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The Covent Garden Ladies

Narrated by: Emily Pennant-Rea
Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
Categories: History, British
4 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Summary

The book that inspired ITV's hit drama Harlots.

1757 - Harris' List of Covent Garden Ladies, a salacious publication detailing the names and 'specialties' of the capital's prostitutes, eventually became one of the 18th century's most successful literary works as well as an essential accessory for any serious gentleman of pleasure.

Beyond its titillating passages lay a glimpse into the sex lives of those who lived and died by the list's profits during the Georgian era.  

The Covent Garden Ladies tells the story of three unusual characters whose colourful lives were brought together by this publication.  

Its story plunges the listener down the dark alleys of 18th-century London's underworld, a realm populated by tavern owners, pimps, punters, card sharks and, of course, a colourful range of prostitutes and brothel keepers. 

©2005 Hallie Rubenhold (P)2019 W. F. Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"Rubenhold proves herself both a keen researcher and a writer who understands narrative tension...a compelling and ingenious book." (The Independent)

"Scrupulously researched and cleverly structured...Among the scurrilous tales of 18th-century low life...this one is the most intriguing." (The Daily Telegraph)  

What members say

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too repetitive

I only got the chapter 4, but got bored by hearing the same info repeated in a slightly different way, over and over. For instance : Samuel was supposed to become a Draper but wanted to be a poet.
I know repetition is an often employed technique in cheap tv documentaries but personally I find the style tedious, others may not notice it.

1 person found this helpful

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Interesting and emotional

A book that pulls you in to care about the characters in the list and their lives . It’s an insight into a world that is brushed over by history. I would recommend this read

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Dull

I was really hoping I would enjoy this book, as I loved Hallie Rubens other book, The Five.
This started quite well but became tedious as it just turned into an account of prostitutes. It felt like it was literally just being read out from an old account book.
Not for me still have 5 hrs listing left on this but think I will pass.