Bowery Girl - women's historical fiction by Kim Taylor Blakemore

On the streets of the Bowery, a woman does what it takes to survive.

New York 1883: It was an age of rapacious greed and corruption, fueled by the machinations of Boss Tweed and the imaginations of figures such as Andrew Carnegie and Cornelius Vanderbilt. It was an age of tremendous technological wonder: the illumination of streets and homes by arc lamp and electricity (for those who could afford it), the manufacture of steel and the dawn of the skyscraper, Pullman cars and steam engines, ready-made clothes, the phonograph and telephone, and the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge. It was the stultifying air of Edith Wharton’s upper classes, the dank air of windowless tenements of the Bowery, and the mass of immigrants who swarmed through Castle Garden in the Battery looking for a better life. It was the end of agrarian culture and the beginning of the industrial age.

Here is the Bowery, lined with saloons, riddled with cholera and inhabited by Irish and Italian street gangs. Mollie Flynn, a pickpocket, dreams of leaving it. Her morals were questionable, her hands lithe, her belly empty. A pickpocket she would become. She “could have been anywhere between thirteen and twenty. She didn’t know her own age, so she had decided on sixteen.” And that’s where we find her, striding along the streets of the Fourth Ward on her way to the Tombs to pick up Annabelle Lee, recently released from Blackwell’s Island for being incredibly saucy and a prostitute, to boot. Join the girls and wander the Fourth Ward with them. It’s not a pretty place. But it’s full of life and dreams and small moments of joy.

“lends credence to the millions of historical and contemporary girls who dare to dream in the face of extraordinary challenges.” - Starred Review, Kirkus

“compelling, gritty, and sometimes brutal view of life on the streets.” - Barnes and Noble

“Gang violence, raucous carousing, sex, accidental pregnancy, and crime–not what most will expect from Victorian-era historical fiction. But that’s exactly what they’ll find in this tightly plotted novel…” – Booklist