Book Blogger Appreciation Week has been a grand ole time so far, and today promises to be just as delightful! You know I love tossing out recommendations, and this one jumped and surprised me! I went all the way back to my review archives for today's goody, and I can't wait to share!
I read The Journal of Dora Damage, by Belinda Starling, in October of 2007, and I have rarely ever seen it reviewed elsewhere. It was a really wonderful historical fiction novel. From my 2007 review:
London in the 1860s is a dangerous, scandalous place to exist, especially if you're Dora Damage, the matriarch of the ailing Damage Bookbinders. When her husband, Peter, begins to fall into rheumatic disability, Dora surpasses her station as a submissive wife and mother and takes over the family business.This is one of those books that's done better with the passage of time than I might've originally anticipated. When I saw it staring back at me from my archives, I immediately though, "Ooh! I remember that book!" And I do! Which is saying a lot since I can barely remember my own name. This reading experience comes back to me in vivid detail, and that's a sure sign of a fantastic find.
Dora shows an exceptional talent for binding books, from her creative embroidery and color choices, to her quick mind and willingness to work her hands to cracked, aching stubs. However, no matter how hard she tries in the beginning, the money just doesn't come. Finally, based on her covert work, she lands a job binding ladies' journals and other miscellaneous books. This first innocent employment leads to greater, more dangerous things--namely the task of binding pornography for a treacherous group of London's powerful and ruthless upper crust.
I remember specific events from the book, the characters' dispositions, and the overall impression I got from the reading. I even recall that I thought the conclusion was a little sensational, but I didn't care. I was charmed by this bookish book. I was fascinated by the binding process and Dora's daring choices. I was swept away.
Read my full review here.