Image of The Diary Of Cozette


Image of The Diary Of Cozette

McIntyre's first-person narrative is persuasive, because of its modern [but not jarring] sensibility regarding women's position in 1800s society. The story is more traditional, in terms of language and plot, and the unlikely combination is quite beguiling.

Her mother's only surviving child, Anne Cozette Bennett is sent to live with relatives. But after she rejects her brutish cousin's sexual advances, Cozette is sent to an orphanage. There, she falls for Ernest Henley, who helps her escape when the owner tries to sell her virginity. Cozette survives on the streets disguised as a boy before throwing in her lot with a prostitute, who teaches her how to please a man.

The lessons come in handy when Cozette is taken in by Lord and Lady Archibald, given work as a maid and encounters Lord François Deavereux. Their affair leads to disillusionment when he plays Cozette false; even taking other lovers doesn't heal her heart. But a secret kept by one of the Archibalds' other servants just may help. (SPICE, Oct., 432 pp., $13.95)
Reviewed by: 
Catherine Witmer