I Came Up the Stairs

I Came Up Stairs: A Victorian Courtesan's Memoirs, 1867 to 1871 - MC Halliday

Filthy street waif picked up by nasty man with a poor plan to get her "into society".

In just the part I read, we have a TSTL heroine - she literally doesn't know how to have a bath and can't figure it out, and uses her bedsheets to clean up after using a chamber pot, into someone suitable for society entrance. 

Of course Mister Pimp's plan comes to a grinding halt, because he isn't actually high-society enough to effect an entrance for her, so the only one who's actually screwing this pre-menstrual child is him. It's ok though, she accidentally invents exotic dancing and uses that to get attention.

The entire plot is pretty much laid out in the prologue, and then again in the first chapter. There's foreshadowing, and there is "remove all possible sources of tension from the book because you've already telegraphed the ending". This is a novel, not a real memoir where the how might well be more interesting than the what. Yet the in the first chapter we already know that the heroine will succeed in gaining entrance to society and be given jewels and houses and horses and oh my. Not a paragraph later that the pimp will be ruined by his own greed. So really, no point finishing the book at all.

Then there's the pretentious, convoluted writing style. Every seamstress is parisienne, or paris-trained, we got it, you can stop mentioning it after oh the first dozen times. Most of the sentences starting from the entire first paragraph would like to beg for mercy from the torturing: (My favourite: "Every drop of water hauled from the fetid river in a rusted bucket we set aside for a boiled dinner of potato and cabbage")

And how could a man who couldn't afford cab fare home from Whitechapel to Westminster, able to afford to pay all these parisienne seamstresses? There was never a slum quite so filthy as this Whitechapel drowning in piss. Never a girl quite so naively beautiful as the heroine. 

If you enjoy this kind of thing, have at it. But not for me.