Crimson Petal is a magnificent portrayal of life in Victorian England. The book is so visual that the reader almost feels present in the action. And the characters! Sugar is not your typical prostitute with a heart of gold. Yes, she aspires to be good and she is good to a certain extent. Only the history of her upbringing interferes with her ever achieving true goodness. In the end, she does seem to receive some redemption, but we never really know for sure. William is a man born to privilege, but with no desire to work to keep that privilege...until he meets Sugar. An excellent display of a man who starts achieving due to the yearnings of his nether regions. This, in and of itself, gives us a true idea of the kind of person William is. And he really is not a likable person. As with men of this nature, when your usefulness is gone, he no longer needs you. This holds true with his wife, Agnes, and with his concubine, Sugar. In all, Crimson Petal gives us an excellent overview of the class structures in Victorian times and the subjugation of women that was so prevalent. A truly excellent book that I highly recommend, with one warning. There are some explicit sex scenes so if you are easily offended, you may wish to skip this one.