Suzette Camille Rousseau grew up sheltered and naive in 19th century Paris, protected from the difficulties of life by her father. When her father unexpectedly die during the night from a heart attack, Suzette is shocked to learn of an outstanding loan her father owes that requires the selling of everything leaving Suzette homeless and on the street with only a few clothes and personal effects. After just a few weeks in a homeless shelter, Suzette takes a job as a laundress, washing and delivering sheets to Chabanais, one of Paris' most elite and posh brothels. Suzette is determined to make a life for herself that allows her to maintain her morals and dignity but conniving between the laundry owner and the brothel mistress soon ensure that she is left with no choice but to become a whore at Chabanais. Her virginity is sold to the English nobleman, Lord Robert Holland, who finds himself falling under Suzette's spell, attracted by her innocence. Will he be the one to rescue her from this life before Suzette becomes jaded or is Suzette bound to a life of degradation?
While the descriptions and the history were interesting, Suzette was too bland and weak to properly grab and hold the reader's attention. The characters came across a little trite and predictable, i.e. the mean-hearted laundry owner, the brothel owner concerned only with making money, the English lord who rescues Suzette, and such. The storyline seemed to come across as predictable and fell apart a little in the final chapter or two. It was an amusing, quick and easy read, a great book for this summer at the beach. I finished the book eager to learn more about the history of prostitution in Paris and the Chabanais. Vicki Hopkins chose an interesting time period and subject for her first novel.
The Price of Innocence is Vicki Hopkins' debut fiction novel, penned to tug at the hearts of many. Insightful, but delicately written, the author draws a picture of life, but allows the reader to paint the canvas of intimacies in their own imagination.
It is the tender story of Suzette Camille Rousseau, a young woman in late 19th century Paris, who makes a difficult journey from innocence to maturity. After losing a sheltered life with her father, Suzette is thrown into the harsh reality of poverty, struggling as a homeless woman on the streets of Paris. In order to survive, she faces difficult choices that offer little hope of redemption.
Her journey takes her from the charities of St. Vincent de Paul, to a local laundry house where she toils endlessly in filth and squalor. To her surprise, one of her customers is the Chabanais, the most famous brothel in France that only caters to aristocrats.
Like a fly drawn to a spider's web, the mistress of the brothel entices Suzette into a world of opulence, comfort, and beauty, but there is a price to payher innocence.
Succumbing to a life of prostitution, she meets a handsome English Lord who saves her from the unthinkable. When he spirits her off to another country, her past follows. A man, who refuses to forget his promise, relentlessly pursues Suzette intent on regaining her heart. He only wishes for one thingto give her love and a life of respectability.