Book Review: The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

“When a woman steps out of line and contravenes the feminine norm, whether on social media or on the Victorian street, there is a tacit understanding that someone must put her back in her place.”

Published in 2020, The Five by Hallie Rubenhold is a non-fiction account of Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane, who are famous for the same thing. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. Their murderer was never identified, but the name created for him by the press has become far more famous than any of these five women.

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TV Review: Harlots (BBC) – Season Three

Originally premiered on ITV Encore in July 2018, Harlots was recently picked up by BBC, with the three series airing from August-November 2020. Written, directed and produced by an all-female team, the series is created by Moira Buffini and Alison Newman and based on The Covent Garden Ladies by Hallie Rubenhold. The 18th-century drama is set in London and follows brothel owner Charlotte Wells (Jessica Brown Findlay) as she fights back against the new pimps in town, Isaac (Alfie Allen) and Hal (Ash Hunter), Lucy Wells (Eloise Smyth) as she joins forces with the new owners of the town’s molly-house, Elizabeth Harvey (Angela Griffin) and her son Fredo (Aidan Cheng), while Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville) continues to suffer the abandonment of her family and the experimental treatments of her doctors as she befriends the young Kate (Daisy Head).

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