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“Finely crafted and remarkably researched.... While set in the past, the book informs the modern dialogue on feminism, the sex trade, and choice.”
—Stacey May Fowles, The Walrus
“A worthy follow up to...The Birth House.... Character, setting, mood and plot are melded naturally to create a Dickensian world of deprivation and determination.”
—Winnipeg Free Press
“A powerful novel, rooted in the same elements that made The Birth House both critically lauded and a bestseller.... One of McKay’s gifts and skills as a writer is her ability to utterly immerse the reader in her fictional world.... A powerful, affecting novel.”
—Robert J. Wiersema, National Post
“Fans of McKay’s bestselling novel The Birth House are going to love The Virgin Cure.... McKay’s vivid prose can trigger in readers the taste of a hot bowl of oyster stew, the reek of Chrystie Street tenement houses and the sound of a taffeta skirt’s hem brushing the floor of a concert saloon.... It’s difficult not to swiftly turn the pages of The Virgin Cure.”
“A lovely novel, written in a style that is both clean and subtle. McKay’s voices are true; her characters sympathetic.... I’m certain readers will take to The Virgin Cure just as they did The Birth House.”
—The Vancouver Sun
“A powerful new voice in Canadian writing.”
“McKay is clearly a talented writer with a subtle sense of story, one that readers will look forward to hearing from, again and again.”
“McKay is such a wonderful storyteller with a strong sense of place and time.”
From the author of the number one Canadian bestseller The Birth House comes the story of a young girl abandoned to the streets of post-Civil War New York City.
"I am Moth, a girl from the lowest part of Chrystie Street, born to a slum-house mystic and the man who broke her heart."
Set on the streets of Lower Manhattan in 1871, The Virgin Cure is the story of Moth, a girl abandoned by her father and raised by a mother telling fortunes to the city's desperate women. One summer night, twelve-year-old Moth is pulled from her bed and sold as a servant to a finely dressed woman. It is this betrayal suffered at the hands of her own mother that changes her life forever.
Knowing that her mother is so close while she is locked away in servitude, Moth bides her time until she can escape, only to find her old home deserted and her mother gone without a trace. Moth must struggle to survive alone in the murky world of the Bowery, a wild and lawless enclave filled with thieves, beggars, sideshow freaks, and prostitutes. She eventually meets Miss Everett, the proprietress of an "Infant School," a brothel that caters to gentlemen who pay dearly for "willing and clean" companions—desirable young virgins like Moth.
Moth also finds friendship with Dr. Sadie, a female physician struggling against the powerful forces of injustice, who teaches Moth to question and observe the world around her. The doctor hopes to protect Moth from falling prey to a terrible myth known as the "virgin cure"—the tragic belief that deflowering a "fresh maid" can cleanse the blood and heal men afflicted with syphilis—that has destroyed the lives of other Bowery girls.
Ignored by society, unprotected by the law, Moth dreams of independence. But there's a high price to pay for freedom, and no one knows that better than a girl from Chrystie Street.--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition. See all Product Description
Excellent read! The author has great empathy for the young heroine, and we are transported to the perilous streets of New York in 1871. Highly recommended.Published 5 months ago by Esme McMonagle
I had this book sitting on my shelf for almost a full year before picking it up. To be honest I bought a bunch of books in one day and just kind of overlooked this one. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Vamplover
Enjoyed the story and historical facts. Amazing stories of struggles and why people did what they did. The book was a
It was a book club choice so I finished it. If it hadn't been - I would not have bothered past the first 100 pages. Read morePublished on Oct. 18 2013 by Catherine Sutherland
I loved this book - felt different from The Birth House which I also liked. But this was excellent. Looking forward to Ami's next book!Published on Aug. 16 2013 by N. Rea
I love The Birth House. Though this book was not as good, I was not disappointed!
I enjoy her style of writing!
This book was great because it had historical facts about London in the Victorian era, the characters were believable, the plot was good and it was written beautifully. Read morePublished on April 9 2013 by Laura
You already know the plot from the synopsis. And you probably think that a book set in 1872 New York will be hopelessly boring historical fiction. Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2013 by J.R.