My Notorious Life by Madame X | Kate Manning

My Notorious Life by Madame X by Kate Manning is the fictionalised account of the story of a midwife and abortionist in the Victorian era.

Notorious Life Manning‘In the end, they celebrated. They bragged.
They got me finally, was their feeling.
They said I would take my secrets to the grave.

They should be so lucky.’

Axie Muldoon, the headstrong daughter of Irish immigrants, forced to beg for pennies as a child on the brutal streets on New York City, grows up to become the most successful – and controversial – midwife of her time.

‘Saved’ from poverty by a well-meaning philanthropist, Axie is sent West with her brother Joe and her sister Dutch. But the kindness of strangers is short-lived and soon Axie returns to the city of her birth, separated from those she loves but determined to one day reunite her family.

When she is taken in by a Manhattan doctor Axie learns the craft that she will live by – and later fight for. As a purveyor of ‘lunar tonic for the relief of female complaints’ she rises from the gutter to the glitter of 5th Avenue high society, and discovers that the right way is not always the way of the church or the law, and that you should never trust a man who says ‘trust me.’ But what if that man is an irresistible risk-taker with a poetical Irish soul?

As Axie’s reputation grows she finds herself on a collision course with the crusading official who would be the righteous instrument of her downfall. It will take all of her power to outwit him and save both herself and those she loves from ruin.

This is a very powerful and often disturbing book.

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Ettiquette for the End of The World | Jeanne Martinet

Ettiquette for The End of The World by Jeanne Martinet doesn’t know what it is and I can’t categorise it either.

A delightful comedy of post-millennial manners, apocalyptic career moves, and a woman’s last chance to get life right…

 

RULE #1: DON’T PANIC-IT ONLY ATTRACTS SHARKS It’s not the end of the world. That’s what 39-year-old Tess Eliot has to remind herself after losing her job writing a newspaper column (“Tess Knows Best”) and being dumped by her boyfriend for a younger woman (a feng shui expert? Really?) Then Tess is hired to write an etiquette guide preparing readers for the Ancient Mayan doomsday of December 21, 2012, and she has to ask herself: Could the world really be coming to an end?

 

RULE # 12: LIVE EACH DAY AS A JOYOUS ADVENTURE At first, Tess fakes her way through chapters like “Boundaries in the Bunker” and “Cannibalism: Yes or No?” But after uncovering a secret plot for world destruction, she is forced to embark on a life-changing odyssey of her own-involving all-too-close encounters with touchy-feely survivalists, conspiracy theorists and one handsome guy who seems way too perfect.

 

Filled with wit and insight (including Tess Eliot’s “Twelve Rules to Live and Die By”), Etiquette for the End of the World is a deeply funny novel of romance and self-discovery.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, um. It could have been better. By a significant amount.

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