The Madman’s Daughter

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd (NY: Balzer & Bray, 2013).

At sixteen, Juliet Moreau leads a harsh life, scrubbing floors at the medical school where her father used to teach before the scandal that led him to abandon his family.  Left seemingly orphaned after her mother’s death, Juliet can scarcely believe her circumstances, which quickly worsen to the point that she herself must flee–with a former servant and childhood friend, Montgomery, to her father’s island refuge on the other side of the world from Victorian London. Little does she know the grisly details of her father’s research that will meet her there, or the choices she’ll have to make.

Fans of Gothic horror will love this novel, but even readers who don’t ordinarily enjoy such gruesome doings can enjoy the way Shepherd explores family secrets and self-revelations. You don’t need any knowledge (or even awareness) of the novel’s inspiration, H. D. Well’s The Island of Dr. Moreau to follow the story of the love triangle Juliet finds herself in or her growing realization of the depth of her father’s insane obsession with creating monsters in the name of science. Also, Shepherd saves some great surprises for the very end of this novel, so I can’t wait to read the next one!  Recommended for ages 13 & up. Mild sexual situations, horror.

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