The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theordora Goss is one of the most inventive and satisfying books I have read in a long while. This delightful tale follows the “daughters” of Victorian mad scientists, including Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, Dr. Moreau, and others, as the women find each other in a science-fictive old London. The novel is set up in a somewhat unique manner, where the women are trying to tell the story of how they came together and their histories, which is being overseen by Catherin Moreau and frequently interrupted by the conversations of the household, which show up as interjections in the narrative. It creates a fun and unexpectedly broken fourth wall in what is otherwise a fairly standard-feeling Victorian horror/romance (in the old sense of the word).
The voice of Catherin as she explores the histories of herself, Mary, Diana, Beatrice, and Justine is beautiful, eloquent, and concise, keeping the flowery moments to when they are of most use and fluctuating just enough with each woman’s story so that the reader understands and feels connected to the different women. The writing itself is strong and fluid, carrying the reader along on a current swift enough that it makes putting the book down at any point nigh impossible.
If you are a fan of Sherlockian adventures or the old classics of science fiction, this is definitely the read for you. It has beautifully strong female protagonists, an enthralling plot, and gorgeous writing that will leave you craving the sequel.
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