In the mid-18th century, women were little more than chattel — their survival largely depended on the men in their lives. When the protection of fathers, brothers, and/or husbands broke down, many women were forced into prostitution. So it was with Tully.
Tully’s father, a wretched man once of wealth, cared not for Tully, whose mother died in childbirth. In time, he lost all his wealth to gambling and Tully was gambled away to a brothel. It was here that she found the first truly caring family in her young life.
Though women lived somewhat independently in these brothels, they were at the mercy of the men who paid for their time. The “lucky” ones found men who would keep them for themselves, give them gifts, and treat them well. Because Tully was pretty and witty, she attracted the attentions of several men who became loves in her life.
This novel about the limits of women’s freedom is also one of love and even magic. Book clubs not shy about erotic passages and interested in the darker side of women’s history will find much to discuss here.
An Almond for a Parrot, by Wray Delaney. MIRA/Harlequin; ISBN 978-0-77833-015-8; $26.99.
United for Libraries Book Club Choices are featured in the The Voice, United for Libraries newsletter, which is sent to members.