From Publishers Weekly
The Sub Rosa of this convoluted, heavy-handed debut's novel title is "a secret street of magical working girls," known as "Glories," magnificent women with no recollection of their pasts who help "live ones" from the city regain a measure of beauty in their lives. Into this world comes Little, a down-on-her-luck runaway. Captivated by the splendor of her new home, Little is glad to forget her old life. But when Sub Rosa is threatened by a rebellious Glory, Little, who longs to prove herself, must embark on a quest into the Dark, a threatening realm just beyond Sub Rosa where Glories are first trained. There, Little encounters Jellyfish, a former Glory who poses profound and terrifying questions, which force Little to decide whether happy oblivion is worth the price of her freedom to remember and to be herself. The transgressive–fairy tale aspect grows tiresome long before the predictable moral of the story is revealed. Meanwhile, the internal logic of Sub Rosa becomes increasingly strained, its mythology difficult to sustain, its inhabitants difficult to care about.
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"Amber Dawn's story is a sinister fairy tale, as intoxicating as any of the Glories [characters] but also an allegory for the emotional hazards of sex work." Bust
"A uniquely rewarding read.... Amber Dawn keeps the proceedings at a darkly whimsical remove from the real hurts of the world. She knows we know that pain is real, that women are made chattels, that masters are cruel. She's after a larger vision that raises questions about the entire emotionally fraught edifice of our received beliefs about sex, men and women, roles and rights and abuses." The Globe and Mail (One of the Best Books of 2010)