A rowdy, exuberant, badly behaved blast of an adventure, Missy begins in 1862 with Dol McQueen, nineteen-year-old flash girl and opium user, heading for a boom town in the American West. On the way she prevents a man from hanging himself only to discover he is a murderous pimp. When he turns up later at the saloon where she has found work with some stolen goods he wants her to hide, Dol grabs the chance to start a new life and takes off into the wilderness with the loot and all hell in pursuit. Her alcoholic mother is an added burden on the mad, epic journey: can Dol save herself, her mother and their poisonous relationship? Like her literary predecessors, Becky Sharpe and Moll Flanders, Dol is a flawed but irresistible anti-heroine, and Missy is an astounding debut.
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Winner of McKitterick Prize 2009
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