Of Monsters and Madness

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Published September 9, 2014

The book is based off real events from author Edgar Allan Poe’s life, as well as characters and story elements from the poem “Annabel Lee” and “The Raven” , his short story “The Tell-Tale Heart”, as well as Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Although I overall enjoyed the book, I felt like she was trying so hard to pay homage to these great writers that Annabel’s story gets a little lost in the process, making her seem a little one-dimensional. That was sad because she had so many interesting things going for her and plus so many things to learn and adjust to in a completely different society. I kept waiting for it to be spine-tingling and creepy like “gothic horror story” title makes you think it will be, but it wasn’t.

The year is 1826. Annabel Lee has had no contact with her father since her birth, but suddenly she is sent two tickets by him to move from Siam (Thailand) to Philadelphia. Her mother was supposed to go with her, but she died shortly before Annabel received the tickets. She is excited to come to America as she helped her mother as a healer in Siam, and she had planned on studying medicine and becoming a doctor. When she arrives in Philadelphia, her father is rather shocked to see her and is cold and rude towards her. He is totally immersed in his work as a doctor, which makes getting to know him impossible. He is also totally against female doctors because he thinks they would be too week and emotional. But her father is far from blemish-free, as she soon discovers the truth about him from his assistants Allan and Edgar. Shortly after arriving in Philadelphia, there is a series of gruesome unsolved murders that she learns may have been committed by someone in her household. Will the murderer be brought to justice? Recommended for ages 15+, 3 stars.

Disclaimer: I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.