I do like to depart from the detective fiction now and again and you can't get much farther away than The Virgin Cure - a tale of a 12 year old girl living in a New York slum in the nineteeth century, groomed for prostitution to a rich pervert. Difficult subject matter, difficult period. Was I going to get something mawkish, at best a cross between Pretty Baby and Angela's Ashes? Nope, I got a fine novel, one that is winning prize after prize and deservedly so.
The author has had a shortish career in radio and has won awards for several documentaries. Alas, this is Canadian radio and so doesn't reach the shores of the UK. If ever she reads this and has the odd copy floating around ... She has several short stories in print, a first novel The Birth House
The Birth House and The Virgin Cure appear both to have been excited to a degree by historical fact or artefact. In the latter's case, it was the author's distant relative, Dr. Sarah Fonda Mackintosh - a pionering woman doctor at a time when young women of her class neither pioneered nor doctored.
Author's own site: Ami McKay, some good material, especially on her earlier experiences as a would-be published author.