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Book 83: Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

Book 83: Of Monsters and Madness.
Author: Jessica Verday, 2014, revised 2015.
Genre: Historical Fiction. Horror. Gothic Melodrama.
Other Details: ebook. 307 pages.

Summoned to her father's Philadelphia house in 1826 after her mother's death, seventeen year-old Annabel Lee's whole life is about to change. Here, she can't wear pants and practice medicine like she used to in Siam. The new city she's supposed to call home is full of dark secrets and strange curiosities — a world she has trouble navigating. Until she meets her father's assistants.

There is Allan—darkly handsome and gentle natured, he dabbles in writing stories when he's not helping with medical advancements in her father's laboratory, and Edgar—who bears an uncanny resemblance to Allan, but is everything Allan is not. Cruel, selfish, and determined to see his own gruesome fantasies brought to life.
- synopsis from author's website.

The original edition of this novel had a cliffhanger ending and a second book, Of Phantoms and Fury, was scheduled for publication when Verday's publisher folded. As a result she revised aspects of the original and incorporated the material intended for the second book. Therefore, this revised edition contained the entire story.

Verday has mashed up a number of 19th Century tales with an early time in Edgar Allan Poe's life that is less known to produce this tale that ticks all the boxes in terms of Gothic tropes. It is quite melodramatic and while not great literature and fairly predictable proved a fun read.

I would direct any readers of the earlier version of the story to visit Verday's website for details of the amended version. I do suspect the revised edition was longer than the page count given above, likely closer to 450 pages given its size on Kindle.
Tags: gothic novels, historical romance, horror
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