Lambeth, London, 1859. By the time Dora Damage discovers that there is something wrong with her husband, Peter, it is too late. His arthritic hands are crippled, putting his book-binding business into huge debt and his family in danger of entering the poorhouse. Summoning her courage, Dora proves that she is more than just a housewife and mother. Taking to the streets, she resolves to rescue her family at any price-and finds herself lured into illegally binding expensive volumes of pornography commissioned by aristocrats. Then, when a mysterious fugitive slave arrives at her door, Dora realises she's entangled in a web of sex, money, deceit and the law. Now the very family she fought so hard for is under threat from a host of new, more dangerous foes.
Belinda Starling's debut novel is a startling vision of Victorian London, juxtaposing its filth and poverty with its affluence. In Dora Damage we meet a daring young heroine, struggling in a very modern way against the constraints of the day, and whose resourcefulness and bravery has us rooting for her all the way.