On a particular day in August 2015, the book gods declared a holiday. There was a new Harper Lee novel, a new Ernest Cline novel, and a highly-rated debut by Natasha Pulley. I learned about that last one on Goodreads, I think, as part of a New Releases email. It seemed like an interesting book, so I put it on my list. When I searched for it at the bookstore and found a delightful binding with a watchface showing through a cutout on the jacketless cover, it quickly joined the others in my hand.

I don’t have much to say about why I’m reading it. The first few pages offered some beautiful writing. And I knew it had a surreal quality to it, which is something I absolutely love.

There is, of course, the fact it takes place in Victorian London. I’ve made several false starts on a novel set in Victorian London, and I’m always curious to see how others do it. I pay particular attention to the amount of Victorian detail they offer. In most cases, it’s less than I expect. My guess is that the words “Victorian London” in the jacket copy immediately put readers into a certain mindset with defined expectations, thereby eliminating the need for an author to paint the landscape with an abundance of detail.

So that’s it. An impulse read. As a bonus, the author is a woman. I need more female prose in my life, especially when it’s as elegant and observational as Natasha Pulley’s seems to be.


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