Unwedded, Gustine works two jobs, day and night, in order to provide for her baby, born with his tiny heart almost exposed on his chest. Everything she does is for the care of this helpless infant; he is all she loves in the world. An aged woman assigned by the landlord to watch over the dress, doggedly follows Gustine's every evening, walking the streets like her shadow.
During one evening's excursion, Gustine happens upon a doctor, Henry Chiver, searching for corpses for his anatomy students to dissect, in effect a grave robber. But Gustine believes that Chiver is pure of heart, perhaps the very man to save her baby; when Doctor Chiver demands full possession of Gustine's child, something she is unwilling to concede.
Holman wields her plotlines masterfully toward inevitable resolution, the shocking choices made by the desperate characters, victims of poverty and their own human nature. This is never a pretty story, rather quite a difficult read, but the author challenges the reader for courage enough to face reality as fearlessly as she presents her truth. Luan Gaines.
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