If you choose to go inside…
Madam Fannie Porter will answer your knock, her head tilted back and a hand on her protruded hip. If you are a customer, she’ll first point out her list of rules and if you don’t follow them, the ratchet of a shotgun will show you the way out.
Then, she’ll point to one of her soiled doves –Chubby Greta from west Texas with her big brown eyes and no nonsense attitude; timid Lillie who grins but rarely exposes the gap where her tooth had been knocked out by a brute; Sassy Sarah with her flaming red hair and ample bosoms. Then there’s Sadie. Well, Sadie …
If you are a lost young woman steered to the wrong “boarding house,” Madam Fannie will keep you safe. She might also offer you a job as the bordello’s pianist.
But perhaps you choose not to enter.
You may be against vice, the Social Evil, the Grand Wrong. Then go to the public forum in Alamo Park. Hear Minnie Fisher (Cunningham) speak out on women’s rights. Listen to Women’s Christian Temperance Union‘s Texas president, Helen Stoddard, speak out against prohibition. But prepare yourself. Texans likes their beer.
Whichever choice you make, know this. The Last Bordello is not a novel about what goes on behind closed bedroom doors (okay, perhaps a tad), nor is it merely a whodunit. It’s about powerful women at the turn of the twentieth century who fought for their standing in life. While some found prostitution to be their only means of survival, other women fought for equal rights.
The Last Bordello depicts the struggle and determination of both sides.
Oh, and I suggest NOT entering Southwestern Insane Asylum.
It is 1901. So, would you enter or not? Are you curious about what’s inside? Appalled? There’s no wrong answer. There’s no right one, either. I’d love to hear your response and a reason or two why you chose to go in or stay out.
All the best,