The elevator pitch would be - “Nurse looking after a limited life patient, meets and looks down on (because of her own, strict, Baptist upbringing) an ex-prostitute and listens to her story.” This exquisite novel is so much more than that and is deep in its investigations, insights and its ability to make all of us think about our preconceived ideas.
I came across the author via her poetry and soon realised that someone with such a mastery of words would write a good novel. I was thrilled, therefore, to find a set of three novels and this is the first.
Having a wife as an ex-nurse myself, who dealt with bereavement and also having recently lost a father who had a need to impart his life stories before leaving us, made this novel even more poignant and I loved it.
Mags, the ex-prostitute, explains to Dora, the nurse how she got into her Profession and how it all ended. Mags is quite explicit in places, but the book is so thoughtfully and delicately written that you take it all in your stride.
My only experience of prostitution in novels (or anywhere else!) is by reading Martina Cole but they are gritty, East End novels, whereas this is middle class meets rich meets poorer. I thought Lyndhurst would come out with a cracking novel having read her poetry and was not disappointed. The ending is inevitable and yet a complete surprise and brought a tear, (you’re a bloke get over it,) due to the compassion with which the author writes throughout.
Thinking back, on finishing this piece of artwork, I think the relationship between Mags and Dora is so intimate (and intimately written) that the reader sometimes forgets they are not in the room, sat listening in to their conversation.
This being the first of three in a series I can’t wait to read the next.
Follow this author, Laura Lyndhurst on Instagram at @lyndhurstlaura
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