Twelve-year-old Moth dreams of riches, mansions and exotic pets, and mostly of leaving behind her dreary life in the slums of New York---but instead is sold into servitude by her mother only to “escape” into a life of prostitution. When inspected for cleanliness and virginity at her new brothel home, Moth first meets Dr. Sadie, the physician who records and narrates her tale, and introduces her to a more hopeful life. McKay skilfully recreates New York life at the close of the 19th century, thrilling the reader with unique tidbits of information from the doctor, but yet making the world so alive that you hardly realize you are reading historical fiction. Filled with thieves, gypsies, circus performers, prostitutes and representatives from the highest and lowest edges of society, The Virgin Cure has a little something for everyone.

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