Sleep, Pale Sister, a powerful, atmospheric and blackly gothic evocation of Victorian artistic life, was originally published before Joanne Harris achieved worldwide recognition with Chocolat. Henry Chester, a domineering and puritanical Victorian artist, is in search of the perfect model.
In nine-year-old Effie he finds her. Ten years later, lovely, childlike and sedated, Effie seems the ideal wife.
But something inside her is about to awaken. Drawn into a dangerous underworld of prostitution, murder and blackmail, she must finally plan her revenge.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 448 pages
- Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/09/2004
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780552771788
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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.
Review by MoiraStirling
Gripping. Immensely haunting and ethereal. Characters were a tad underdeveloped, but I forgave it as I turned page after page after page...What a pleasantly dark and pessimistic tale from such a pleasantly optimistic author. The role of Devil's Advocate certainly becomes Ms. Harris.
Review by craso
The themes in this story are very gothic; lust, drugs, madness, revenge, and murder. A Pre-Raphaelite artist, Henry Chester, marries his seventeen year old model Effie who he has been using as a model since she was eleven. He portrays her in his paintings as an innocent, but on their wedding night she displays sexual desires. He has psychological issues involving religion and his mother which causes him to be guilt ridden about having sex with his wife. Henry is cruel to Effie and tries to control her by giving her laudanum. She turns to a lover, Mose. Mose introduces her to the local madam, Fanny, who knows Effie's husband because he frequents her brothel. Fanny concocts a plan to extort money from Henry, but Effie and Mose don't realize that Fanny has her own reasons for destroying Henry's life.Each chapter of this book is told from a different characters point of view. This helps you to understand Henry's cruelty, Mose's selfishness, how easily manipulated Effie is, and Fanny's dark motives. This book was very hard to put down. The story was very engaging.
Review by booktwitcher
I found this uncomfortably weird. It is a easy read in that it was compelling, but I found I was drawn onto read further in a distasteful way.
Review by shanaqui
Joanne Harris' second novel probably could have done with more editing before it was re-released, it's true. At first glance it's quite different to her other writing, but slowly you can see themes in it that come up over and over again in her writing. Slowly it becomes more and more creepy and mystical and strange, from something that was more like realism. Creepy both in the supernatural sense and in the creepy pervert sense, really.<br/><br/>The writing is pretty compelling, just like her other writing. There's something "more-ish" about it, I guess: it goes down easy. I've found that with all of her work and this one's no exception.<br/><br/>The closest similarity is with The Evil Seed, and I think that's the gothic element and also one of the key characters. Marta haunts the other characters in the same way that Rosemary does in The Evil Seed. I don't find the evil-woman-who-has-men-dancing-to-her-tune archetype all that much, so I hope it doesn't show up again through all the rest of Joanne Harris' writing that I haven't read yet...