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My Notorious Life by Madame X Hardcover – 6 Jun 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (6 Jun. 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1408835649
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408835647
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.9 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 515,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A glorious, grotty version of Call the Midwife set in the backstreets of nineteenth-century New York and starring a rambunctious heroine called Axie Muldoon, My Notorious Life is an angry, colourful page-turner ... Vividly weaving together stories about life, birth, death, love and family, Kate Manning conveys the terrible choices faced by the pregnant women who sought out Axie. Fiery, indomitable Axie herself is a wonderful, memorable character struggling to reunite her family and do her best for the women who need her (Metro)

Not just a splendidly page-turning story of an angry orphan clawing her way up in the world, but a gripping docu-drama about women's business (in several senses) in nineteenth-century America. My Notorious Life gives midwifery its full dues: the glories and the miseries, the feminism and the money, the literally bloody ethical dilemmas. Unflinchingly memorable (Emma Donoghue, author of Room)

Manning's sophisticated, intelligent novel is brought to life by the vivid voice in which her central character tells her own story (Sunday Times)

Both riveting and morally intriguing (Stylist)

A gripping tale told in a fiery, compelling voice (Elle Magazine)

This captivating novel draws you into one woman's desperate struggle to make her mark in a man's world (Psychologies)

An evocative, riveting read (Good Housekeeping)

My Notorious Life is wonderful fun. The wit and verve of its unsinkable heroine make this novel a delight to read, even in its most harrowing passages. Beyond that, it's a book that matters-now more than ever. Faithfully true to the time of its setting, it is also extremely relevant to ours (Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls' Rising)

The lively, compelling, irreverent voice of Axie springs off the page and keeps the book readable to the end (The List)

Evocative ... An epic tale, much like Barbara Taylor Bradford tome, where fortune truly favours the brave girl. A remarkable page turner (Yorkshire Post)

Manning's sophisticated, intelligent novel is brought to life by the vivid voice in which her central character tells her own story (Sunday Times Ireland)

The details are impeccably researched ... This is a novel that resurrects an important slice of social history (Independent)

Book Description

A stunning tale of sex, freedom, family and the many faces of love, set in nineteenth-century New York

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lola TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
From the immigrant tenements of the nineteenth century New York City to the charities for orphans and foster homes of then prairie and rural Mid-West America, up to the world of Washington Square and Fifth Avenue high society (where the high society ladies face the same problems as their not so fortunate maids) this consuming narrative, "My Notorious Life by Madame X" is a gripping, clever, moving, morally fascinating and a very entertaining novel.
It reminded me of an epic novel, of a saga, story of generations. Even though, strictly speaking, it covers life of just one woman - from the early childhood till the old age - but what an entertaining account of this real rags-to-riches tale this life is!

"My Notorious Life" is a gripping story (once you get through the first chapters and get used to the foul language of the streets then spoken by Axie Muldoon), it is full of colourful characters that you come to love, and the magnificently feisty Madame X herself.
The story is beautifully detailed, very entertaining. Every character that appears on the pages of the book is unique and by the end of the book you feel like you'd known Axie and her extended family for a very long time. The book is long and it is a pleasure to relax into it, although when the things start to stir and the charges are brought against the notorious Madame X, I doubt you will be able to relax (I was biting my knuckles, like Axie herself!).

This novel is also a great read for historical fiction fans (the book, I understand, was very well researched by the author, Kate Manning). Recommended! Five stars, as I nearly shed a tear when I finished this colourful account of one woman's life.

P.S. There are, possibly, two things for you to do now that you've decided to get this book:
1.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By elsie purdon TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is one of those novels where you can really lose yourself and be taken to another time and place altogether.
I wasn't sure at first where this story of extreme poverty and hardship in mid nineteenth century New York was going to go. The title kind of suggests the oldest profession, but in fact little Axie (Ann) Muldoon grows up to be a midwife and female physician at a time when women were not allowed to be in charge of their own bodies.
The writing is full of atmosphere, using the way people spoke at that time, plus old Irish words and sayings as Axie's parents were irish immigrants.
There is much detail here, too much for me at times as I am rather squeamish, but nothing detracts from this excellent story and writing.
It is vivid, entertaining and informative of those times. There is much poverty, the sights and smells and hardships are conveyed, and so is the intensity of the lives of the characters.
Inspired by a true story I would highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in this time in history or anyone who likes a good story to get lost in.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Petra "I love to read" TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Aug. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My Notorious Life by Madame X written by Kate Manning was a well written book based on a young girl who begged on the streets of New York but grew up to be a very successful Midwife who cared not only for the babies she delivered but the women who sought her out when an extra mouth to feed was just one mouth to many.
This was an excellent book historical wise as it showed the medical breakthroughs and how the era of the 1800's dealt with pregnancy and women's issues. If Madame X had of being alive today I do believe she would be running the health service. I loved how the author brought Annie Muldoon (Axis) to the reader as an uneducated girl who had to beg for the next mouthful of food and as her life changes her language and mannerisms changes especially when speaking to those of a higher class, though when she was arguing with her husband and friend Charlie she would mistakenly slip back to the old mother tongue. There was one thing I loved about her as a character she had a heart of gold and when she loved she loved with a passion but go against her and those she loved she would fight back with more venom than any snake that has ever lived.
The author Kate Manning has given her readers not only a book which is well written and she has a wonderful gift of really opening up the character of Annie or the notorious Madame X but I could feel the character's pain when those she cared for turned their back on her. As a reader I could understand her fear especially when she has lost all those who she loved and her fear of losing her life while in child birth was real which the reader was made fully aware of her pain.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Moran on 11 Jun. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Through fear, poverty and loss to acceptance and prosperity, to being the most famous and wanted woman in Manhattan; this is a rip-roaring journey through a fascinating fictional life. Axie Muldoon's story grabbed me from the first page and didn't let me go until the very (satisfying) end. My Notorious Life is a fast paced, dramatic and brilliantly written book charting Axie's rise from a childhood begging on the streets to being one of the most wanted women in Manhattan as her skill in midwifery brings her both the good and bad attentions of society at all levels.

Axie is one of those characters you won't easily forget and I loved her. Often her own worst enemy, she refuses to settle, clings to her history and beliefs and defends her family to the last. Hers is literally a story of rags to riches but her prosperity and wealth come at a price and I loved the way that Kate Manning skilfully told the different sides to Axie's story, showing how the experiences of her childhood influenced her decisions throughout her life.

Part one of the book broke my heart as Axie is separated one by one from the people she loves, some of whom she will see again but some she won't. This was just one of the threads of the story that kept me gripped by this book and as characters from earlier parts of the story find their way back into Axie's life, there were a number of surprises in store; not least the role of cheeky fellow orphan Charles in the book which was an excellent surprise.

With no formal eduction, Axie falls on her feet when she is taken in by a doctor and his wife and Mrs Evans sees her potential and begins to instruct her in the art of midwifery.
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