"I’ve got what rich ladies need right here in front of me," says Susan Rose, the savvy, endearing protagonist of Eisdorfer’s gripping first novel. What this Victorian-era English wet nurse is referring to, of course, are her own breasts: She feeds the babies of wealthy women who can’t, or won’t, nurse their own children. Susan started working after she gave birth out of wedlock; her father, "a man full of anger and ale," forced her to earn money nursing others’ babies. (Her own boy later died.) When Susan has a second son following a fling with a married Jewish dentist, her father kidnaps the child and gives him away. Susan cleverly gets herself hired as the boy’s wet nurse, and it isn’t long before she hatches a plan to steal him back. -Carmela Ciuraru
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