The Madman's Daughter
When Juliet is born in 1879, she is welcomed into a prestigious family of a devoted mother and a successful scientist father. She grows up in wealth and privilege, and though she longs to learn science and assist her father, he unfortunately believes in keeping females out of science. Instead, he employs a young assistant by the name of Montgomery. He and Juliet grow up together and become close friends. Montgomery often sneaks her father’s science books out for Juliet to read, and helps her hide to eavesdrop on her father’s work. But then scandalous accusations of horrific experimentation begin, blackballing her father in his field. Soon after, he disappears and is presumed dead. For a while, Juliet and her mother manage to scrape by, but then she passes away, leaving Juliet broke, alone and struggling to keep off the streets of London.
"The storyline is gripping and horrifically captivating, with lots of crazy twists and some spicy romance as Shepherd delves into the unsettling world of the insane."
Luckily, Juliet finds a job cleaning the university research hospital, keeping herself fed with a roof over her head. Then, when she’s 16, she stumbles across her old friend Montgomery, who admits that her father is in fact alive. It turns out that he and Montgomery have relocated to a remote tropical island to continue his research, and Montgomery travels to London once and a while to gather supplies. Juliet is shocked and hurt to find out her father actually abandoned her. But when she ends up having to defend herself against an aggressive doctor at the university, loses her job and faces criminal charges, she has no choice but to insist Montgomery take her with him when he returns to the island. Juliet is both eager and nervous about facing her father again. She has quite a few questions for her estranged father, like why he abandoned her, and if the horrific accusations could possibly be true.
The sailing trip to the island is treacherous, wracked with danger and very long. But the monotony is broken when they take on a handsome shipwreck survivor named Edward. Juliet finds herself attracted to both Edward and her old friend, Montgomery, and battles her own heart over her dilemma. When they finally reach her father’s island, an entire new set of concerns arise because it appears the accusations are true…her father is conducting experimental surgeries on animals to make them humanlike. And that’s just the beginning of the nightmare...
THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER is Megan Shepherd’s first novel, and she more than proves herself. The storyline is gripping and horrifically captivating, with lots of crazy twists and some spicy romance as Shepherd delves into the unsettling world of the insane. A bit of a warning to the younger or more sensitive of readers, especially to the animal lovers: this novel does contain some disturbing accounts of animal cruelty and experimentation. These examples are hard to read, though do bond the reader to the main character as she struggles with the same horrors. Fans will be impatiently awaiting the second book in this tantalizing trilogy. The talented Megan Shepherd is an amazing addition to the world of young adult literature
Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on January 2, 2013