…the research is thorough, and the author has a very straight-forward writing style. Hewitt takes us through from rags to riches, birth to death, whilst reminding us of key historical events…I feel educated and appropriately introduced to the life of courtesans during 19th century Paris. Hewitt has opened my eyes to the excess of prostitution in the capital and the different levels of the trade a young women would need to ascend before attaining a respectable title. I found this phenomenon, which could be deemed as a career ladder or rite of passage for unprivileged women, absolutely fascinating and am thirsty for more. But most importantly, these descriptions expose the strength of Valtesse’s character. It feels good to read about women with astounding bravery- cue Freddie Mercury’s The Show Must Go On… I don’t want to give too much away, but a young girl who shuns her entire upbringing to scale the city’s restrictive social circles – and succeeds tremendously- I mean, when’s the movie coming out?… Hewitt guides us carefully through all the different people Valtesse has mingled with; celebrated writers, artists and politicians. I can assure you there will be many recognizable names and events the courtesan is linked to, some very sensational affairs. It feels as if the book is one big networking party as she moves from one notable name to the other. .. Hewitt writes about the courtesan with great certainty and admiration, as if she were a close acquaintance. She uncovers intimate details, like sexuality and its fluidity- not only of Valtesse but her peers, with confidence. .. Great read.