Not Oprah’s Book Club: Sub Rosa

Cover of Sub Rosa by Amber Dawn, green with two flowers

Sub Rosa by Amber Dawn is a haunting semi-real semi-fantastical novel about a community of sex workers in fictional community called Sub Rosa.

I was immediately drawn in by the tale as I followed Little, the book’s protagonist and she-roe, through the twists and turns of her time at Sub Rosa. It’s a hard book to explain or describe–much is left unrevealed and not understood, but that is part of the magic of the book.

As someone who primarily reads non-fiction, I was drawn in by how this novel, even with its fantastical elements, paralleled and commented on the realities of our lives.

From the official description:

Sub Rosa’s reluctant heroine is known as “Little,” a teenaged runaway unable to remember her real name; in her struggle to get by in the world, she stumbles upon an underground society of ghosts and magicians, missing girls and would-be johns: a place called Sub Rosa. Not long after she is initiated into this family of magical prostitutes, Little is called upon to lead Sub Rosa through a maze of feral darkness, both real and imagined―a calling burdened with grotesque enemies, strange allies, and memories from a foggy past.

It’s an incredible read and I highly recommend it. I do feel that I should warn folks though that it’s tough material, might be triggering for some, and most appropriate for older audiences.

Congrats to Amber on this incredible debut novel. Not surprisingly, Sub Rosa was recently nominated for a Lambda Literary Award.

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