While I have seen this book classified as a romance novel I was well pleased to find out it wasn't. It has romantic parts and sure there's sex but it doesn't seem to be the mainstay of the story. Still, for those that like that you'll get enough to titillate you but not so much that the book is considered trashy.I can only describe it as a really good read and that is mostly due to the stellar writing and research. Like Tim Powers, Ms Waters has done her homework. This is the gritty and very real city of London. I have to say that I really enjoyed learning about turn of the century music halls and all the backstage doings that goes with them. The history lesson in the hidden gay subculture was also an eye opener. This is a very different coming of age story and I love what the author did with it. Speaking of which, I think I'll be hunting out more books by Sarah Waters.