Read The Pleasures of Men by Kate Williams Online


July 1840, London. The young Queen Victoria has just entered her third year on the throne when a major recession brings London's desperate and destitute into its sweltering streets. While the city crackles with tension, orphaned Catherine Sorgeiul stays locked away in her uncle's home, a peculiar place where death masks adorn the walls and certain rooms are strictly forbidJuly 1840, London. The young Queen Victoria has just entered her third year on the throne when a major recession brings London's desperate and destitute into its sweltering streets. While the city crackles with tension, orphaned Catherine Sorgeiul stays locked away in her uncle's home, a peculiar place where death masks adorn the walls and certain rooms are strictly forbidden. Nineteen years old and haunted by a dark past, Catherine becomes obsessed with a series of terrible murders of young girls sweeping the city. Details of the crimes are especially gruesome - the victims' hair has been newly plaited and thrust into their mouths, and their limbs are grotesquely folded behind them, like wounded birds - and the serial killer is soon nicknamed the Man of Crows. Catherine begins writing stories about the victims - women on their own and vulnerable in the big city - and gradually the story of the murderer as well. But she soon realizes that she has involved herself in a web of betrayal, deceit, and terror that threatens her and all those around her. A remarkable fiction debut, The Pleasures of Men is a gripping and spine-tingling thriller....

Title : The Pleasures of Men
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781401324230
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 348 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Pleasures of Men Reviews

  • samantha(books-are-my-life20)
    2019-06-18 21:34

    I love historical fiction and this was a fantastic read. A nail biter the who done it that kept me guessing until the end.

  • Lou Robinson
    2019-05-30 22:42

    Absolutely dreadful, I gave up after 50 pages. I did actually read the historical notes at the back, and strangely (or maybe not), they made for much better reading. Unfortunately, I think this is a case of an author with a background in historical research and factual writing, who is obviously passionate about Victoriana, turning her hand to novel writing, and overcooking it. Sorry Kate, didn't do it for me.

  • Blair
    2019-06-07 02:33

    In 19th-century London, Catherine Sorgeiul is living an isolated life in Spitalfields, where she is confined to her uncle's home. An insular and slightly disturbed young woman, she has a troubled history which always seems to be threatening to rise to the surface. When a serial killer, nicknamed 'the Man of Crows' by the press, starts to strike around Catherine's home, she becomes convinced she can get inside the heads of both murderer and victims, and that she is the only person who can solve the riddle of who the killer really is. The narrative progresses through Catherine's attempts to identify the Man of Crows, and as it does, the secrets of her own past are uncovered. This book was an odd one. It's hugely derivative, for a start: it's been compared to Sarah Waters by a lot of reviewers and critics, but then how could it not be when it features: lots of dank, dreary settings in Victorian London; a young woman with a troubled past being confined to her home by a cold, sinister uncle; lesbian liaisons between mistresses and servants; potential implications of supernatural goings-on which may actually be in the protagonist's head; a disturbing murder mystery, etc etc. I was quite surprised by how blatantly the story seemed to be inviting comparisons to Waters' work, and when I began reading, I didn't think there could possibly be anything truly original about it. Indeed, I found the first few chapters somewhat dull. Then, slowly but surely, I found myself being reeled in. Although some elements (including the ending) were rather pedestrian, the book had some sort of mysterious allure which kept me hooked. The narrative voice is fragmented and sometimes disjointed but somehow it works, perhaps because it's so effective in communicating the disturbed state of mind experienced by Catherine. If you're willing to stick with it, this is a delightfully dark piece of historical fiction filled with complex characters and an unsettling, twisted plot which slowly reveals a number of dreadful secrets. Weird, but unexpectedly good.

  • Sarah Mac
    2019-06-04 23:38

    Original review:Better review tomorrow -- too brain-dead tonight -- but overall this was very good. (Bonus: I see from the Reading Group thingee that the author is currently working on a second Victorian novel about a governess & the mysterious family she works for. SQUEE.) Update:Days after finishing this, I'm still somewhat stumped in the review department. The advance praise page has a blurb comparing this to Sarah Waters & Michael Faber, which isn't a bad analogy; certainly the sexual identity issues & unreliable narration are very Waters-esque, while the gritty London atmosphere & quirky characters are similar to Faber. But for my part, I'd describe it this way: Sarah Waters + Poe + From Hell + a dash of Alfred Hitchcock. I'm a huge fan of Victorian macabre, so most anything involving corsets & serial killers & 'female hysteria' is welcome on my TBR. But this is also Literary Fiction, which means there's more going on than murders & corseted thrills. One thing that stands out is the collected feel of the narration. At times it's highly surreal & tricky to follow, what with mundane activities triggering Catherine's flashes of instability (example: when distressed, she imagines flowers & vines sprouting from inanimate objects). Her persepective is further warped when other narrators take the reins for a chapter or two...or do they? The reader fights to remember that each voice is Catherine's fictional interpretation of their background & motivations. Is Miss Edwarda really a predatory lesbian? Does Grace have a nobler streak buried somewhere inside? Catherine is undoubtedly an unreliable narrator, but the Man of Crows claims her imagining of his early criminal career is eerily accurate -- so maybe these other women really are as Catherine portrays them....Then again, maybe they're not. ;)Catherine's growing obsession with the Man of Crows has a definite creep factor, but the surreal edginess was what really kept each chapter wavering on the brink of chaos. I have to give credit where it's due; at two separate points in the story, I was sure I'd figured out the twist...but neither was correct. (If the author owes a debt to Sarah Waters for her heroine, she owes an equal debt to Norman Bates for the villain.) I quite enjoyed this book. It's not perfect -- some metaphors were a bit overwritten, & there were a few times when Catherine's bridges between past & present were muddled. But the whole was satisfying to my taste & I would definitely read more by this author. (Special props to the art department for the US edition cover. While the UK edition has a surreal technicolor look, this one fits the story better. I love the focus on that fringe of hair on the nape -- it's an important motif in the novel. :))

  • Melissa
    2019-05-31 03:56

    I'm actually a bit mad at myself for sticking with this book which turned out to be a huge let down and a waste of my time. I kept thinking it would get better or the storyline would make sense but it never happened. Word of advice to those thinking about reading this: if you get about 50 pages in and you don't like it - don't keep reading. It doesn't get better.

  • Jane
    2019-06-06 00:55

    Goodness!This is wonderful, and not at all what I was expecting from a historian turned novelist.This is deliciously dark Victoriana.I was pulled straight away into 1840, into the dark, crowded, dirty streets of East London.The Man of Crows, a serial killer who has done terrible, terrible things to earn that soubriquet walks the streets and the city lives in fear.Catherine Sougeil lives with her uncle in Spitalfields and she is troubled. She remembers a happier time when she lived with her parents in the country and she fears that she attracted the evil that brought that time to an end. She wonderful why Grace, her maid, has left her and why the Belle-Smiths were so willing to part with her. And she broods on The Man of Crows, sure that she understands what drives him to kill. Sure that she could, should do something …Catherine is such a complex, intriguing character.The narrative twists together her present her past, and the world around her. A complex puzzle becomes not clear, but maybe a little less opaque.This is not a straightforward narrative. It move through time. Perspectives shift. Threads appear and disappear. Reflecting maybe the confusion in Catherine’s head.The atmosphere is wonderful: unsettling, dreamlike, sinister …The prose is rich with period detail, with vivid descriptions.I walked the streets of Victorian London. I looked into hearts and minds. I saw, I heard, I smelled, I touched, I tasted so many extraordinary things.Evocative is, I think, the word I’m looking for,I turned pages backwards and forwards, reading and re-reading, trying take everything in, trying to solve the puzzle. There was always something to infuriate and something to intrigue. Finally there was a resolution. Of sorts. There were things that I didn’t understand. Questions left unanswered. Missing details. I had to let them go.The Pleasures of Men is a strange novel, and it is flawed, but there is much to hold the interest and attention, much to delight the senses.And it is an intriguing debut novel.

  • Roger Kean
    2019-06-02 23:39

    The review blurb says Kate Williams is "hugely promotable,' and "has a fantastic media profile," all of which is undoubtedly true. BBC TV presenter, author, and reviewer, she's described as "a stunning new voice in historical fiction." The blurb also tells us that Williams took an MA in Creative Writing, and this shows its hand on almost every page of this novel; so over-written it's overwrought.The Pleasures of Men follows the overheated imagination of a frustrated Victorian girl, damaged in some way as a child, as she attempts to understand the heart of what today we would call a serial murderer, only to discover that his crimes have a basis much closer to home than she thinks. The first-person narrative has all the advantages of clever misdirection, but at the expense of clarity to the point of irritation. My second star is given for the poetic density of the prose, and no doubt the repressed sexual undertones may keep many readers turning the pages, but I found this book intractable and the denouement insufficient for the time it took to wade through it. I'm sure Kate Williams is capable of a story more accessible and thrilling than this historical tract.

  • Nikki
    2019-06-06 20:48

    I don't know what to think of this book. It has a certain allure, something that kept me reading, but at the end I put it down and had difficulty pinning down anything I liked about it. There's an intense sexuality about it, and an interesting portrayal of a mentally fragile young girl and how people play upon her mind and manipulate her, and enjoy observing her. The atmosphere of the story is excellent, and the historical setting seems well researched and quite vivid, but... I didn't feel much about the book. I usually get attached to characters, and there were none here I felt drawn to. I found the resolution of the mystery quite flat -- I'd got there very early in the book and dismissed it as too obvious. I didn't understand the characters' motivations or way of thinking.There is something mesmeric about it -- I finished it, and read quite fast, too -- but I can't say I liked it or that I would recommend it.

  • Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
    2019-05-24 03:41

    This book was not a popular book over-all on GR, but I really enjoyed it. This book has a dark gothic flare to it. It is an interesting combo of literary and non-literary. Also I have weakness for books with queer characters. :D

  • Laura
    2019-06-09 03:37

    Perhaps part of my confusion with the plot ofThe pleasure of menis due to the fact that I read it during finals week....but I don't think so. Based on the general consensus of other reviewers on Goodreads, I think Kate Williams intended to write a gothic Victorian mystery, but instead wrote a convoluted, overwrought tale which tried to do too much and succeeded at very little. Meet Catherine, a young woman with a tragic past (which slowly gets revealed during the first 1/2 of the book). She has come to live with her (possibly wealthy?) uncle who lives for unexplained reasons in an unsafe area of town in a house filled with skulls and other odd bric-a-brac. Catherine's days seemed filled with a lot of....nothing really, other than occasional visits from families and/or girls. She is supposed to be finding a respectable husband, and occupies herself somewhat by writing in a journal and occasional charitable outings (such as to a children's home). But then the murders start happening, by a serial killer dubbed the "Man of Crows", and women are leaving London in droves for the relative safety of the English countryside. So what does our heroine with a troubled past and probable mental illness do? She decides it would be a good idea to wander the streets of London at night to uncover clues to the murders. It was at this point that I was unable to continue to view the storyline as believable.Storyline aside, the characters (even the heroine) had a complete lack of character development, the dialogue was stilted/hard to follow/made no logical sense, and the ending was quite abrupt. Other reviewers have mentioned that Williams at least has a decent writing style, but I found it wasn't enough to grant another star. Given 1 star or "BAD" rating.

  • Lauren
    2019-06-02 21:48

    The Pleasures of Men read like a badly televised version of Henry James The Turn of the Screw with a dash of Sarah Waters and Michael Cox added in.There isn't any new ground covered in this novel. I didn't learn anything about the human condition of why people are attracted to serial killers. Blaming yourself for a dead relative might make a good case for a ghost story but this girl was just a drama queen.I wasn't satisfied by any of the relationships established here.The story of a prickly girl who becomes obsessed with a serial killer (view spoiler)[who happens to be her next door neighbour(hide spoiler)] isn't new. The Canadian film The Good Neighbor comes to my mind. Boy was Scott Speedman disgusting in that. The book is all atmosphere but has no heart.With the exception of A Little Stranger Waters books had heart. Affinity worked because Meg did desire love.This book was too cold and judgmental for me to fall into it's spell. The Edwarda part was brutal and interesting at least. That could have led to a different and better story. However, Michael Cox already did the servant revenge scheme. The main problem I had with this novel was the characters kept switching pov but often they didn't feel like real characters but possibly her stories with no lead in and then back to Catherine. It was nauseating at times. This led to me distrusting Catherine as a narrator throughout the book since the writing of people in her stories were very teenage girlish. This might have worked in a different book. I suppose Williams wanted to separate the stories from the novel but there should have been a clearer cut way to do this.She did change the voice. I'll give her that Catherine wrote like a girl with very limited world experience. I just didn't want to read that kind of book.I usually skip the readers notes at the back of books but this one suggested Catherine was the killer. Williams is wearing her influences on her sleeve if that were the case. But when the narrator is the killer what would be the point of the novel then? I hate films or books where the main character is telling you the story but withholds that information. I'll be boring and stick with the established killer or my head will start to hurt.

  • K
    2019-06-13 20:38

    The Pleasures of Men by Kate Williams is, contrary to the title, a mystery set in 1840s England. Catherine Sorgeiul, an orphan, lives with her eccentric uncle on Princes Street, and is on the verge of being a spinster. Forced by her uncle to try to find a suitable match, yet limited to her dismal and eerie home in a lower-class part of London, she yearns to escape from the drudgery. When the Man of Crows begins to wage war on poor girls throughout the city, and leaves them dead in the position of a wounded bird, Catherine becomes intrigued. She decides to chronicle the events in writing in order to better understand the victims and to understand the motives of the Man of Crows. As she dives further into the horrors that captivate the city, she begins to fear that she may be causing this evil. When her former maid is found dead and her current maid goes missing, Catherine feels overwhelmed. She realizes how she has been a pawn in a larger game and solves the mystery as well.While this book seems like it would have a great storyline, it is awkwardly developed and shifts between narrators with insignificant and unknown characters detailing events. Also, there are a number of details about Catherine and her family that are left out until much later in the novel, leaving the reader to make sense of all of the pieces. Additionally, the story doesn’t really seem to be resolved – there is no closure at the end and Catherine seems rather indifferent about the murders at the end. I really wanted to like this book, but the story doesn’t come together. If you are a patient reader, and willing to work with underdeveloped characters, this could be a good fit. From

  • Cheryl
    2019-06-06 22:33

    Someone is murdering women. The murderer however does take the time to nicely arrange the women by braiding their hair and stuffing the end of the braid in their mouth. Catherine Sorgeiul lives with her Uncle. She is supposed to be a proper lady and that means she does not have much of a life. With lots of time on her hands, Catherine soon finds herself drawn to the murders. Catherine starting writing about the murders. However, Catherine’s writing brings her into the killer’s sight. This book sounded really good as it might still turn out to be good but for me, I found myself struggling to get into this book. In fact I sadly had to give up after only making it to page 66. The writing just seemed too monotone for me. There was nothing interesting about the story. I did not feel anything for the murdered women. This I felt was an important aspect of the story as this is the mina focus of what the story is about. If I do not feel anything for the women then there is no point in going any further with the book and trying to discover why the women were murdered. Missing: A more interesting cast and a quicker story line pace.

  • Catherine Clarke
    2019-05-21 04:45

    About five stories in one - the author clearly could not decide which one to tell and so told all of them. The thriller I was expecting failed to materialise and the ending was predictable and dull.

  • Louise
    2019-05-21 21:38

    Just a tad too confusing at the beginning, trying to piece together where Catherine had come from and what get family history was. Sometimes the slow drip feed of information adds to the story, but there was no tension here, just the frustration of not knowing.Some parts were fantastically atmospheric,all the fringe, noise, sights and smells, unfortunately most of it didn't grip me.Grace seemed like a complete waste of pages, and you have to wonder at a character not only unfortunate enough to loose their whole family, but then to land up in the hands of an uncle willing to use her as a pawn with a murderer, but also be the object of said murderers love/obsession. Trying to cram too much in I think!!!Not sure I'd be tempted by author again.

  • Helen
    2019-06-15 21:47

    Word soup. If anyone knows what this is all about, let me know. Actually, on second thoughts, don't bother.

  • Dessi
    2019-06-11 22:42

    A waste of time this.Trite, superficial, pointless.Went nowhere, gave nought.

  • Alex Black
    2019-06-09 04:39

    Usually when I give a book one star, there's a certain amount of hate involved. But this book didn't even inspire hate. 350 pages and the only time I came even remotely close to caring about a character is for about twelve pages when Constantine was speaking the most obvious truths and pointing out several flaws in the book. This happened around page 100 and I was shocked that there was almost something resembling a personality. But that quickly passed.This was just a convoluted mess that fell like it was trying to be literary and failing spectacularly. 250 pages in and I didn't know who the characters were or what was going on or why anyone was acting the way they were. I love theorizing in books and can't help myself from guessing plot twists and endings, but I didn't in this. I didn't care. The amount that I did not care about literally anything in this book was astounding.

  • Erin
    2019-06-19 02:32

    This book started off mysterious and dark! Just to know ther is a serial killer during the Victorian era!

  • Éponine
    2019-06-02 03:29

    Catherine Surgeiul non è la tipica eroina vittoriana: impacciata e distratta, spesso si perde nei meandri della propria immaginazione. E' poco curata nell'aspetto e, in compagnia di altre persone, si sente costantemente a disagio. Catherine ha un segreto che verrà svelato poco a poco: la ragione per cui ha visto la propria famiglia e la propria vita dissolversi per far posto ad un grandissimo ed opprimente senso di colpa. Per anni le è stato ripetuto che è stata lei la causa del male che ha distrutto le vite delle persone che amava.Siamo intorno al 1840 e Londra è colpita da una serie di omicidi. Catherine è pericolosamente affascinata dall'ignoto assassino che lascia le proprie vittime, delle giovani donne, brutalmente sfigurate. Ed è convinta che solo una persona corrotta dal male come lei potrà scoprire la sua identità.'The pleasures of men'. No, non è il titolo di un porno. Questo romanzo non è certo l'ultimo capolavoro della letteratura: ci sono alcune cose che avrebbero potuto funzionare meglio. Ma devo dire che, nonostante tutto, non esiterei a consigliarlo...L'autrice, Kate Williams, è una vera esperta di epoca vittoriana e riesce benissimo a ricostruire le strade in cui vaga la protagonista: i pericoli e gli strani personaggi che si trovano per le vie di Londra, l'atmosfera notturna nei quartieri più poveri, la sensazione che si prova nel ritornare a casa nel buio e sentire dei passi dietro di noi. Insomma, la ragazza sa di cosa sta parlando.La Williams ci mostra il cosiddetto 'lato oscuro' della società vittoriana, cioè quello che si cela dietro la facciata di perbenismo che veniva ostentato. E' questa la vera forza della storia: non sarebbe stato lo stesso se Catherine fosse stata la fanciulla virtuosa che tanto veniva apprezzata all'epoca. No, Catherine è umana, e in quanto tale non riesce a smettere di pensare, di fare congetture e di fantasticare su cose a cui una dama non avrebbe mai dovuto rivolgere i pensieri.Un altro punto di forza è il cambio di narratore, che ci permette di sbirciare nelle vite dei personaggi secondari e delle vittime del serial killer. E così, ancora una volta, possiamo vedere che nulla è come sembra.'The two women in front of me were still praying, but even if I bowed my head, I would not be able to find God. If I were that virtuous girl, I would be certain that God was always watching over me, prompting me to guilt about little lies and offering me the promise of Heaven.I could not even say now - such a wicked thing - that i was sure He exists. I knew the answer was that man creates evil, not God, but I could not think Him so helpless.'

  • Nicole
    2019-06-13 21:29

    Huge disappointment and I must say this book has sworn me off any future offerings by author Williams as I found the entire book utterly atrocious. Takes place in Victorian England and the central character is Catherine, an orphan who is now in her early twenties and lives under the good graces of her uncle in London. There are hints of some sort of sordid past, coupled with mental health issues, which have forced Catherine into the living arrangement she now finds herself. Her uncle is some sort of scientific eccentric, with various artifacts from around the world in his home which appear to serve to scare off potential suitors for Catherine, much to his dismay. Catherine's mundane life is altered when she becomes drawn to the reports of what would now be called a serial killer who is taking the lives of various working women in London's east end. Somehow Catherine becomes captivated by these events and finds solace by writing possible stories about the victims and their killer in her journal.The novel is mainly told from Catherine's point of view which, while serving its purpose of conveying her skewed perspective, also alienates the reader as it becomes quite confusing to tease out what is fact, what is projections from Catherine's writing, and what are apparitions of her mind. And then there is the customary undertones of sexual repression and sexuality which are typical of all stories of this time period. Catherine as a narrator was annoying, untrustworthy, and simply skittish. I cared nothing for her or her past, most of which seemed fabricated. Why I stuck with this novel I still do not know - the ending was certainly not satisfying. I finished thinking I can only be sure that of the events which were depicted were that Catherine kept wandering around the streets of London looking disheveled and no doubt talking to herself as she constructed stories in her head about the murdered women. It is baffling how anyone can rate this novel 4 or 5 stars, a rating I equate with stunningly original works or steadfast classics, of which this novel fits neither category. Save yourself the trouble and search out an alternative if this title crosses your path.

  • Susan
    2019-05-28 21:45

    Catherine Sorgeiul lives in Spitalfields with her uncle. Previously, she had lived in Richmond with her parents and brother, but there are hints of some tragedy which means Catherine has lost her family. The full story only becomes clear as the book unfolds, but it is obvious that Catherine is a very tragic and unhappy young girl. The house she lives in with her uncle is a "cabinet of curiosities", set in a poor area where few respectable people visit. Those that do, Catherine is wary of. Her uncle's friend, Mr Trelawny, the strange neighbour and his mother, nervous Miss Kent and the vicious Miss Edwarda and her sister Miss Lucinda.This book has a real sense of menace about it. Catherine feels threatened both inside and outside, where the Man of Crows lurks, murdering women in the neighbourhood. As the victims mount, Catherine begins to become obsessed with them. She writes of the murders, dreams of them and visits the streets where they have happened. This story is set in Victorian London and you sense that many of the characters are repressed and stifled by the society they live in. Catherine is unclear about many things, but has nobody to talk to. Her maid disappears, her things go missing and the sense of violence increases. As her fear mounts, we gradually discover her story and that of the Man of Crows. Overall, a very good and interesting novel, although slightly confusing in places, but with a great sense of tension and atmosphere.Rated 3.5

  • Deirdre
    2019-06-12 02:54

    This should have been a winner with me, a pre-Peeler Victorian murder mystery with an undercurrent of mental illness, this one was largely a miss for me. There were moments that worked, but overall it just wasn't me.Catherine Sorgeiul lives in Spitalfields with her Uncle. She is getting older and there is a possiblilty that she won't find a husband. Her uncle is eccentric and she herself is prone to what were referred to as fits of imagining. She has spent some time in institutions after her mother dies followed rapidly by her father going missing. She was passed from relative to relative and her sanity has been eroded at every turn. It is possible that with a focus for her life she could ahve found something to do and made something of her life but the Victorian era didn't really allow for this.And it was for Catherine I kept reading. However I was never sure if what she was experiencing was real or imagined. There were several times that I suspected her as the killer. In the end I disliked her unreliable narration and the story. It just didn't really work for me and I finished it feeling somehow cheated.

  • Neeuqdrazil
    2019-05-27 21:27

    I could not get into this. It was disjointed, skipping around between POVs (I think? No, I'm pretty sure. Unless those other POVs were dreams...) So, yeah. Confusing. The villain(s) were telegraphed (badly) from the beginning, but some others (Mr. Janisser the younger) didn't act appropriately (ETA: by which I mean that his character wasn't consistent - his behaviour jumped around a lot), and there were no reasons given. I don't know - I couldn't get into it - the main character (Catherine?) didn't make any sense. And none of the other characters made sense, either. I am looking forward to reading this author's biography of Emma Hamilton, though.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-06-05 23:40

    A cleverly crafted, darkly twisted novel that examines the psyche of Catherine, our troubled, unstable narrator. The story follows Catherine's increasing obsession with a string of brutal murders committed by the nicknamed "The Man of Crows". Throughout, she creates stories in order to better understand The Man of Crows and to unravel the mystery as to why the murders are occurring.But, Catherine is, of course, an unreliable narrator ...

  • Laura
    2019-05-24 22:39

    not worth my time reviewing.could have been a good plot but was poorly executed.

  • Laurie
    2019-06-11 04:44

    Set in 1840’s London, ‘The Pleasures of Men’ tells the tale of orphaned nineteen year old Catherine Sorgeiul after she is taken in by her uncle. Uncle lives in genteel poverty amidst books and anthropological artifacts. Encouraged to not think about the tragedies of her past that led her to be institutionalized for a time, but given nothing to do that interests her, she becomes obsessed with the Man of Crows, a serial killer who is targeting young women. To try and get a handle on how he thinks, she begins to write about the victims without realizing that she is drawing bad intentions to herself. Soon she finds herself unable to trust anyone. The atmosphere is wonderfully created- the heat of the city in summer, the claustrophobic life Catherine lives, the fear, and the uncertainty as to what is real and what isn’t – and made me feel like I was there. It was murky and shadowy, as I imagine Catherine’s mind must have been. As more and more peculiar discoveries are made that don’t seem to fit together quite right, the mystery deepens instead of being solved. However, the story changes point of view and point in time frequently, from Catherine to the several girls who are murdered to, finally, the murderer. This made it very hard to follow. Most of the characters were poorly developed; perhaps it was to allow us to see that Catherine wasn’t really interested in them and just saw their surface, but it made it hard for me to care about them. Catherine herself, despite her situation, was hard to care for. The story seemed to lack a clear focus, and in the end it left me disappointed.

  • Sue Smith
    2019-05-23 01:47

    I've got mixed feelings on this one, I won't deny that. On one hand it was a story with a lot of potential - serial killer in Dicken's London, preying on women and disposing them in a most gruesome manner, all murders seemingly coming closer and closer to one particular, by all accounts, troubled young woman. It had all the hallmarks of a darn good read. And what a cover!! Sucked me right into the vortex ... had me with the bloody knife being gently held by a fragile ivory hand.Sucker!Sadly, it was quite disjointed. I found that there were lots of delicious hints and it certainly made you wonder where those hints were going to go or who was going to get it next, but they never seemed to be played out or linked up or whatever. So after a while I found myself putting it down and attending to other things (this time of year is busy at the best of times anyways). So it just became so so. The tension slipped away and so did the horror. A little disappointing to say the least.Oh well. It was still an interesting look at the feminine side of those times. Not easy nor always happy. Certainly made me glad to be where I am now. Not that you're really any safer, but I feel like I don't have to rely on the whims of another to ensure my safety.

  • Kitty Chatfou
    2019-06-16 22:28

    Book Title: "The Pleasures of Men”Author: Kate WilliamsPublished By: Hyperion/VoiceAge Recommended: 18+ Reviewed By: Kitty BullardRaven Rating: 5Review: In the rousing age of Victorian England comes a terrifying story of mystery and murder. This novel is on par with some of the darkest tales of Jack the Ripper, I found myself cringing from the detailed horrific scenes of young girls murdered by a killer dubbed the ‘Man of Crows.’ The heroine is a young girl herself, named Catherine Sorgeiul. Going on her own mysterious hunt for the offender, she soon finds herself a possible target. The story is haunting, superbly written and supremely original. Kate Williams mixes the Victorian time period well with intrigue, mystery and macabre. A perfect read!

  • Susan
    2019-06-18 03:38

    Billing this book as a Victorian mystery might be a misnomer. Maybe more of a thriller? But I found it to be confusing and the storyline convoluted, with the narrator telling the stories of the murdered women through their perspective. The recurring drama of the narrator's background, combined with the lack of development of the other characters, made it difficult for me to stay engaged.