Inspired by the writings of Samuel Johnson, The Trial of Misella Cross tells the story of a young woman's decline into a brutal life of prostitution in eighteenth-century England. Misella's ordeal begins when her impoverished mother sells her at the age of twelve to a wealthy predator, Sir Richard Maltby. Taken against her will to his estate, Hawthorn Manor, Misella is tyrannized by his sickly wife, Lady Sarah, and their jealous daughter, Isobel. Eventually discarded on the streets of London, Misella is arrested for murder and confined in London's infamous Newgate prison. The prison's devious Ordinary, William Hunter, coerces her into writing her autobiographical confession which he plans to sell to the crowds at her hanging. Betrayed throughout her young life, Misella must learn to trust Benjamin Turner, the barrister who crafts her defense. Risking his career and reputation, Turner challenges the unjust law that denies legal defense to common felons accused of capital crimes, secures the right to defend Misella, and fights to save her from the gallows. The novel re-imagines two of Johnson's Rambler essays in which he adopts the persona of the prostitute, Misella. The novel explores not only Misella's descent into prostitution as he did, but also the inner workings of the prison and legal systems in eighteenth-century London. The character of the barrister Benjamin Turner is modeled after Johnson himself, although Johnson was a writer, not a lawyer. Copies of Johnson's original essays are provided in the novel's Appendix.
  • ISBN13: 9780615687971
  • Publisher: Sky Parlour Press
  • Pubilcation Year: 2012
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 00304
Publication DateNovember 14, 2012
Primary CategoryFiction/Historical - General
Publisher ImprintSky Parlour Press

The Trial of Misella Cross

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