Little Bones by Janette Jenkins
Published 5 January 2012 Chatto & Windus
Compelling Victorian historical fiction.
Jane Stretch was born with a disability - her bones twisted and out of shape. Sharing a nomadic upbringing with her wastrel father, drunken mother and elder sister, the family finally abandon her at the home of a doctor.
The doctor and his wife keep Jane and in return for her bed and board, she is to assist the doctor with his work, fetch and carry and accompany him as he tends his patients - poor desperate girls who have got themselves into a condition they need assistance in being released from. Yes, this is Victorian England and he is performing abortions.
All is well for Jane and her employers until one of the doctor's customers is found dead and the police are on their tail.
Poor Jane Stretch is a true character, a real gem in this novel. A great historical read, if you like your Dickens, give this one a try!