A depressing and disturbing account of a young girl's life in the Victorian era as a victim of abuse in all its horror.
There is no let up in the suffering. First she is orphaned, abused by relatives and passed around in 'gentlemen's clubs' and then forced into prostitution. There are hardly any friendly faces - including the women - and no one is on her side. It is as if everyone is on the side of cruelty and evil.
There are only two ways out for our heroine: the workhouse or death, and she prefers the latter. Even there she experiences more pain without the end result she desires. Like a lot of children and victims of abuse, she believes that she has brought it on herself.
The writing style matches perfectly the Victorian tone. It is as if Dolman is a Victorian gentleman himself. He avoids the modern language terms and details of the appalling acts even though we are in no doubt about what is happening. If he had used such a vocabulary this book would have become very unsavoury. As it stands, the story tells us what it was like to be an unfortunate child in a perceived noble society and a study in hypocrisy.
The Eighth Circle of Hell is listed as a crime novel as it begins with a murder, but there are no great detective skills required to find the murderer. Solving crime is not what this book is about. It is here to remind us what a vile species the human is.
Published by Reynards Press 16 October 2015.
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