Straight up - I probably bought The Pleasures Of Men by Kate Williams because I thought it was about sex and I am the worst at judging books by their titles and/or covers. I mean, now I'm thinking about it - the fact that the girl on the cover is holding a knife really should have been the tip off, but here we are. So to clarify - it's not about sex; it's also one of the hardest reads that I've come across in a while but after getting right through to the end, I'm ready to talk about it.
The book follows Catherine, an orphan living with her uncle. Left by the maid she loved so much and with only her uncle and other girls of her own age and class to speak to, she feels lonely and does not wish to relapse back into a madness that was starting to be cured when she moved to her current home. To fill her days, Catherine finds herself becoming fascinated with a series of murders in her area linked to one killer; The Man Of Crows. The book shows us all the clues that Catherine has at her disposal, and alongside her you must attempt to find the murderer before it's too late.
Now, I found it really hard to get into this book, and to read it all in one go - which is pretty unlike me to be really honest with you. I find this is unnessecary elaborate, and whilst it does create the right atmosphere for the book, it also just makes it feel like you're really dragging your way through the book, instead of keeping it fast paced like I might imagine I would find in similar-ish murder mystery or crime novels. It's not impossible to read - I just find it a little fluffy, a little too padded out. It's just not my usual style, basically.
That's not to say that I didn't enjoy it though. It's easy to empathise with Catherine, it's easy to be invested in her past life, in her romantic endeavours - it's easy to want the best for her, to worry for her, and your feelings towards Catherine are hugely important to the story; as you regard everyone around her with the same suspense that she does herself. I found it hard to read, but I would probably recommend it and I'm pretty sure that I actually will read it again. It kept me guessing, and although I did see where it was going, I was still engrossed when it got there.
All in all, I really did enjoy The Pleasures Of Men, and so if you don't have it I would recommend going to get it - but if it's already in your to-read list, it's probably not worth bumping up any higher, just read it and enjoy it when you get to it.
If you've read The Pleasures Of Men I'd love to hear your thoughts!