by Anne Schilde
genre: drama, historical
An online story that weaved itself into my heart and refused to let go. Find out why I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars!
(Taken from Anne Schilde’s blog)
A late-19th-century prostitute talks about her childhood, her life at a brothel in an imaginary town called Willow Bend, Louisiana, and her struggle to change her life.
Those of you who participate in Picture it & write may recognise Anne Schilde’s name. She’s been contributing for months and always has a fascinating story to tell. Kate is an online, 39-chapter story that is available to all: here.
The story starts with Kate at 15 years old when she is sold off to the Velvet Inn, a brothel, by her terrible father. Kate is an amazing character who is sweet, compassionate, and full of life. There are many moments and small scenes where Kate’s naivety made me laugh. The story made me pause on multiple occasions; Kate’s simple and yet profound reflections of the world around her, remind us of ridiculous customs or judgements that people can make. It’s this kind of detail to the character that makes Kate so life-like. Emotionally, you become gripped, hoping for Kate’s well-being.
While Kate is the protagonist, there are many characters that are introduced whom you also feel for. These include Leon (a personal favourite) and Alice. It’s fascinating to see people through Kate’s eyes, she has a unique way of painting events and individuals. While this story has many enlightening moments, it has many more solemn, and I would say, depressing scenes. As can be expected, when a character has to endure childhood abuse (of the sexual, emotional, and physical kind) and then be sent to a brothel, there will be scenes or memories that come up which can be quite confronting. They remind you of how fragile people are, the issues of power and corruption, but also that those prostitutes are incredibly human. Society then, and even today, often enjoys dehumanising those in professions that are “questionable”. You feel for these ladies, and especially Kate, even if her time at the Inn isn’t permanent.
While some scenes can be heavy and I wouldn’t recommend it to those who find those themes too emotionally disturbing, there is so much to be gained from reading Kate. Anne’s writing style evokes emotion, it produces vivid imagery, and the plot grips you. While you might question the writing, in fear of a heap of grammatical errors, you will find very few in Kate. Anne is professional and at times I forgot that the story wasn’t published. I am someone who enjoys action, thrillers, and intense fantasy. I rarely enjoy drama and the historical aspect of Kate made me questionable at first. The moment I started reading, I wanted to know more about Kate and read her journey. The writing is authentic, it feels real.
While Anne herself says that this story, Kate’s story, had turned into a fully-fledged online novel by accident, I would like to play my part in promoting people to purposefully go ahead and read it. Even if it is only a chapter. Anne’s storytelling skills allow most of the chapters to stand alone. Take a chapter, read the whole book.
A magnificent feat for a fellow Picture it & write contributor. Congratulations Anne Schilde on your wonderful novel, Kate!
4.5 out of 5 stars
This book is for you if you:
- Love strong character development.
- Enjoy historical dramas set in the 1800s.
- Find stories with controversial themes enthralling.
- Feel like reading a meaningful chapter or enjoying an entire novel that you can take something valuable from.
This book is not for you if you:
- Are uncomfortable reading about child abuse of all forms (sexual, emotional, and physical).
- Are disgusted by prostitution.
- Want a quick, easy read that is action-packed.
– Ermisenda Alvarez
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