You might not know this about me but I really like historical fiction. I don’t really read it anywhere near as much as I should as I really have to be in the mood for it and I haven’t been for a little while now. Receiving The Wages of Sin* from the publisher has changed that however. I read some of Kaite Welsh’s writing in Nasty Women (read my review for that here) so when I saw that she had a novel out then I knew I needed to read it. When I read the synopsis for The Wages of Sin, I was determined that I was going to do it.
The Wages of Sin is historical fiction about the first women who are permitted to train as doctors at Edinburgh University. It follows Sarah Gilchrist who is recovering from a painful past and hoping to help others. When she stumbles on a suspicious death, she adds amateur sleuth to the list on her hunt for justice.
Sarah is a fantastic heroine, who I was an immediate fan of. She is determined and kind and driven. She is also increasingly bad-ass in a society that wants her to be anything but that. The novel is decidedly feminist and really tackles some of the realities of being a woman in the 19th century, not shying away from the less than comfortable aspects of that. This is woven into the story adding a fantastic additional layer to the novel itself.
Parts of this novel are brilliantly fun and enjoyable, putting a smile on my face while my read. But it is important to note that there are also really unsettling and uncomfortable parts of The Wages of Sin. It doesn’t shy away from them either so parts were quite difficult to read but I’m glad that I did.
Reading The Wages of Sin has also kickstarted my historical fiction love again so I think you’ll be seeing a little bit more of that on This Northern Gal soon!