The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Thanks to the completely unexpected twist at the end, this was rescued from being a one star - I just couldn't give it a three, though.
The pacing was so odd. It took forever for things to happen, and then there was a rush of stuff, then more waiting around. Why? The boat trip could have been a page or two, ditto the escape through the village. Time in the village, on the other hand, could have been a little longer. We rushed over meeting some characters, while others were far too much in evidence.
It was also disconcerting that the author felt the need to really hammer home the historical setting by continually mentioning Juliet's corset. I can't think of a single author from the 1800s who talked that much about corsets; they used other things to set the scene.
As for the twists, one was completely telegraphed, the other was barely hinted at. Perhaps mixing the two would have worked better for me. Also, while you don't have to have previously read The Island of Dr. Moreau or seen any of the movies, it does help. I was hoping that this would be a good alternate version of the Wells story (in the way that Wide Sargasso Sea looks at Jane Eyre) but, sadly, no...
ARC provided by publisher.