Book reviews, musings and waffle from a British lit addict

The Crimson Petal and the White Read-along: Week 6 – Chapter 30 to The End!

I’m actually not quite sure how to start this post.  It feels like I’ve been reading The Crimson Petal and the White for ages and I’m not really sure how to adjust to having different characters in my life!
Before I put up the last prompts, I want to say a big THANK YOU to my fellow read-alongers.  It’s been quite a ride of a book and getting to chat through the goings on each week has been a lot of fun!  It’s helped that it’s been a book that we’ve all seemed to love, whether it’s a first reading or not.  Obviously scheduling the read-along to finish on a weekend when I wasn’t actually in the country or able to find the time to write a post wasn’t the smartest move I’ve ever made but the read-along itself was great 🙂

So…there are some obvious points that I’ve been DYING to ramble about so the “prompts” are pretty broad this week.  For the last time (*sob*), I’ve put the linky at the bottom for your wrap-up posts.

The Prompts

1)  THE ENDING!  Discuss. 

2)  How do you feel about the book overall?  Score out of 5?  Is it something you’d recommend other readers pick up?

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My Responses

1)  THE ENDING!  Discuss.

I’m sorry – I’m not usually a particularly Caps-Lock-typer but WHAT WAS THAT ENDING?!  It felt like Faber had just got bored with writing the story and stopped.  Or that he’d run past a deadline and just decided to submit what he’d had time for.  I was really disappointed and felt pretty cheated.  
I didn’t mind not knowing Agnes’ fate for certain.  I felt as though that kind of fitted with how she’d drifted through the story and how flimsy her grasp on the world around her had become.  I do mind not knowing anybody’s fates.  Did William track down Sugar and Sophie?  Did Sugar realise that what she’d done was crazy and return Sophie or did she manage to make something of herself and did they live happily ever after?!  I don’t need everything spelling out for me but I do need to feel as though the author has put some effort into wrapping up the novel.  
What I think is odd is that nobody ever seems to mention that it just doesn’t seem finished!  I’ve read that even the companion release, The Apple: New Crimson Petal Stories, doesn’t really tackle the questions, although it narrows the possible range of endings slightly it seems and may answer the question of what happened to Sophie.  I feel that for a book that is so meticulously written, it just seems like a huge oversight not to give readers any closure.  I felt as though I’d missed something.  When Sugar absconded, I looked at the page count and just assumed that she’d get caught before she got too far.  Who knows?!
Not cool, Faber.  Not cool at all.
For what it’s worth, in my head, I like to think that it wasn’t Agnes at the bottom of the Thames and that she died peacefully of her brain tumour in a convent somewhere.  I’m also choosing to believe that the loss of his wife, mistress and daughter in quick succession unravelled William and his success waned.  While I’m wishing for stuff, in my head, Sugar managed to evade her pursuers and set up as a writer or as a teacher somewhere and raised Sophie as her own.  It’s more likely that she got caught and imprisoned if she was lucky.
2)  How do you feel about the book overall?  Score out of 5?  Is it something you’d recommend other readers pick up?

If there had been any kind of ending at all, I’d have given it a 5.  The writing was incredible and I really enjoyed reading it.  It would have been one of my favourite books of the year, almost certainly.  Without an ending, I’ve given it a 4 out of 5 on GoodReads.  It’ll continue to be a really unique book and one that I do think people should read but I’ve recently retracted one recommendation because I know that the huge remaining question marks would have driven that reader crazy and I’d never have heard the end of it. 
I hope you’ve had a fantastic time reading The Crimson Petal and the White too!  Maybe we should reconvene and read The Apple soon?!