The Crimson Petal and the White Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Crimson Petal and the White

Meet Sugar, a nineteen-year-old prostitute in nineteenth-century London who yearns for escape to a better life. From the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, she begins her ascent through society, meeting a host of lovable, maddening, unforgettable characters on the way. They begin with William Rackham, an egotistical perfume magnate whose empire is fueled by his lust for Sugar; his unhinged, child-like wife Agnes; his mysteriously hidden-away daughter, Sophie; and his pious brother Henry, foiled in his devotional calling by a persistently less-than-chaste love for the Widow Fox. There are also preening socialites, drunken journalists, untrustworthy servants, vile guttersnipes, and whores of all stripes and persuasions.
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The review of this Book prepared by Bill Car

The story centers on Sugar, a 19-year-old girl bred for prostitution in 1875 London. Intrigued by her description in a directory of city brothels, William Rackham the heir to a perfume fortune is drawn to, and quickly becomes obsessed with, Sugar. He purchases her from the brothel's madam, first ensconcing her in a London flat and later bringing her into his home under the guise of a governess for his 6-year-old child. Within the Rackham household, Sugar becomes entangled with William's child-like, mentally unstable wife; his pious, insecure brother; and his needy, sorely-neglected daughter.
The review of this Book prepared by Jennifer Martin-Romme

A prostitute in Victorian London is caught up in a relationship with a man who makes her his mistress. Eventually he brings her to live in his house to take care of his daughter and to help him cope with his crazy wife.

She ends up helping his wife escape to a convent in the country and then runs away with his daughter who she feels that she loves as he is not truly capable of doing.
The review of this Book prepared by Kim Gradel

Chapter Analysis of The Crimson Petal and the White

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1600-1899 Life of a profession:    -   prostitute/stripper/porn Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   prostitute Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   8 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK City?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy    -   impregnation/reproduction    -   actual description of hetero sex    -   Boob talk!    -   Vagia talk!    -   Weiner talk! Lot of foul language?    -   Yes

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Michel Faber Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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