Shelf Control #117: Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!


Title: Slammerkin
Author: Emma Donoghue
Published: 2000
Length: 410 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

Born to rough cloth in working-class London in 1748, Mary Saunders hungers for linen and lace. Her lust for a shiny red ribbon leads her to a life of prostitution at a young age, where she encounters a freedom unknown to virtuous young women. But a dangerous misstep sends her fleeing to Monmouth and the refuge of the middle-class household of Mrs. Jones, to become the seamstress her mother always expected her to be and to live the ordinary life of an ordinary girl. Although Mary becomes a close confidante of Mrs. Jones, her desire for a better life leads her back to prostitution. She remains true only to the three rules she learned on the streets of London: Never give up your liberty; Clothes make the woman; Clothes are the greatest lie ever told. In the end, it is clothes, their splendor and their deception, that lead Mary to disaster.
Emma Donoghue’s daring, sensually charged prose casts a new sheen on the squalor and glamour of eighteenth-century England. Accurate, masterfully written, and infused with themes that still bedevil us today, Slammerkin is historical fiction for all readers.

How and when I got it:

I bought this book several years ago, after first “meeting” this author through Room.

Why I want to read it:

I’m always up for some good historical fiction, especially when the central figure is a woman with a fascinating story. After reading Room, I was interested to see what other types of books this author had written. Slammerkin sounds completely different, but I’m intrigued enough by the synopsis to want to find out more about it!


Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • If you’d be so kind, I’d appreciate a link back from your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!














7 thoughts on “Shelf Control #117: Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue

  1. Emma Donoghue definitely doesn’t seem to be one of those authors with a stamp – you know the kind where you know what you’re getting when you pick up there books. That’s a good thing though! I haven’t read this title myself but have read Room & The Wonder.

    I hope you enjoy this title when you get round to it.

    • Thanks so much. I realize this is one of two books of hers on my shelf — I also have Frog Music. Did you enjoy The Wonder? I’ve read reviews on both sides of the fence.

          • A little of both, despite the murder early on, I just couldn’t get into it and wasn’t crazy about the narration. I figured I would try the first couple of chapters at some point, because I like the story idea, and if I had the same reaction as before would quit.

  2. Pingback: Shelf Control #11

  3. Pingback: Shelf Control #15

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