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Synopsis

Following in the footsteps of The Birth House, her powerful debut novel, The Virgin Cure secures Ami McKay?s place as one of our most beguiling storytellers. (Not that it has to . . . that is pretty much taken care of!)

?I am Moth, a girl from the lowest part of Chrystie Street, born to a slum-house mystic and the man who broke her heart.? So begins The Virgin Cure, a novel set in the tenements of lower Manhattan in the year 1871. As a young child, Moth?s father smiled, tipped his hat and walked away from his wife and daughter forever, and Moth has never stopped imagining that one day they may be reunited ? despite knowing in her heart what he chose over them. Her hard mother is barely making a living with her fortune-telling, sometimes for well-heeled clients, yet Moth is all too aware of how she really pays the rent.

Life would be so much better, Moth knows, if fortune had gone the other way ? if only she?d had the luxury of a good family and some station in life. The young Moth spends her days wandering the streets of her own and better neighbourhoods, imagining what days are like for the wealthy women whose grand yet forbidding gardens she slips through when no one?s looking. Yet every night Moth must return to the disease- and grief-ridden tenements she calls home.

The summer Moth turns twelve, her mother puts a halt to her explorations by selling her boots to a local vendor, convinced that Moth was planning to run away. Wanting to make the most of her every asset, she also sells Moth to a wealthy woman as a servant, with no intention of ever seeing her again.

These betrayals lead Moth to the wild, murky world of the Bowery, filled with house-thieves, pickpockets, beggars, sideshow freaks and prostitutes, but also a locale frequented by New York?s social elite. Their patronage supports the shadowy undersphere, where businesses can flourish if they truly understand the importance of wealth and social standing ? and of keeping secrets. In that world Moth meets Miss Everett, the owner of a brothel simply known as an ?infant school.? There Moth finds the orderly solace she has always wanted, and begins to imagine herself embarking upon a new path.

Yet salvation does not come without its price: Miss Everett caters to gentlemen who pay dearly for companions who are ?willing and clean,? and the most desirable of them all are young virgins like Moth. That?s not the worst of the situation, though. In a time and place where mysterious illnesses ravage those who haven?t been cautious, no matter their social station, diseased men yearn for a ?virgin cure? ? thinking that deflowering a ?fresh maid? can heal the incurable and tainted.

Through the friendship of Dr. Sadie, a female physician who works to help young women like her, Moth learns to question and observe the world around her. Moth?s new friends are falling prey to fates both expected and forced upon them, yet she knows the law will not protect her, and that polite society ignores her. Still she dreams of answering to no one but herself. There?s a high price for such independence, though, and no one knows that better than a girl from Chrystie Street.




From the Hardcover edition.

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CUSTOMER REVIEWS

The Virgin Cure
Average rating
4.2 / 5
Manager
November 7th, 2014
Really enjoyed the The story is authentically told - great read
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1 review
Good read
June 14th, 2014
The story never really went anywhere, and 12-year-old Moth seemed too mature for her age.
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1 review
A well-told tale ...
June 8th, 2014
...of a little-known chapter of New York's history. Not pleasant information but well- depicted characters make this a gripping read
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1 review
The Virgin cure well worth reading!
May 19th, 2014
Sad but engaging story of the difficulty for young women in1800s to survive. Women were definitely commodities to their families and society. The poorer you were the more hopeless it seemed. Dr. Sadie was certainly a woman before her time. Her attempt to change the lives of women and children was heart warming.
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1 review
Meh
April 29th, 2014
Just ok. Not great, not terrible. The birth house was infinitely better.
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1 review
The Virgin Cure
March 23rd, 2014
Amazing story! I could not put it down, and even when I was finished I still could not help but think of Moth.
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1 review
January 26th, 2014
A great read !! Eye-opening yet heart wrenching. Well written.
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1 review
Virgin cure
January 5th, 2014
Was a exteremly good read
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1 review
October 13th, 2013
While McKay's first book, The Birth House was a tour de force, The Virgin Cure doesn't disappoint. McKay uses historical facts to create a compelling story. Recommended.
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1 review
October 6th, 2013
Awesome yarn, page turner, very well written.... A definite 2 thumbs up!
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1 review
October 5th, 2013
Though predictable, this novel was a good read. Very interesting. Leaves you wondering why anyone would allow themselves to sink so low. Sometimes circumstance force tough decisions. What a sad life.
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1 review
October 5th, 2013
Very well written, Left me wanting more. Spicefamily
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1 review
October 4th, 2013
Enjoyed The Birth House and was not disappointed with the Virgin Cure. Ami Mckay does a wonderful job of bringing history to life...
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1 review
October 4th, 2013
After reading the Birth House and The Virgin Cure I can't wait for Amy McKay's next book to come out! Truly amazing stories that you become so immersed in that you feel like you are actually in the book. You will not want to put this book down and will never want it to end!
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1 review
October 4th, 2013
I enjoyed reading about the kind of existence that the poor of this era endured. I am not sure the proper word is enjoyed! However McKay makes subjects come to life. Both books I have read we're page turners. I have Lenny this book and others have enjoyed it also
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1 review
October 4th, 2013
Really enjoyed this book. Wonderful characters and I felt so sorry for Moth and Alice. But I wanted the book to go further and tell us what had happened to the characters later in life (maybe a sequel?) which is why I gave this book 4 stars.
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1 review
October 4th, 2013
I enjoyed this story. I first read the Birth House and liked that novel very much. I thought I would give this one a chance even though I was not that enticed by the description. It was a good decision. Kept me interested.
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1 review
October 4th, 2013
Ami McKay is an amazing writer. I read "The Birth House" first and then couldn't wait for "Virgin Cure" to come out. I had no idea what the title meant before I read this book. The main character is wily and a true survivor. I couldn't put it down!
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1 review
October 4th, 2013
Excellent story. I loved The Birth House and was excited to read another novel by the same author. Great Read!
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1 review
October 4th, 2013
Excellent, I couldn't put it down. The interesting thing is, this is what life was really about in those times. Hearing stories from my grand parents who landed in Ellis Island, they spoke of the ugliness they never experienced in their homeland. Looking forward to her next book.
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1 review

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