Front Cover
Harcourt, 2000 - Fiction - 408 pages
620 Reviews
Born to rough cloth in working-class London in 1748, Mary Saunders hungers for linen and lace. Her lust for a shiny red ribbon leads her to a life of prostitution at a young age, where she encounters a freedom unknown to virtuous young women. But a dangerous misstep sends her fleeing to Monmouth and the refuge of the middle-class household of Mrs. Jones, to become the seamstress her mother always expected her to be and to live the ordinary life of an ordinary girl. Although Mary becomes a close confidante of Mrs. Jones, her desire for a better life leads her back to prostitution. She remains true only to the three rules she learned on the streets of London: Never give up your liberty; Clothes make the woman; Clothes are the greatest lie ever told. In the end, it is clothes, their splendor and their deception, that lead Mary to disaster.
Emma Donoghue's daring, sensually charged prose casts a new sheen on the squalor and glamour of eighteenth-century England. Accurate, masterfully written, and infused with themes that still bedevil us today, Slammerkin is historical fiction for all readers.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Great book, very well researched. - Goodreads
Engaging story although difficult to read at times - Goodreads
Very well written, quite a page turner. - Goodreads
I was very upset at the ending. - Goodreads
An excellent writer. - Goodreads
There's a danger in writing a book with an end in mind. - Goodreads

Review: Slammerkin

User Review  - Kendal - Goodreads

This book waa perfect for me. I adore period literature. And the characters in slammerkin were so deep and detailed. I felt connected with them which isn't something a writer can easily provoke in it's readers. It was sad and showed me what a tough time women had in victorian times. Read full review

Review: Slammerkin

User Review  - Amy Rebecca - Goodreads

I didn't love this and didn't hate it either. It had some very interesting parts and some parts which seemed to drone on not achieving anything. I wasn't sure where it was going for the majority but I did enjoy the ending. Worth a read. Read full review

About the author (2000)

Emma Donoghue was born in Dublin in 1969 and earned her Ph.D. in eight-eenth-century fiction at Cambridge. She is the author of three novels, a book of fairy tales, and several works of literary history. She lives in Ontario, Canada.

Bibliographic information