Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Virgin Cure, by Ami McKay- TLC Book Tour

Ami McKay
Harper Collins 
June 26, 2012, 
HC, 336pp,  

Is it possible that men really believed that by taking the maiden head of a young woman he would be cured of a host of socially transmitted diseases, most importantly, the pox?  Ami McKay has created a heartfelt story a young girl named “Moth.” She was abandoned by her father, and at the age of twelve was sold by her mother to a wretched wealthy woman who abused her with sadistic pleasure. Moth breaks free but her theft of a bracelet will only last so far. The year is 1871 and McKay depicts the horrors of life on the streets for thousands of young children who stayed alive by any means possible. Moral principles succumbed to a need to survive through desperate illegal and illicit behavior.
Moth is soon befriended by a young girl who offers her a chance to get off the streets. She introduces Moth to Miss Everett, the madam of a brothel who caters to the whims of wealthy gentlemen.  They pay enormous sums to bed a young virgin. Miss Everett proudly and protectively cultivates the street girls to exude beauty and class.  The girls learn to enchant their dates with sensual tension that only furthers to increase negotiations. Moth meets Dr. Sadie, a female physician who takes care of the girls in residence.  Dr. Sadie questions young Moth’s age as her innocence is apparent beneath her bravado and intelligence. As Moth dreams of a better life, a life of independence and freedom to be herself she believes Miss Everett will provide a secure future. Dr. Sadie and Moth develop a friendship that allows her to see life outside the illusion of comfort provided by Miss Everett.
Ami McKay
Her story is easily imagined by Ami McKay’s captivating recreation of tenement life in New York.  In her author notes, she explains her motivation and research that led her to Moth Fenwick’s story. She tells her surprise at her discovery of the myth of what is called “the virgin cure.” Ami McKay’s shaping of Moth is a composite of so many young girls on the streets, homeless and doing whatever it takes to survive. Moth will be remembered for her courage and her strong voice of determination that covers up her frightened soul.  Moth walks the reader down the dirty social history of city life in the late 1800’s where countless of homeless children struggled to survive life on the streets with hard and desperate choices that often ended in tragedy.  A wonderful vivid enveloping historical fiction read.  Will no doubt present comparisons and reflection about children worldwide who struggle, fearful and alone to this day.  

Disclosure:  A copy of this book was provided by TLC Book Tours for an unbiased review.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2012].

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1 comment:

trish said...

It just breaks my heart to think of girls doing things like this to survive! It sounds like a hopeful story, despite the bleak subject matter.

Thanks for being on the tour!