A sort of retelling of H.G. Wells’ tale The Island of Dr. Moreau, this story focuses on Dr. Moreau’s daughter, Juliet. In the wake of her father’s scandal accusations of practicing his physician arts immorally in 18th/19th century London, Juliet was left behind with her mother. However, as women, they cannot care for themselves. Juliet’s mother becomes a wealthy man’s mistress and dies of consumption, while Juliet, once upperclass, must take a job as a maid at the university or be destitute on the streets. When she comes across one of her father’s old diagrams of vivisection while at her job, she is driven to discover whether its origin is from a man who was disturbingly mad and cruel or a misunderstood genius. This curiosity and her other circumstances force her to find her father’s apprentice, Montgomery, once a servant boy and Juliet’s friend, into taking her to her father’s island and satisfying her past memory once and for all. Juliet is also caught up in a love triangle, finding the secret horror that stalks them on the island, ferreting out her father’s research and creations, and discovering the mystery of her own identity.
While I found parts of the novel to be confusing and altogether too creepy to make me fully embrace the undertaken creative direction, I did find the story to be engrossing and the characters to be intriguing. This would’ve been a good read for Halloween, but alas, I’ve missed the mark. I will read book two, not just because I liked Montgomery, but to reserve my judgment on the series. Her Dark Curiosity will be published in January 2014.