The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shephard

If you are familiar with the story of Dr. Moreau, then that saves us some trouble. He was accused of heinous crimes of butchery in the medical community when his experiments went past the limits of decorum and modern societal standards. Run out of London, he left behind a wife and daughter. Left to bear the brunt of his shame, there were few options left to them, and soon the daughter was alone.

One misfortune led to another, until Juliet Moreau, only daughter of a supposed madman, is out on the street. No job, no where to go, and in fear of her next action. It is then that a figure from her past seems to come to save her: Montgomery, the boy she grew up with, and always cherished. He is in London on her father's business, and she begs to be taken with him.

Reluctantly, he concedes and they set out for the island. On their sea voyage, they encounter a shipwrecked man barely clinging to life. Juliet again convinces Montgomery to let him join them. To this, Montgomery takes a stronger stance to the contrary, but eventually relents. None are sure how the Doctor will take all this, but Juliet hopes for the best. She has not seen her father for years, never received a letter, nothing. How will he take her sudden appearance?

Arriving on the island she is struck by the queerness of the islanders. Each has something not quite right about them, even if she can't quite point out what it may be. Her father is ever the same, and spends most of his time in his lab. She is unable to bring herself to admit what may or may not be happening in his lab, and fears what it means that his blood runs through her veins.

This is compounded by the confusion she feels whenever she spends any amount of time in close proximity to either Edward or Montgomery. The former throws her off guard, and unsettles her, but she is drawn to him in a way that both scares and excites her. There is a darkness in him that calls to her own. Montgomery is the boy she has always wanted, but is he still that person? Does he even want her?

An interesting take on the traditional tale of Dr. Moreau, and planned to be a series, I always enjoy strong female characters. Juliet was raised with medical knowledge. Despite her hard knock life, she has found a way to survive. She rejects out of hand her father's idea that a man will come along and save her. (Admittedly, this is due in part to her own insecurity.) When faced with something she finds to be wrong, she does what she can to make it right. She is far from an Amazon, but there is a quiet strength that I enjoyed. Fans of romance will enjoy that aspect in this title as well.
“I rested my forehead against the wall and closed my eyes. It wasn't just my curiosity, or my fascination with anatomy, or how I could unhesitatingly chop a rabbit’s head off with an ax when a roomful of boys couldn’t. Those things were all symptoms of the same sickness - a kind of madness inherited from my father. It was a dangerous pull in my gut drawing me toward the dark possibilities of science, toward the thin line between life and death, toward the animal impulses hidden behind a corset and a smile,” (Shephard, 2013).
*Library Link*

If you liked these, check out:
Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shephard (Madman's Daughter, Book 2)
Control by Lydia Kang
The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

Shepherd, M. (2013). The madman's daughter. New York: Balzer + Bray.

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