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Sugar, Baby

"Sugar baby lifestyles, complex family relationships, and coming-of-age epiphanies are explored with page-turning aplomb in this devastatingly gripping debut."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Absolutely addictive, Celine Saintclare’s Sugar Baby debut is shot-through with top-notch characterisation and subtle commentary on everything from hypersexualisation and the ethics of sex work, to religious upbringings, imbalances of power, and the need to feel needed. It’s a triumph of a page-turner. 

21-year-old Agnes works as a part-time cleaner with her Vincentian mother, a “woman whose beauty, humility and piety I never had a hope of living up to.” Agnes’ religious upbringing was based on a dichotomised worldview — “Good versus evil. Pure versus impure. Madonna versus whore”. As a result, all her social activities are done in secret. She sneaks out to clubs. She wipes off her make-up to keep her mother happy. She dresses austerely for church. At the same time, her super-smart younger sister knows what she wants for her future — she plans to read Natural Sciences at Cambridge.

Everything changes when Emily, the daughter of one of their clients, invites Agnes into her world. A model and sugar baby (“if a man’s got money I can get it out of him…I could show you how to make a career out of lunches and champagne, Agnes”), Emily sees what she does as a mutually beneficial relationship. 

It’s not long before Agnes is seduced by Emily’s lifestyle — a world of incredibly beautiful young women, most of them models, who know how to get what they want from wealthy older men. Soon enough, Agnes is also earning stacks of cash, designer bags, and trips on private planes through her own sugar baby liaisons. But there’s a limit to how far Agnes can go, as she discovers through painful trips to Miami and Rome.

Emotionally engaging, and 100% absorbing, after this slam dunk of a debut, I can’t wait to read what Celine Saintclare writes next.

Joanne Owen

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