Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Blog Guest Post + Giveaway: India Black by Carol Carr

I am delighted to welcome Carol Carr, author of India Black, to Let Them Read Books!

Thank you, Jenny, for inviting me to do a guest post for your blog.

India Black may be based on historical events, but I took a rather tongue-in-cheek approach to the facts while writing the book. We have been conditioned to regard history as a serious subject (it is), but in retrospect, lots of historical episodes are ironic or coincidental, or even downright funny. I wanted to be accurate in my facts, but humorous in my approach. I also chose the light-hearted method when dealing with the experiences of my heroine, a brothel owner in London. Let’s face it, without a bit of comedy, a story about prostitution would be pretty grim.

I’ve read a great deal about the Victorian era, but when I began researching India Black, I had to learn something about prostitution in one of the most rigid and conventional societies in history. This caused a few raised eyebrows at the local library as I ordered book after book about sado-masochism in Victorian England, streetwalkers in the East End, and sexual deviance in Bloomsbury. We shouldn’t believe that Victorians didn’t have sex, or that they didn’t think about sex, or that they didn’t pay for sex. They did all those things. There was a thriving sexual underworld in Victorian England. Of course, polite society ignored this activity, except when it was engaging in it.

That was an aspect I wanted to play up: India would be cut dead by most of the men she encounters in the book if she were to meet them on the street, but it wouldn’t be surprising at all if they appeared on her doorstep with cash in hand. Their wives would have treated her worse. India has no illusions about human nature, and she takes several swipes at the hypocrisy inherent in the Victorians’ staid public image and their private behavior.

Many Victorians were religious folks with a zeal for good works. Unfortunately, they sometimes went about it with a heavy hand. India doesn’t mince words about the Victorian zest for charity. She has only contempt for Reverend Calthorpe and his scheme to provide prostitutes with work as seamstresses. India knows what Calthorpe doesn’t; that the wages of seamstresses were insufficient to support a woman, and many seamstresses added to their income by moonlighting as prostitutes. She’s unimpressed when the reverend arrives at the brothel enraged at the massacre of Christians in the Ottoman Empire, since he had to wade through a crowd of unwashed, unfed, and uneducated children to do so. India also has a few choice words about a society that tolerates starving children while its wealthiest members gorge on champagne and oysters.

As for politicians, India never misses an opportunity to skewer them, whether for imposing their religious beliefs on foreign policy (Gladstone) or supporting an oppressive regime to protect British commercial interests (Disraeli). Things haven’t changed much, have they? And that’s a point I wanted to make through India, and her cynical observations about her world.

Thank you, Carol!

To learn more about India and Carol, visit Carol's website.

Click here to read my 4-Star Review of India Black!

India BlackAnd now here's your chance
to win your own copy of
India Black!

To enter, leave a comment with your email address. My Followers double their chances to win :) This giveaway is open to residents of the US & Canada, and ends at 11:59 p.m. March 19.

The India Black blog tour continues through March 17--click here for the complete schedule and more giveaway opportunities.

Thank you to Premier Virtual Author Book Tours for inviting me to participate!

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected.
Congratulations Theresa N.!


  1. When I first heard about this novel, I thought it sounded interesting and different from the standard HF novel. I would love to read India Black.
    I'm a Google follower, so double my entry. Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. I would love to win this book. It's sounds like a really good read. I'm a google follower too. Double my chances, please.

  3. Rena

    I'd love to win a copy of this fantastic book and loved your review. Please count me in. I'm a follower of this blog and also shared about the book on my facebook page.

  4. This sounds just wonderful! Please include me in the giveaway (I am a GFC follower: Colleen Turner).

  5. I would love to read this book. Thank you for including me.

    I follow through google reader.

    tiredwkids at live dot com

  6. Awesome post. I love books with a historical background, and the Victorian time is my favourite period. And that this book deals with a brothel owner makes it totally awesome.

    I'm really looking forward to read this!

    (Not participating in the giveaway, I'm international. Rawr.)

  7. The topic sounds fascinating! Thanks for the giveaway.
    Old follower
    d.septer at

  8. This book sound intriguing! I love the tongue-in-cheek approach. Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. I would love to win a copy, thank you for doing this giveaway! I've had India Black on my radar, and your review and the guest post are making me really want to read it. :)

    I'm a GFC follower too. (Jessica M.)

    jmartinez0415 [at] gmail [dot] com

  10. Oh, gosh, this sounds like fun!

    I'm a GFC follower.

    afewmorepages at gmail dot com

  11. Sounds like a good read...count me in.

    And now I'm a follower too

    rammj99 at gmail dot com

  12. I've heard great things about this book.

    I'm a follower.

    tiredwkids at live dot com

  13. I'd love to enter! thank you so much!!

    +1 i'm a follower

    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

  14. Nice to read about India in your corner of the world. Sighs... love love love India Black and Carol for creating such a strong woman with the panache for meeting her deadliest enemy with her fearless wit.

  15. India sounds like a fascinating person. I'm a follower.
    Theresa N

  16. Thank you for this giveaway. Would love to win this book! valleauatsuddenlinkdotnet

  17. I enjoyed the guest post and would love to read India Black :) *Thanks* for the giveaway!

  18. Publicly following Let Them Read Books with Google Friend Connect [Cheryl F. {The Lucky Ladybug}]

  19. Following on GFC (Chrissie)

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    swaggirl01 at gmail dot com

  20. WHOOO! I loved loved India Black! I'm so excited for India 2 to come out in October. The second cover is divine!! Thanks so much for having this giveaway. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! =]]

    My email is: minh51291(at)yahoo(dot)com

    I love your blog, too! I've been following for a few weeks and you have some great titles that I always add to my "To Read" List. Keep on bloggin'!

  21. Thanks for the chance to win! This sounds really interesting!

    +1 GFC follower: Christy

    email: shortcut_2_mushrooms(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)nz

  22. Julie Meyers

  23. Loved your interview. It's always good to hear where the author is coming from and how she viewed the characters within their time in history. I'm a huge Victiorian fan...always say I live in a timewarp! Have owned and rennovated several Victorian homes.
    Thank you for the opportunity to enter this giveaway...hope I'm not too late bringing up the rear!! I'm a new follower and love your blog. Come visit me, please!!
    Hugs, The Bookish Dame/ Deborah


  24. I'd love to win this!

    I'm an old follower - Marie Kacerosky

    BellaMarie @ tampabay . rr. com

  25. I would absolutely love to win and absorb
    this book...I follow you via Google Friend
    Many thanks, Cindi


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