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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Belle (Lesley Pearse)

Fifteen-year-old Belle, although raised in a London brothel, is an innocent. But when she witnesses one of the girls being brutally strangled by a client, she is cast into a cruel, heartless world.
Snatched from the streets and sold into prostitution, she is made a courtesan in New Orleans. At the mercy of desperate men who crave her beauty and will do anything to keep her, Belle's dream of home, family, and freedom appear futile.
Are Belle's courage and spirit strong enough to help her escape?
What will await her at the end of the long, dangerous journey home?

Quote: "Sometimes she felt so alone that she cried herself to sleep. The silence pressed in on her and made her feel threatened. There had been a couple of thunderstorms at night too, such heavy rain that it drummed on the tin roof, and such loud thunderclaps that she shook with fear. She got into the habit of going out for long walks, each time going further and further to delay going home, and making herself really tired so she could sleep when she got back."

My thoughts on this book: 'Belle' has the potential to be much more. The subject matter is interesting and uncommon, but Belle as the main character ruins it for me. Belle's mother, Annie, mentioned that young girls forced into prostitution rarely, if ever, get over the mental and emotional trauma. However, Belle does not seem to have changed one bit.
In terms of Lesley Pearse's writing - although I have not read any of her other novels -, it lacks spice and subtlety. It seems rather bland for such an exciting subject matter. To be honest, I think that the setting of New Orleans was the best among all the places in the novel.
The ending was a huge disappointment as, like I said in the beginning, Belle quickly forgot about her past and led a normal 'happy ever after' life.

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