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The Harlot's Press [Paperback]

Helen Pike
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 July 2011
London, 1820: the city is in turmoil over the King s plans for divorce...

Into this maelstrom is thrown plucky printeress Nell Wingfield, who is turning tricks to survive at one of the Houses of the Quality on St James s.

When one of her clients, a leading figure in the establishment, is found dead in her bed, it is time for Nell to flee. She has had more than a commercial relationship with this man, and knows that his enemies will try to exploit this for their own ends.

Back home on Cheapside, however, caught between the radical politics of her family and the powerful forces behind the royalist cause, Nell is faced with a stark choice as she fights to stay alive...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Short Books Ltd (7 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907595406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907595400
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 802,043 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Helen Pike grew up in Preston, Lancashire. Helen is a History graduate of Christ Church, Oxford, and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck. Now forty and living in Guildford and Oxfordshire, Helen combines teaching with writing fiction and co-editing a series of historiographical textbooks for Anthem Press. Her debut novel, THE HARLOT'S PRESS,is loosely based around the Queen Caroline Affair of 1820. In writing THE HARLOT'S PRESS, Helen was inspired by many years teaching History and Politics, a love of London, and a passion for nineteenth-century literature.

Product Description


I thoroughly recommend this book --The Daily Mail

This combination of bodice-ripping romp and political intrigue… adds up to a very good read --Literary Review

This combination of bodice-ripping romp and political intrigue… adds up to a very good read --Literary Review

About the Author

Helen Pike lives in Guildford and Oxfordshire. She is a history graduate of Oxford and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck. This is her debut novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting blend of historical fact and fiction 15 Sep 2011
"Have you ever seen the new King's bare backside? If you have, it was most likely on a cartoon - unless you are one of the Ladies of the Quality and have been honoured to witness the royal nether parts in the flesh."

So begins the story of Nell Wingfield, which is set against a background of political and social unrest in the early 1820s, with the population rebelling against the excesses of the new king, George IV (if you`re not sure which one he is, just think Hugh Laurie in the third series of Blackadder). There`s a surge of support for George's estranged wife, Caroline of Brunswick, who wants to return to England to take her place as Queen and is promising to ensure prosperity for all her citizens.

Nell's stepfather Isiah Douglas is a radical preacher whose fiery anti-Royalist sermons have angered the authorities and earned him a spell in prison. With their mother recently dead Nell and her sister are sent to live with their aunt and uncle, but Nell would rather make her own way in the world than stay and endure her uncle's wandering hands. It's not long before she's recruited to work for Mother Cooper who runs a bawdy house in a wealthy part of London, and it's here that Nell makes the intimate acquaintance of two aristocrats through whom she learns more about the plot to topple the King. When one of them dies suddenly, Nell fears for her own life and flees the brothel to return to her old life.

Back at the printing house with Isiah released from prison, Nell becomes more and more involved in the radical cause and uses her printing skills to produce pamphlets and cartoons to denounce George and publicise an underground network of meetings and events.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 9 Feb 2011
This is not my usual genre at all but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The protagonist is likeable and the story engaging-I struggled to put it down. It's a dark romp through London's seedy underside during the reign of King George-don't leave it lying around for the kids to read as in parts it is definitely not suitable! A thoroughly excellent first novel-I look forward to reading more from the author.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Harlot's Press 11 May 2013
By Keen Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER
I came across this book quite by chance while browsing the local Library's shelves. I found this a book of some contrasts; the story itself was worth pursuing; radical politics and fanatical religion at the time of the King George IV's coronation, his struggle to remove Caroline from his life, both personal and public, and the unrest for all sorts of reasons in England at the time. But into this we read of a more personal aspect; that of Nell, the woman running a printing press, her religious preaching stepfather, her siblings, all of whom require Nell's care in one form or another, and Nell herself, struggling to make sense of the world. All well and good so far.

But that's about where it all went somehow slightly awry; the story seemed to be written outside of the time in which it was set. It didn't sit well in Georgian England, for me. It all seemed wrong and slightly off centre. So while the story itself may have had a good flow and rhythm, I just couldn't find it within myself to dive into it wholeheartedly, because it never quite seemed to fit within the time and place in which it was set. Hard to explain what I mean exactly, but I guess you could say I never really brought totally into the characters, because they all seemed slightly wrong in the contexts. A pity, and I'm sorry I didn't find the book better than I did; I would have liked to, as the premise was a good one.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me 21 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Amazon recommended this book to me because I read Jewel of St Petersburg so I was keen to get it. However I was very disappointed and could see no resemblance to 'Jewel' which I loved. I found this book very confusing and had to keep looking back to check on what had happened. It seemed to have little continuity and I was not keen on the style of writing, particularly all the religious quotations. The story revolves around the step-daughter of a printer who becomes caught up in the radical plots around the time of George 1V's coronation, but though I normally love historical novels, I never once got really involved in the plot which at times came over as a bit of a 'non-event'. There were some quite atmospheric descriptions of London at that time but on the whole I wouldn't recomment it.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read 26 Feb 2011
By Dane
Just the book I was looking for. Creative momentum whisked me away through London's dark streets, where I stayed a while before Miss Pike delivered me, fully satisfied, back to my world. The author's passion for history's intricacy translates into a grippingly real experience.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant new novel 17 Oct 2011
A brilliant first novel. The rapid, exciting passages were artfully contrasted with gentler moments-- just enough to get my breath back! Raunchy and risque. Just my cup of tea!
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