Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Crimson Petal and the White Read-along: Week 5 - Chapters 25 to 29


Well!  Things are really moving now, aren't they?!  It's kind of sad that this is our penultimate week - this has been a great book to read and gossip about!

Even though I feel as though I don't really have to say this, I'm just going to add the regular 'If you haven't read The Crimson Petal and the White yet and don't want spoilers, look away now' warning in any case!

The Prompts

1)  Sophie and Sugar's relationship has developed a lot this week.  How do you think this is affecting them?  And the Rackham household generally?

2)  Let's talk about Agnes.  I don't think that even those of us that hadn't read the book before expected her to see the end of the book but her actual (maybe?) demise wasn't what I was expecting!  What do you think?  Was it her body that William identified or is she living happily at a convent somewhere?

3)  As we move into the last section of the book, how are your predictions from Week One panning out?  If you've read it before, how well do you remember what's coming up?  How should we be feeling?!

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My Responses


1)  Sophie and Sugar's relationship has developed a lot this week.  How do you think this is affecting them?  And the Rackham household generally?

When Sugar first started acting as Sophie's governess, I wasn't really sure about how it affected the plot.  It slowed the pace right down and gave other characters more page time.  This week, though, I was completely sold.  I love how Faber has blended Sugar's memories of her own childhood with her interactions with Sophie.  It fits perfectly into the narrative and it incorporates more of Sugar's back story without having to dump it onto readers through some kind of awkward self-pitying internal monologue.  It's clever.  The juxtaposition of Sophie's innocence and Sugar's tragic upbringing works better to paint Sugar as a character worthy of sympathy than any 'woe is me' speech ever could have.

2)  Let's talk about Agnes.  I don't think that even those of us that hadn't read the book before expected her to see the end of the book but her actual (maybe?) demise wasn't what I was expecting!  What do you think?  Was it her body that William identified or is she living happily at a convent somewhere?

Not that I don't believe in identifying somebody by their genitals but I found William's identification of his wife pretty sketchy.  Also, how would she have ended up in the Thames if she was all but on a train the last time we saw her?  So either she got spirited away by the lady trying to lead her into a life of prostitution and then maybe murdered for struggling or she changed her mind about getting the train and wandered off and fell in the river?  I don't know.  It all just seems a bit odd, somehow.

3)  As we move into the last section of the book, how are your predictions from Week One panning out?  If you've read it before, how well do you remember what's coming up?  How should we be feeling?!

Generally, I'd predicted at least one death and at least one birth.  So far I've got two deaths and no births so maybe I was being optimistic!

Specifically, I thought there'd be a child between William and Sugar (nope), an incarceration in an asylum for Agnes (nearly!) and that William would gain and lose his father's fortune (he's gained it, at least!).  Time will tell but so far it looks like I wasn't a million miles away!

And now it's time to read that ending!  See you next week to dissect the ending!


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