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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Review: The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay

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Ami McKay’s second novel is sure to be a bestseller just like the first.

I am Moth, a girl from the lowest part of Chrystie Street, born to a slum-house mystic and the man who broke her heart.

So begins The Virgin Cure, a story about a street girl named Moth who is lured by the street savvy Mae into Miss Everett’s brothel for girls. Set in the 1800s in New York, girls as young as 12 are preyed upon by those wishing to make a buck or to pay a large sum to be a girl’s first. Sadly there are many gentlemen willing to sleep with young girls and, more depressing, there are many who believe virgins will cure syphillus.

Moth is 12, and like many girls from poor families, is sold. Money changes hands and she goes first to Mrs. Wentworth as a ladies maid. But Mrs. Wentworth likes to beat pretty girls so Moth runs away only to find that her mother is no longer living in their apartment. With no where to go, she’s left to her own devices until she is “saved” by Miss Everett, who trains young girls in the art of seduction and then sells their first trick for a lovely sum to well-to-do gentlemen including the Chief of Dectectives, bankers, and politicians. Thankfully Mr. Dink (no pun apparently intended) and Dr. Sadie (a lady physician dedicated to serving the needs of women and children) provide Moth a means to live beyond the street or the whorehouse. The question is whether she’ll take these offers.

The Virgin Cure is a novel about friendship and betrayal, and it’s a ficitionalized account of McKay’s great, great- grandmother who was a lady physician in NYC during this time.

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay
published by Knopf in hardcover and ebook
Canadian author

Visit Ami McKay’s website

 

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