21 September 2017

Review #640: An Almond for a Parrot by Wray Delaney

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The gods made our bodies as well as our souls, is it not so? They give us voices, so we might worship them with song. They give us hands, so we might build them temples. And they give us desire, so we might mate and worship them in that way.”

----George R.R. Martin

Wray Delaney, pen name for Sally Gardner, an award-winning British children's author, has penned an intriguing and a very sizzling historical fiction called, An Almond for a Parrot that revolves around a young woman in London locked up in a prison as she is accused of killing her husband, whom she got married to at the age of 12 by her father to pay off his neck-deep debts, and from the prison cell, the woman narrates the story of her life, of how she discovered her sexuality at a tender age, of how she became a prostitute, of her godly gifts of seeing dead people's ghosts from parrots in a cage, of falling in love, of her other talents of pleasing men, and mostly of her erotic exploration through ages.


London, 1756: In Newgate prison, Tully Truegood awaits trial. Her fate hanging in the balance, she tells her life-story. It's a tale that takes her from skivvy in the back streets of London, to conjuror's assistant, to celebrated courtesan at her stepmother's Fairy House, the notorious house of ill-repute where decadent excess is a must...Tully was once the talk of the town. Now, with the best seats at Newgate already sold in anticipation of her execution, her only chance of survival is to get her story to the one person who can help her avoid the gallows. She is Tully Truegood. Orphan, whore, magician's apprentice. Murderer?

In the year of 1756, Tully Truegood, a popular courtesan with magical powers, pens her memoir from the Newgate prison in London, as she awaits the trial of the murder that she claims that she did not commit. Tully's mother died during childbirth leaving Tully motherless and with an alcoholic, temperamental and gambling addict father. By the age of 12, Tully finds herself surrounded with a new step mom whom her father remarries and two step sisters, also, to pay off his debts, her father randomly marries her off to a random men through an agreement. Gradually, through one of the step sisters, Tully discovers her sexuality and the pleasures she can attain by her body. And finally, one day, Tully breaks free from the cages of her wretched life, and lands upon Queenie's Fairy House, where she earns a name because of her talents to please a man in an unique way and mostly because of her magical talent to speak up to ghosts of dead people, especially, she can make the people like Queenie talk to their lost ones like a dead daughter. In the meantime of pleasing men and giving solace to broken souls, Tully falls in love with a man, and with their love story, Tully explores a journey of erotic pleasure. But then the husband from the past shows up, and a tragedy occurs, grab the book to explore this delicious and extremely engrossing journey of Tully Truegood.

This book is a true gem, that can invoke real passion and desires, as well as can also give a hell lot of sexual tension, if read carefully. No this is not a Fifty Shadesstyled mommy porn, instead it is something intensely sensual, evocative and visually imaginative. The author did a marvelous job in bringing alive the Georgian 18th century in London by depicting the then fashion statements to the lives of the people to the architecture of the buildings to the culture, hence it will feel like taking a walk down the memory lane. While reading I lost myself so much into this compelling and stirring story that when I looked up from the book, the reality felt so dull. This exquisite novel is a must read for all the historical fiction aficionados.

The author's writing style is extremely elegant, laced with deep heartfelt emotions and intensity, that will move the readers. Not only that, the prose is magical and articulate, subtly painted with a mysterious flair, that makes the tale even more enchanting. The dialogues and the narrative from this book are very thoughtfully and realistically penned by the author. And with a moderately swift pace, the book will turn out to be a complete page-turning read for readers.

The background of the novel is set in the 18th century London and also very apt with the proper flair of those times. The author has flawlessly captured the Georgian era with its fashion sense to the lifestyle of its people to the roads to every tiny details, that only made me felt like walking inside an 18th century-London. Not only that, the painting of the background is penned with utmost clarity and vividly, as a result, the readers can easily visually imagine the scenes from this book.

The characters from this book are very much well developed, especially the main character, Tully, who has multiple layers and the character will grow so much through out the story line. Tully's life journey from a very tender age is explored with lots of depth, hence the readers will be able to comprehend with her easily. Her strength, her vigor, her independence, her talents, both magical and desirable ones, her thoughtfulness, everything makes her stand out in the rest and will easily imprint into the hearts and minds of the readers. Even the supporting cast is portrayed in an interesting manner.

The best part of the book are those erotic love making scenes which are metaphorically referred to by whimsical grandiloquence with vegetables, flowers, gardens and mostly with mother nature. It is beautiful, intense, and also at times comical in a way. The story line is very tight and unforeseeable and the readers will be glued to the book till its very last page. In short, the book is highly captivating and as for me, I found it to be quite liberating.

Verdict: A vulgar, yet intense and erotic life story of a prostitute accused of murder.

Courtesy: Thanks to the publishers from Harper Collins India for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Sally Gardner is a British children's writer and illustrator. She won both the Costa Children's Book Award and the Carnegie Medal for Maggot Moon.
Visit her here

Book Purchase Links:

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the recommendation. Review penned! What a story and how evocative of locale!


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