A page-turning tale of murder, subversion and vice in which afemale medical student in Victorian Edinburgh is drawn into a murder investigation when she recognizes one of the corpses in her anatomy lecture. Sarah Gilchrist has fled London and a troubled past to join the University of Edinburgh's medical school in 1892, the first year it admits women. She is determined to become a doctor despite the misgivings of her family and society, but Sarah quickly finds plenty of barriers at school itself: professors who refuse to teach their new pupils, male students determined to force out their female counterparts, andperhaps worst of allher female peers who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman. Desperate for a proper education, Sarah turns to one of the city’s ramshackle charitable hospitals for additional training. The St Giles’ Infirmary for Women ministers to the downtrodden and drunk, the thieves and whores with nowhere else to go. In this environment, alongside a group of smart and tough teachers, Sarah gets quite an education. But when Lucy, one of Sarah’s patients, turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into a murky underworld of bribery, brothels, and body snatchers. Painfully aware of just how little separates her own life from that of her former patient’s, Sarah is determined to find out what happened to Lucy and bring those responsible for her death to justice. But as she searches for answers in Edinburgh’s dank alleyways, bawdy houses and fight clubs, Sarah comes closer and closer to uncovering one of Edinburgh’s most lucrative trades, and, in doing so, puts her own life at risk… An irresistible read with a fantastic heroine, beautifully drawn setting, fascinating insights into what it was like to study medicine as a woman at that time, The Wages of Sin is a stunning debut that heralds a striking new voice in historical fiction.
Kaite Welsh,author of The Wages of Sin,is an Edinburgh-based journalist and the literature officer at Creative Scotland. She writes a weekly column for theDaily Telegraphand makes frequent appearances on BBC Radio 4’sWoman’s Hour.
The Wages of Sin: A Novel 2 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
More than 1 year ago
The reviews make this book a more intellectual exercise than it is. It is nothing more than a bodice ripper. In addition it is meant as a series and thus we have to invest in a thinly drawn overly dramatic main character. While the book claims to be about the lack of choices for women in the era the villain is a woman and the hero is boring only to be saved by a man.
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