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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Book Review: The Harlot’s Progress: Yorkshire Molly by Peter Mottley

The Harlot's Progress: Yorkshire Molly by Peter Mottley
Book 1 in The Harlot’s Progress Series
Paperback, 472 pages
Carnevale Publishing
October 30, 2009
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Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received from Carnevale Publishing for Review
“This is a brand new historical thriller from Peter Mottley based on William Hogarth's celebrated 1733 etchings, "A Harlot's Progress". The first in a trilogy, Yorkshire Molly is a compelling story of one woman's misadventures in 18th century London and the first novel to bring these fascinating historical prints to life. Heroine Molly Huckerby arrives in London from Yorkshire into the exciting, vibrant and forbidding streets of the capital. She is soon approached by the notorious bawd Mother Wickham who cunningly seduces the heroine into a life of prostitution in a Cheapside brothel. The first in a trilogy, the story has elements of both bawdy romp and the serious struggles of a young woman against overwhelming misfortune. As well as comedy moments there is a breathtaking twist in the tale that keeps the reader gripped with a rewarding and not unhappy ending. Mottley (1935-2006) paints London with a colourful stroke, rich with historical accuracy that is the result of years of meticulous research”
Before I begin this review in earnest, I feel that I have to say this book is not for those who do not like to read sex scenes. Much of this book is about sex. I also wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t say that this book would get an R rating if it were a movie.

With the above disclaimer, even though I am not a huge fan of books with a lot of sex in them, I did enjoy this one. True, the first couple chapters were a shock to get through, but after that it became routine. The author didn’t just use sex for sex’s sake; it was very integral to the story. The main character, Molly’s, whole life changes because of sex and much of the story takes place in a brothel, so the usage is very appropriate to the main plot. The author develops the characters so well that you begin to pay more attention to what is going on with the characters that the sex really just falls to the side. Also, after the first third of the book, the sex scenes become less.

This is a third person narrated story that tends to focus on Molly’s experiences and what she is doing. From time to time though, mostly in the first half of the book, there will be a sort of cut scene to the “Jews” that will provide a side commentary to what is going on. You get to really know these characters much later on and then it makes sense. Up until then, I was a little confused as to what was their purpose in the story. You can tell that the author cared about his characters because each one is complete with a set personality. You really do get to see them grow and evolve. You will quickly become caught up in Molly’s story, as well as that of her friends Annie and Kitty, and by the end of this book you will be cheering them to succeed.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. When I first accepted the book I had no idea the amount of sex that was in it and after hearing some other’s opinions, I decided this was going to sit for a little while. After I decided to pick it up, I really got into the story and am so glad that I read it. I will definitely be looking for the second book in the series Annie’s Quest, which will follow Molly’s friend Annie, I presume.

To give you a taste of the story, please check out chapter 1. This chapter doesn’t feature any of the sex scenes, so feel free to view it. Here is also the book trailer:

The author, Peter Mottley, unfortunately passed away before his series was published, but his daughter has been working to fulfill his dream. At this point, I am unsure if any additional books will be released, and unless you are willing to pay big bucks, I don’t see it for sale anywhere.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I had heard this book was spectacular and have added it to my TBR list. Your review sealed it for me - - terrific review!

  2. Wow! Sounds crazy intense -- but fun, too. I wonder if there will be a great difference between the daughter's writing and the father's.

  3. Lori - Glad I could help!

    Audra - I think that all three of the books were written before he died, they just needed to be published. I think....

  4. Thank you for such a good review.

  5. What a great review! This book sounds really interesting -- funny, I actually just reviewed a book about how much sex there was from a contemporary perspective, so it seems to be the trend of what I'm reading lately...!! :) Sheesh!

  6. Heather -- Okay, well, that makes me feel a little better! I also didn't realize they are based -- or inspired by -- a painting!

  7. Mystica - You're welcome!

    Coffee and a Book Chick - not that terrible of a trend. There could certainly be worse things.

    Audra - yes! I forgot to mention that. The books are based off of the paintings in the series The Harlot's Progress by William Hogarth. If you want to take a look at the prints in the series, check them out here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Harlot's_Progress.

  8. Thanks for the review. This sounds like it will be a rather "educational" series. The sex can be annoying, but in stories like these, I is a necessary element. The book trailer is great. His daughter does an excellent job performing the book. If they have done an audio book, I hope she is the reader.
    This series is now on my Wish List.

  9. Librarypat - I don't know if they have done an audio book for it yet or not. That is an interesting observation. I know that the second book, Annie's Quest is supposed to be coming out in the spring.

  10. Great review Heather. With the name of Harlot's Progress, I am not surprised there is a lot of sex. Thanks for the warning though. Sounds like an intriguing read.


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