East End Alice, A Victorian Girls Escape From Sin
Genres: Historical Fiction
The East End of London, Victorian London 1884. The crowded tenements, the poor standard of living, the diseases, the crime and the vice are all inhabitants of this darkest of places, yet people here are not insular nor vying to be better than their neighbour’s. This is an environment where everyone looks out for one another, where despite poverty, friendship is watchword and this is the world in which twelve-year-old Alice Kettle sweeps her street crossing, keeping it clear for people to cross the road without the detritus of Victorian traffic fouling their person. A job she does to earn pennies to help support her mother’s family through these hard times. Alice however is an unsuspecting target for that most foul of purveyors of human flesh, the purchasers of young girls who take them from their homes and then force them to work in the high class brothels which are mostly frequented by the moneyed classes. Charlie Atkin has Alice in his sights and he sets his devious plans into action in order to make a pretty penny from the appropriation of Alice, this despite the efforts of the Social Sisters movement to change the laws on the current age of consent and prostitution in general.A book that follows Alice through the trials that await her as her life is suddenly turned on her head. Will she escape her fate? 4.0 out of 5 starsFast and Enjoyable! Excerpts from reviews of East End Alice. This book grabbed me from the start with its gritty, dark image of late 1880s London's East End and the vivid, raw representation of its characters. I have always been fascinated by the history and images of the period, and this book delivers that. One of the first things to draw me was the author’s use of dialect. The depiction of the abject poverty of the people that lived in London’s East End was heart breaking, but the character of Alice was heart-warming and uplifting. Before reading the book, I delved into the author’s page at Amazon. Charley B. is a writer of erotica, but this book is not erotica at all. Instead, the author begins each chapter with excerpts and snippets illustrating the history of the fight in England for social reform pertaining to the prostitution and forced enslavement of young girls in the brothels that catered to the upper class. The book is quite enlightening and educational, while at the same time, entertaining. It moves at a fast pace and is never boring. I've read a few of this author's books now, and this is a distinct departure from his normal fair of historical erotica, it seems Charlie B. is very capable of writing other genres successfully. This Victorian melodrama concerns a poor East End girl whose mother is manipulated into selling her to a brothel to keep a roof over the head of her other children. There are themes similar to Oliver Twist, with a rich benefactor and evil exploitative 'baddies' but despite much of the story taking place in a brothel, the content is not in the least salacious. As a Londoner myself, the accents were overwhelmingly well done, except for the characters pronouncing 'my' instead of 'me'. I found the history tidbits about the political climate at the beginning of each chapter fascinating, it brought the story a distinct air of realism. East End Alice is about a 12 year old girl living with her mother in East End, London. A nasty character comes into her life, and gets her sold into slavery, working as a maid in a high end brothel in London. The rather evil owners of the brothel sees poor Alicia as a future prospect for a new prostitute. Without revealing any more of the plot, I will only note that this to me is a 'feel-good' story, it's not a tragedy, and that in itself is an important point. It's not nice to read tragedies involving a child and prostitution. The story is paralleled by the real development of legislation against child prostitution in England in the late 19th century. Reading the novel made me think a lot about the fates of children traficked into prostitution today. It's a really horrible situation. I really enjoyed reading East End Alice. The dialogue took getting used to, as much of it is written in Cockney English, but that really adds to the authenticity of the novel. I highly recommend this novel! The TOC may not be perfect after conversion, but the chapters are all there.
‘Josephine Butler was the leading figure in the ‘Social Purity movement’ that she herself founded. She campaigned to end child sex slavery in the 1880’s and also devoted much of her life to bringing about legislative change to protect young girls from sexual exploitation.’ “Oi! Get yer bloody arse orf my street!” Alice brandishes her broom like a wild Dervish as she races across the street, in and out of the passing traffic; always a perilous undertaking in Victorian London. She swats it at the young lad she was addressing, who immediately squeals and then turns and flees as fast as his short legs can manage. He still feels the tip of the broom as it swipes across the back of his head and subsequently, yelps out aloud as he stumbles for an instant before regaining his feet and then disappearing around the corner. “Cheeky little sod. Don’tcher come back,” she sends after him in her caustic, East London accent. Alice stands with her hands on her hips glaring around about her for any other incursions onto her patch, then sighs as another passing horse drops its load. “Bloody ‘orses! Oi mister; can’t yer keep yer bloody ‘orse from droppin’ on me street?” she cries out; hands resting on slim hips as she glares after the miscreant creature’s driver then hurriedly sweeps the muck away so as to keep her road crossing clear. Not many Gardens around this part of London that would want manure. 12-year-old Alice, not that she knows her real age for sure, since she has never bothered to work it out; earns her pennies as a street sweeper. Pennies that help her Ma keep the family going in the current hard times that all East Enders suffer. She rises at sunrise every morn, for there is no clock to tell the time in her house, and then after dousing her head under the local pump, races to claim her crossing spot on New Road. The competition for the best ones is always fierce but there’s few dare cross her path anyway. New Road runs between Whitechapel High Street and Commercial Road and is a busy cut through for horse drawn and pedestrian traffic alike. She has no idea why it is called New Road. To her it looks no newer than the rest of the dingy, dark, soot coated area that houses the poor of East London. New Road is a stupid name, but it is a source of income for Alice and that’s what matters to her. The year? 1885. The Ripper will not scourge these streets for another 12 years, the legal age of consent is set at 13 years old, not that the poor of the area take much notice, and the district is a hotbed of petty crime and prostitution. The knowledgeable Alice knows all of this and knows that the coarser women dressed in brighter clothing than the others who pass her by are certainly not engaged in such proper occupations as other respectable persons might be. She smiles as she gains another tip. Alice has manned her sweep for some two years now; she’d fought off those who had claimed it before her and established it as her own and the local people all know her and most appreciate her cheeky ways. “Thank e kindly ma’am,” she calls after her generous remunerator. “Off to see a toff are you then?”
File Size: 386.48 KB (.epub), 413.96 KB (.mobi), 3.18 MB (.pdf)
Publisher: Dollhouse Books
Keywords: victorian fiction, historical
Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #victorianfiction #historical
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