I apologize for my review on this book, as I have read a few books in the interim and therefore have already forgotten many details of this book. Which, alas, does say something about my feelings for this book. I wasn't terribly excited to review it. I felt very "comme ci comme ca" about it.
I normally love historical fiction, and this book has SO many great, high reviews. So I thought, wonderful! Of course I'll love it. But I didn't love it. I understand that the central fact of the story (i.e. Sadie's birthmark on her face made her and her sister unable to disappear into London, thereby adding suspense since the law could continue to search for them) was necessary to give movement to the book, it did rather make the character of Sadie rather pitiful (not her birthmark, but the fact that she had to hide all of the time, and therefore had no real growth to her character). I found Ella quite simply... mean, lacking compassion for others and a narcissist. And Ella's employer, Jay Whitgift, a central player throughout most of the book, is disgusting with no redeeming qualities. There are a couple of "nice" characters (a couple of friends of Sadie), but they play relatively small roles, and they don't balance out all of the negative qualities of the rest of the characters in the book.
I didn't really enjoy the overall story of the book, and didn't find a lot of historical, period information (i.e. politics of the time, health of the time). I know there was general background information (i.e. clothing, housing, economics of the classes, cosmetics, employment), and I DID appreciate this aspect of the book... I like to have all of this as well as historical context (i.e. historical political players, events, etc.). So, I thought the book was okay. But I've read other historical fiction that I really loved. The quality of the writing was good, but I would have liked to have at least like either 1) the story 2) the main characters or 3) more historical facts.