The Crimson Petal and the White
by Michel Faber

Faber.CrimsonPetalLong, Victorian-style novel that includes the seamier side of Victorian life; depicts what it was like to be a woman during that time, in both the lowest and the higher classes.

Opening paragraphWatch your step.  Keep your wits about you; you will need them.  This city I am bringing you to is vast and intricate, and you have not been here before.  You may imagine, from other stories you’ve read, that you know it well, but those stories flattered you, welcoming you as a friend, treating you as if you belonged.  The truth is that you are an alien from another time and place altogether.

Quotes from critics“A big, sexy, bravura novel.  Wildly entertaining” (The New York Times); “A deliciously dirty Victorian tale.  A smart plot laced with vibrant descriptions, plush scenes and unforgettable characters” (Chicago Tribune); “Sprawling, gritty, lush . . . reminiscent of Dickens and Trollope and Hardy” (The Portsmouth Herald); “Startling and absorbing” (Booklist).

BioMichel Faber (1960- ) was born in the Netherlands, grew up in Australia, and now lives in Scotland.  Before being a writer, he worked as a nurse.  According to an interview in The Scotsman,  he is “ so reclusive he makes the Loch Ness monster look like an extrovert. . . .He doesn’t drive, watch television, or own a mobile phone. He needs seclusion like the rest of us need sleep. He is, in his own words, a privacy junkie.”