My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time
Liz Jensen
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Buy *My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time* by Liz Jensen online

My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time
Liz Jensen
320 pages
June 2007
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Living in Copenhagen in the nineteenth century, wily Charlotte is naïve to think that "travel" is a concept limited to Denmark alone. Charlotte makes her living as a prostitute, her income fuelled by the furtive needs of men. When she meets the haughty widow Fru Krak, she sees an advantageous door opening for herself.

Fru Krak's husband has been missing for years, and she is about to remarry. Desperately in need of a maid to clean her neglected mansion, Fru Krak invites Charlotte into her employ.

With the "decrepit old crone" Fru Schleswig - whom she is generous enough to support, and who she maintains is "not her mother" – Charlotte begins her new life as the servant of the sour-faced, foolishly gullible Krak, a life shaken only by a disquieting visit she makes to the former housekeeper who reportedly once had a terrible scare in the household.

As Charlotte goes about her domestic duties, she begins to unravel what might have transpired those seven years ago, causing the mysterious Professor Frederick Krak to have been wiped so incisively from the face of the earth.

With her mind full of séances, dark services with references to "the great beyond," and sightings of the ghost of Professor Krak, Charlotte develops a rapacious greed to know more about the locked basement room called the Oblivion Room and the dangerous mechanical device that might still lie rusting and abandoned within. Fighting the urge for adventure, danger and escape, Charlotte - and Fru Schleswig – eventually descend into the basement and – courtesy of a time machine - find themselves whisked away to modern-day London, where the poor Charlotte feels like an innocent babe fresh-shot from the womb.

In London she not only connects with the mysterious Professor Krak, but also meets intrepid archeologist Fergus McCrombie and immediately falls in love. Charlotte, however, learns the hard lesson that time is ultimately a commodity that can often be made, stolen, bought, wasted, trodden, marked, put off and even raced against.

Drifting somewhere between fiction, fairy tale, and the totally absurd, My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time makes some fun, cheeky observations about the modern world as Charlotte’s path veers from nineteenth-century whore to a respectable, love-sick twenty-first-century modern girl.

With a plot that moves at break-neck speed, My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time is a time-traveling adventure tale and a love story, and fabulously decadent, romp, immersing the reader in the underbelly of nineteenth century Copenhagen while also transporting us to the behind-the-scenes present day intrigues of the "Tin City" of London.

As Charlotte, Professor Krak, Fergus, and Fru Schleswig are transported backwards and forwards through time, the two lovers are often separated by events beyond their control. The good news is that the strange the enigma of time finally corrects itself and the couple is eventually reunited. Although Fru Schleswig might still weigh down the indomitable Charlotte, at least the young girl has triumphed in love.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Michael Leonard, 2006

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