A spellbinding story of romance and discovery set in the filth and thrill of an eighteenth-century side-show, perfect if you loved The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock or Caraval. Nominated for the CILIP CARNEGIE MEDAL 2019.
Can this shocking new feeling be love, or is it electrickery?
In a lowly side-show fair in eighteenth-century England, teenager Mim is struggling to find her worth as an act. Not white, but not black enough to be truly exotic, her pet parrot who speaks four languages is a bigger draw than her. But Alex, the one-armed boxer boy, sees her differently. And she, too, feels newly interested in him.
But then Dr Fox arrives with his scientific kit for producing 'electrickery' – feats of electrical magic these bawdy audiences have never seen before. To complete his act, Fox chooses Mim to play the 'Electrical Venus'. Her popularity – and the electric-shocking kisses she can provide for a penny – mean takings are up, slop is off the menu and this spark between her and Fox must surely be love.
But is this starring role her true value, or is love worth more than a penny for an electrifying kiss?
Praise for The Electrical Venus
'A magical book with magical characters . . . Mayhew's language zips and sparkles on the page' Maria McCann, author of The Wilding
'Brilliant . . . A vivid evocation of a travelling fair in 1749' The Sunday Times on the BBC4 Radio Play