and her mothers maid, Mog.  Suddenly thrust into the seedy world of prostitution, first in France and later in New Orleans, she also has an inner strength that drives her to make the best she can from any situation.

The story itself is written quite simplistically, and without reams of flowery language the story moves along at a good pace, so the 600+ pages flew by.  It was impossible not to be disturbed by the stories of other girls that Belle met along the way, and the people that both helped and exploited her, and other characters that although seemed good at heart were corrupted by both money and circumstance.

Belle is a great main character - through every kind of nightmare imaginable she never gives up hope that she can make it back home to her family and her determination to make the best of every horrific situation that comes her way is truly admirable.

One of the things I love most about historical fiction is settings, and the history itself - although I suspected that girls would still be forced into prostitution, I didn't realise they would actually be sold like household goods to such an extent.  Ms. Pearse makes the streets and houses of France and New Orleans come alive on the page and as a reader I was completely transported into the worlds of brothels and courtesans.

There is a sequel to Belle, The Promise, which I went and bought as soon as I had finished this book - I had to know more about what happened to her and her family and friends, and the next installment is set during WWI - which should prove to be just as fascinating!

If you're a lover of historical fiction, you should really check this one out.

6 comments:

  1. I have heard a lot of good things about Lesley Pearse but haven't actually read her yet. It certainly sounds like my kind of book!

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    1. This is the third book of hers that I've read, and I've enjoyed all of them! She tells a great story!

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  2. Sounds interesting(: I'll have to look out for it ^^

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  3. Oooh, I've never heard of Lesley Pearse! I'll have to check her out!

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  4. I was wondering whether you would be happy to put up a link in my monthly series called “Books You Love”. The idea is for people to link up posts about a book they loved. It could be an old fave. There is already quite a nice collection of books that can go on our reading lists. Here is the link Books You Loved July Edition

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  5. I haven't read anything by this author but these two books sound amazing and I love historical fiction. I will be reading these books as soon as I can find them.

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