The Dress Lodger

The Dress Lodger

by Sheri Holman


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The Dress Lodger 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 64 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you want to read a very unusual and creative story based on historical fact, this is it. The Dress Lodger is a novel that intertwines the hardship of poverty and the ongoing underground "education" of early surgeons in England in the 17c. in an incredible and very descriptive way. Characters are unforgettable, I read this 5 years ago and I remember all of it. One of the few book I may actually reread. Awesome.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As I am reading this book I feel a bit held hostage. I want to finish it in order to find out how the main character's life turns out. However, it moves so very slowly. I find I put this down in the middle of sentences sometimes. The paradox of wanting to know and yet having such a struggle to find out seems to mimic the dress lodger's life. Maybe this is why I so much want to get to the end and yet feel so incapable of pushing through it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Remarkable! Great characters and great writing. I truly felt transported back in time. Such a relief to see that great writers still exist.
LadyHester More than 1 year ago
I gave this book several chances, but I just could not get into it.
A-Reading-Teacher More than 1 year ago
A bookshop owner recommended this to me- she loved it and so did I. Between the time period, characters, and crudeness, I couldn't put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I usually get through books very quick, but this took me over a month to read. The only thing that kept me going was the main character, and at times I almost gave up on her. Not a book I'd recommend to friends.
coffeesucker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read! Stunning and brilliant!
bnbookgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Great historical fiction. A descriptive history of the oldest profession in a different light. A love story too. This book is touching and thought-provoking at the same time. A book about damnation and salvation.
bhowell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book and maybe I will now tackle The Mammoth Cheese. This is an historical novel but it is not a light read. It is intense and shocking in its detail of poverty and disease in 1830's England. It also highlights the grisly history of body snatching by the medical profession to practice their surgical skills. Sometimes it borders on the fantastic but on the whole tells a heartbreaking and riveting story.
Daniel.Estes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Two characters, the young Gustine and the un-empathetic Dr. Henry Chiver, are separated by class and even by their aim of life. In this story they cross paths in ways that will tragically change them forever.The descriptions in The Dress Lodger are thick with detail. The pacing is slow as a result, but that doesn't in the least take away from the urgency of the story. The central character, Gustine, lives during a time of nearly hopeless poverty. From the point of view of the lower class, you might confuse the time period as the Dark Ages and not pre-industrial England. This is how heartrendingly simple and limiting their lives are.
Mintypink on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman might be unsettling at first, especially for readers who aren¿t used to being directly addressed by the narrators. However, if you stick with the story, which is set right in the middle of a cholera outbreak in Sunderland, England (circa 1830¿s), you will be well rewarded. This is a bit of beautifully crafted historical fiction, blending history and plot, although not entirely seamlessly. The writing style is descriptive, rich and satisfying in some passages, but chokingly florid in others. The highlight of this book would have to be the characters. They are all so well thought out, albeit unsubtle. I did find myself reacting to each character, which is always a good thing, but I think Holman may have been a little heavy handed in her attempt to push the plot forward.
beckylynn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Don't waste your time. The point of view changes in odd and sporadic places without commentary so you never have any clue who's talking or thinking what. Not to mention the story is long, drawn out, and boring. Seemed to be very promising but fell flat on it's face.
mldavis2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
At times raw and gritty, this novel is one of those in which the author has researched English history in the town of Sunderland and combined historical facts into a fictional novel of power. Narration uncertainty becomes a vehicle in the story in which the characters often mean well but often suffer from ignorance and superstition. This is a well written book with a prostitute as a main character and symbolism woven throughout. An excellent discussion book if you're a member of a group. Recommended with reservation only for its adult themes which may not be to everyone's taste.
countrylife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The abject poverty of life for those without means in 1830s England is described so vividly that you feel yourself in the midst of the wretchedness with Ms. Holman's characters. The cholera epidemic of 1831, grave robbing for medical research, and prostitution all figure into this work of historical fiction. The plight of workers in that era ¿ matchstick painters with phosphorous poisoning, potters with potters' cough, pottery painters with lead poisoning, dock workers and prostitutes and the pitfalls awaiting them ¿ are also graphically pictured. I wouldn't call this an enjoyable read, but it was definitely well written and educative.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Would be fun to do a compare/contrast with this book and Slammerkin. The main character here, like S, is also a prostitute. Surprisingly good story. The historical details felt authentic.
SmithSJ01 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not a jolly topic at all but this book about 19th Century grave robbers is fascinating to say the least. It's not riveting but quite distubring in places. It's difficult to say it's 'enjoyable' but I found the characters well-rounded and the plot convincing. I don't if it is historically accurate or not but a wonderful tale of a doctor and dress lodger is developed in the cholera stricken Sunderland during 1831. Although I'm from the north east it was not a Sunderland I was ever likely to know however it was fun to read about places I actually knew. This aside, the story is gripping. Be prepared to put it down regularly for a cup of coffee as it is actually difficult in places but on the whole a worth while experience.
GoldenBeep on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A friend of mine recommended this book to me. She said only that I would enjoy it, and though the title made me think that it would be mindless chick literature, I knew from the first chapter that she was right. The story follows two characters at the dawn of the cholera epidemic in England: Gustine, a young prostitute and mother, and Henry Chiver, an engaged doctor. The story follows Chiver's struggles with finding bodies to perform his autopsies. Holman writes with a gripping style that simply refuses to let go. The only problem with this book is that it eventually ends. An absolute joy to read, especially if you have any interest in history, medicine, or 19th century prostitution.
sunfi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A historical fiction piece set in England in 1831 at the start of a cholera epidemic. The story crosses the lives of the well-to-do and the poor and looks at the class struggles and their perception of the epidemic. This story has a little of everything, prostitution, body-snatching, tenement housing, and every other social condition you can imagine during that time period.
AdonisGuilfoyle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A poor man's 'Crimson Petal and the White' (Faber). Holman states in the reader's guide at the back of the Ballantine edition that she was inspired by Dickens' 'Bleak House', but this is presumably a Dickens born in America, barely on nodding terms with London, and born over a hundred years too late. Although an interesting concept, with informative background into the 1832 cholera epidemic and the extreme poverty of a northern England town, Holman misses the mark with her dark study of nineteenth century life. The narrative is littered with anachronisms (gold lame, in the 1830s?), American phrases and colloquialisms (blocks instead of streets, charley horse instead of cramp, diapers, candy, hairdos, and even a white picket fence!); the dialogue is badly written (she should have had an English editor check over her 'bad language', as the blue-tongued landlord sounds like a five year old experimenting with naughty words!) and peppered with random attempts at local dialect; and her characters are more caricatures than vivid personalities. The second person narration suits the style and setting of the novel, but it's been better executed elsewhere, and although Holman doesn't censor the horrors of disease and prostitution, the suggestion of a happy ending for Gustine and Pink seems tacked on after nearly three hundred pages of misery and degradation. Read Michel Faber's 'Crimson Petal' instead, or indeed Dickens' 'Bleak House'.
mandaj on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Immediately, I was distracted by the voice in this book. What starts out as second person narrative (the narrator refers to you the reader), changes to first person, to third person, and back again. Outside of this minor irritation, the book was wonderfully descriptive. I found myself fully immersed in the 19th century at the beginning of the Cholera outbreak.
davidabrams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brandie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Umm ... I can't even really remember this book today so I guess it must not have been too great!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you prefer romance novels or the kind of historical novels that can be depended upon to end happily for the main character, then you probably won't like this book. You aren't the intended audience. If not, then read the first few pages and maybe the reviews in magazines and newspapers that you trust. I loved it.