It is Chicago. 1910. 11-year-old Lillian March looks over her mother's dead body with a sense of relief.
As a poor woman, her mother, Cora, never had any real choices or happiness in her life. Cora and Lillian flee to the bustling city of Chicago, where she is certain she will have the life of opulence she deserves.
Cora and Lillian face deep hardships in turn-of-the-century Chicago as Cora's mind continues its downward spiral. With no money and no hope for income, Cora sells Lillian to the Garden Room, a brothel, where young girls and desperate women are kept like flowers in a jar.
John March comes looking for his daughter and his wife in an attempt to rescue them, but even if he finds them alive, is rescue really possible?
In the Garden Room is an exploration of madness, desire and two women's choices in a time when they weren't really allowed to choose.
©2016 Tanya Eby (P)2016 Blunder Woman Productions
Among the books I've listened to in the last year, it's in the top 5. Performance by the narrator was especially good.
Eby tackled a difficult subject matter but did it in such a way that it felt real. No gratuitous sex, but that which was included moved the story forward and drew the listener in.
There were both a variety of characters to voice, as well as a story arc which changed two of the characters from the beginning to the end. Lewis captured that change very well and made the listener feel the resignation of choices and consequences.
Yes, there is one particular scene involving a young girl and her first night working at a brothel (under duress). It was very well written and very well acted, and was extremely poignant and difficult to listen to.
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