Book reviews, musings and waffle from a British lit addict

The Crimson Petal and the White Read-Along: Week 4 – Chapters 19 to 24

It turns out that the weekend of your sister’s hen party is not the time for writing questions about reading prompts for read-along discussion!  I naively thought that I’d be fine on Sunday afternoon to get home and get some questions written.  Cocktail making and shots, late night dancing (if you can really call it ‘dancing’) and a great deal of food did not make for an active Sunday afternoon!  
I’m on track with the reading and I’m still really enjoying it so that’s something, right?
As always, if you haven’t read the book, look away now!

The Prompts

1)  Out of all of the people that I thought would be written out of the story, I didn’t have Henry down as the first to go.  Most underwhelming death scene ever?

2)  Sugar’s visit to Caroline showed how far away from her old life she’s moved.  How did you feel about their awkward exchange?


3)  The prostitute-turned-governess twist is a bit of an odd one!  How are you finding Sugar’s efforts as Sophie’s new governess?

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My Responses

1)  Out of all of the people that I thought would be written out of the story, I didn’t have Henry down as the first to go.  Most underwhelming death scene ever?

I actually had to go back and read that section twice just to make sure that I’d read it right!  One minute Henry’s sat thinking his ‘impure’ thoughts about Mrs Fox and imagining her propositioning him and the next he’s gone.  Given that I’d been expecting a great eked out death scene from Mrs Fox, it was a real curve ball.  Actually, now that I’ve written that, it seems to me that maybe that was the point.  That the whole consumption build up was meant to distract readers and make sure they really were wrong-footed by Henry’s demise.  Still, I feel a little cheated.  Since his death, there hasn’t really been much made of it (or at least, there hasn’t been yet) and it all feels a bit as though he didn’t really serve much of a purpose other than as a contrast to William.

2)  Sugar’s visit to Caroline showed how far away from her old life she’s moved.  How did you feel about their awkward exchange?

I’ve always been a fan of Sugar as a character.  I feel as though I shouldn’t really like her but I found this scene and her disorientation quite moving.  I think perhaps because Caroline is such a likeable character so she highlights that not everything that Sugar has left behind is terrible.  The life is terrible but not all parts of it.  I felt sad for Sugar for not knowing how to fit into her old world and I felt sad for Caroline who reveres Sugar and can see how far apart they’ve grown.  I know that this isn’t much of a question but I find Sugar’s increasing disassociation from everyone fascinating to read about and wonder whether her pride is building up to the mother of all falls.   


3)  The prostitute-turned-governess twist is a bit of an odd one!  How are you finding Sugar’s efforts as Sophie’s new governess?


Bizarre.  I’m actually finding the whole section a little underwhelming.  The writing is still as charming but I feel as though there’s something a little staid about having Sugar prancing about the Rackham residence, ordering books and teaching a child history.  And now that I’ve written that I feel as though this might be the point.  To wrap us up in the minutiae of Sugar’s role as governor before slamming us with the next drama.  There’s clearly something coming up with Agnes and her increasingly erratic behaviour.
See you on Sunday!  Actually this time…