SLEEP, PALE SISTER by JOANNE HARRIS.
Henry Chester, a domineering and puritanical Victorian artist, is in search of the perfect model. In nine-year-old Effie he finds her.
Ten years later, childlike and sedated, Effie seems the ideal wife. But something inside her is about to awaken.
Drawn by her lover, Mose, into a dangerous underworld of intrigue and blackmail, she meets Fanny Miller, the brothel-keeper, and her shadowy daughter, Marta - murdered ten years ago on the day of Henry's weekly visit .....
And as friendship becomes possession and Henry's secret past is revealed, Effie and Marta plan their revenge together.
....... Inner front cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): Don't look at me that way - I can't bear it!
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 76): Let a single woman, just one, into the Kingdom of Heaven itself, and I swear she will throw down the blessed one by one - angels, archangels and all.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: Not.
Hmm, still deciding exactly what I made of this.
A reproduced edition, this was actually first written before the author achieved any real recognition, and you can tell this as the whole novel reads as if it's some sort of practise run, almost as if Harris is dipping her toes in the water to see what sort of response she'll get.
Dark, very dark, Sleep, Pale Sister is set in Victorian London, the story being told by 4 different narrators - Henry, Effie, Mose and, Fanny, all of them weak and not one of them particularly likable characters, I especially disliked Henry who, perhaps a result of his overly religious background, had a pretty distorted view of women that bordered on his being a paedophile.
A bit rambling at times, to be honest I didn't always find it an easy story to follow, and quite soon became tired of all the drug induced dreams that quickly became both repetitive and pretty predictable. Normally a hue fan of Joanne Harris, though all of her books have a dark edge that she doesn't shy away from, in future I think I'll stick to reading her better known novels such as Chocolat and, Five Quarters Of The Orange which I personally found much more readable.