After having a baby it becomes so easy (for the one who is the main caregiver and staying home) to have absolutely no alone time. My husband and I quickly realized that I needed to schedule time with friends for my extrovert sanity, but it took a lot longer for us to realize that this extrovert also needed alone time on the calendar. It’s so easy to just be with baby practically 24/7. For me, however, this is a recipe for disaster. So, today is my first scheduled on my own, all by myself, TinaTime! Yay for coffee shops, lunch, and time to blog about good books!!
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.
Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only o discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.
Retold fairy tales are one of my favorite genres, so naturally I was drawn to a novel inspired by another novel. The Madman’s Daughter is inspired by H.G. Wells’ classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, and although I haven’t actually read the original I still loved this re-telling! I’m also an avid Jane Austen fan and this book reminds me of Catherine Morland, the heroine of Northanger Abbey. Catherine is obsessed with gothic thrillers and The Madman’s Daughter is exactly the type of novel she would have devoured! It is heavily atmospheric and full of romance and mystery.
Juliet Moreau is struggling to make a living in the dark shadow of her crazy father’s legacy by doing what her father didn’t do—fit in. However Juliet is a woman incredibly ahead of her time, she is interested in science and medicine, which is the opposite of anything girls in her society are supposed to enjoy. I feel like most readers can relate to Juliet because she is embarrassed by her “strange” interests and tries very hard to keep them hidden. I mean, who hasn’t strived to keep their seemingly nerdy hobbies secret?! As a main character, I like Juliet. She wants to believe the best about everyone and has an incredibly caring side to her, but she can also “get the difficult job done” when need be and she is always wavering between one and the other.
Juliet chooses to enter the world of her social outcast, mad father and in doing so thrusts herself (although unknowingly) into a world of dark secrets and creepy happenings. Megan Shepherd excels at fashioning this deeply sinister, eerie, and shiver-inducing story from the setting on a beautiful, mysterious and isolated island to the horribly disturbing experiments of a mad scientist. This is the gothic novel at its modern best! I was listening to audiobook and audibly gasped at times because Shepherd’s mood building was so darn well written!
Juliet also has the attention of two romantic interests — yes there is a love triangle! However, the thing I usually don’t like about love triangles is that there is almost always one clearly favored leader and it feels like the third person is forced in there just to make things interesting. With this one I seriously could go either way with who I want Juliet to end up with! There is no clear front-runner, which may bother some people, but makes it that much more exciting to me! And yes, there is some swoon worthy romance!
In the end this thriller captivated me from the beginning so if you’re into darkly atmospheric gothic novels you should definitely check-out The Madman’s Daughter!