About Me

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Victoria, Australia
I am an author of Young Adult Fiction books. I worked as a teacher in the Pacific Islands for seven years. Whilst in the Solomon Islands I taught PSSC English before the ethnic tension in 2000 forced a change of plans. I love Pacific literature, art and music. You can find me on Facebook at Beth Montgomery Author.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Many years ago I read the classic horror tale by H.G. Wells, The Island of Doctor Moreau. Full of monsters made from animal experiments, the story is gruesome, Gothic and grotesque. Megan Shepherd's novel, The Madman's Daughter, is a terrific piece of fan fiction that gives this old tale a fresh platform. It is the story of sixteen year old Juliet Moreau, the only child of the eccentric but brilliant surgeon, Doctor Moreau. Her father fled London six years earlier after rumours of his barbaric methods began to circulate. With her mother now dead, Juliet is determined to search for her father. She travels by ship to her father's island and along the way rekindles a friendship with her father's young servant, now grown into a handsome young man named Montgomery. The ship takes on a castaway, a brooding gentleman called Edward who reveals little about his past.
The Madman's Daughter
(HarperVoyager, 2013).
   Once on the island Juliet receives a tepid-reception but the mad doctor tries to murder the stranger, Edward. Montgomery rescues him but the two young men become rivals over Juliet's attention. As the weeks go by, Juliet finds herself embroiled in the horror of her father's experiments and she resolves to escape the island. And somewhere lurking in the jungle, a beast has begun to kill the villagers and threatens to attack the doctor's compound.
   Shepherd's prose was serviceable but repetitious, and littered with misplaced modifiers and cliches, suggesting some further line editing was needed. I found this novel a bit slow at the beginning and Juliet's character was difficult to empathise with in a Victorian London setting. However her feisty temperament fits in well with the predicament she finds herself in on the isolated Pacific island. Still, my desire to read on to when they reached the island kept me reading. As soon as Doctor Moreau was revealed on the page, the story took off. The plotting was tremendous, with intricate twists and some nasty surprises in the final few pages.
A cracker of a story for those who like a touch of the supernatural.

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