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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

Prostitute Turned Housemaid In Nineteenth Century Scotland

The Observations - Jane  Harris

Funny, moving and utterly compelling, this account of the experiences of a former prostitute turned house maid in the middle of the nineteenth century is written with tremendous verve. Fleeing her old life in Glasgow, Daisy (or Bessy as she becomes now that she has abandoned her former identity) wanders the Scottish countryside and by chance lands herself a situation in a ramshackle house called Castle Havers. However, her mistress' behaviour is distinctly eccentric and the orders she receives become increasingly bizarre.


Bessy soon suspects that something very strange is going on. And she is quite right. But to reveal exactly what, would be to give away too much of the plot. I have not been so entertained by a book for a very long time. It is hard to believe that this is a debut novel. Jane Harris is a prodigious talent.