Leeds, United Kingdom, February 26, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- A new book, A Few Gilt Birds, following the life of a courtesan’s daughter in 19th century Paris has been released as a Kindle e-book on Amazon today, written by author Anna Batho.
The book starts in 1849 and follows two characters; a courtesan called Minette who is working her way through the aristocracy for all the riches of the Second Empire; the crystal, champagne and caviar; and secondly, her daughter, Bébé, who is uncomfortable with the path of prostitution carved out for her. The story shows her battling against her mother’s choices, trying to find her own place in the city, her own independence or wealth and ultimately love. The novel takes the reader on a surprising journey however; Bébé is not on a search for the man of her dreams, and does not follow a typical historical novel heroine’s path. Her quest is to become a woman in her own right, away from her mother; the love she needs is more familiar, the love that friends or a father or a brother might provide.
Authors are often encouraged to write about what they know; but Batho laughingly asserts that the life as a prostitute in 19th century Paris doesn’t come from experience:
“I studied French and French literature at university, and I was crazy about a book called Nana by Emile Zola, which follows a courtesan’s rise in the 19th century. I loved it so much I wanted to write my own, but obviously in English this time, and so that’s where I started from; other fiction. I also have a healthy fascination in the life of call girls and courtesans; books like Breakfast at Tiffany’s fascinate me; the girl’s charmed life on the outside contrasted with the reality of what she’s doing. The constant power play between the girl who plays the man for all he’s worth versus the man who ultimately can withdraw patronage, and courtesy at any time is exciting to me.”
The book is a beautiful yet harrowing journey through the Parisian landscape at the time; from the privileged parts of society to the very poverty-stricken side of the city. Scenes are written with a film director’s eye and the reader is led through the huge historical moments of the time; the Prussian War and the Siege of Paris as well as the smaller moments of Bébé and Minette’s life, their rise and fall. The novel does not shy away from the intimacy of sex scenes; but it’s no Fifty Shades of Grey; the difficulties of a life of prostitution come to the fore in a sensitive and often emotional way.
A Few Gilt Birds is a mesmerising story of a young girl turning into a woman told in an intelligent and impartial way. The reader is drawn towards the wise, yet often cold heroine as she rips apart her conceited and pretentious Parisian world. Ebullient and manipulative characters abound, adding intrigue and excitement, yet A Few Gilt Birds remains an intelligent account of a young girl’s search for the truth in a turbulent city.
Anna’s book is available for download on Amazon.