The Dress Lodger, a cunning historical thriller charged with a distinctly modern voice, is the book that launched Sheri Holman into bestsellerdom. With over 300,000 copies sold and a consistent top Reader’s Circle” performer for Ballantine, it was superbly reviewed, chosen as a New York Times Notable Book, and nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
In Sunderland, England, a city quarantined by the cholera epidemic of 1831, Gustine, a defiant fifteen-year-old beauty in an elegant blue dress rented from her pimp-landlord, sells her body to feed her only love: a fragile baby boy. When she meets surgeon Henry Chiver, who has recently been implicated in the Burke and Hare killings, in which beggars were murdered so the corpses could be sold for medical research, Gustine begins working for him by securing cadavers for his ill-equipped anatomy school. It is a gruesome job that will soon threaten the very things she’s working so hard to protect.
Compulsively fascinating, the novel draws the reader through the alleys and quays of Sunderland with all the practiced charm of its title character.