Have just finished reading the latest book THE JOURNAL OF DORA DAMAGE - what a fabulous tale, with Victorian London as a backdrop. The author Belinda Starling set her debut novel against a book-binding business in a poverty-stricken part of London, circa 1860. With the family almost ready for the workhouse due to Dora's husband's terrible illness, she illicitly takes over his business, only to find herself lured into binding expensive volumes of pornography for the upper classes. Dora's indefatigable spirit carries her through this rude awakening as she contends with horrible debt collectors, an epileptic daughter, ghastly doctors and a constant stream of wealthy dilettantes. When poor Dora is forced to offer a job to a mysterious, fugitive American slave, Dora realises she has entered an illegal trade of money, sex and deceit.
Huge success followed Belinda's debut novel in 2006 but tragically this lovely girl from Wivenhoe, Essex, died in August 2006. Published by Bloomsbury ISBN 978 0 7475 8522 0. £12.99