19 December, 2013

Women of Ill Fame by Erika Mailman Review!!

About Woman of Ill Fame
eBook Publication Date: November 11, 2013

Looking for a better life, Nora Simms sails from the East Coast to gold rush San Francisco with a plan for success: to strike it rich by trading on her good looks. But when a string of murders claims several of her fellow “women of ill fame,” Nora grows uneasy with how closely linked all of the victims are to her. Even her rise to the top of her profession and a move to the fashionable part of town don’t shelter her from the danger, and she must distinguish friend from foe in a race to discover the identity of the killer.

Praise for Woman of Ill Fame

“I LOVED Woman of Ill Fame! Nora Simms is hilarious, heartbreaking, tough, perceptive…and one of the most engaging characters I’ve ever met between the pages of a book. Wonderful story, great setting and really good writing made this one of the best books I’ve read in a long time!” -Diana Gabaldon, internationally-bestselling author of the Outlander series
“The whodunit aspect makes Woman of Ill Fame a page-turner, and Mailman manages to keep the reader guessing. Yet it’s the depiction of early San Francisco that propels this thriller above its genre, in the manner of historical fiction such as Caleb Carr’s The Alienist.” -Kemble Scott, San Francisco Bay Guardian
“Mailman serves up vivid description, sparkling prose and a Gold Rush prostitute as scrappy as Scarlett O’Hara.” -Kathleen Grant Gelb, Oakland Tribune

About the Author

Erika Mailman is the author of The Witch’s Trinity, a Bram Stoker finalist and a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book, and Woman of Ill Fame, a Pushcart Press Editor’s Book Award nominee. While writing The Witch’s Trinity, she learned she was the descendant of a woman accused twice of witchcraft in the decades predating Salem.
For more information please visit Erika Mailman’s website and blog.

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/womanofillfametour
Twitter Hashtag: #WomanofIllFameTour

My Thoughts
Women of Ill Fame is a term used to describe prostitutes in the late 1800's. Nora Simms is one of these women in San Francisco during the Gold Rush era. A women who accepts her lot in life as a 'loose woman' but does want to better herself. Instead of staying in the crib row houses where she plies her trade, she wants to work in a parlor house where the clientele is a little more refined, or so Nora thinks. 

When she leaves Boston and arrives in San Francisco, Nora's trunk is stolen. At first she is rather upset with the fact that she lost what was left of her money and her clothing. She resigns herself to the fact that the trunk is gone, but when murdered prostitutes are turning up and each of these women are wearing an item of hers from her trunk, she thinks she may know who is doing the killing. 

Nora is finally able to get a position in a parlor house and is able to wear nice clothing, but she is still worried about the fate of her fellow workers back in the cribs. She warns the women and does what she can to protect them from ending up like the murdered women. 

I usually do not read a lot about this time in American history, I would rather read about medieval history but as I read this book I realized that even though times were tough for women back then and it was a hard life for the lower class people, women like Nora were able to take what life threw at them and go on to the best of their abilities. It was a fight or die type of situation for some of these women of ill fame and I really enjoyed reading this tale. I loved the inner dialogue that Nora has and the descriptions of the men she encounters is hilarious at times.

I loved the character of Nora because she is a women who will tell it like it is but at the same time knows that she also, in order to get ahead, will do what the client wants and not be ashamed that she is a prostitute. She has a very matter of fact way of looking at her life and does make the most of it. The mystery of who the murderer is crucial to the story in the fact that the reader is pulled into the story of this type of life and can hope that the person is found and dealt with.

The historical aspects of the story seem to be accurate for the time period and the author knows of what she writes. The novel is written in such an easy manner that it can be read in a few sittings. If you love American Historical novels then you are sure to enjoy this one.

I received a copy of this book for review and was not monetarily compensated for my review.


  1. I haven't seen one bad review for this book.

    I am so looking forward to reading it.

    THANKS for your GREAT review.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

  2. Celtic Lady, I hope you also enjoyed Nora's Irishness! ;) Thanks for the lovely review, and for posting on Amazon too. Highly appreciative!



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