Wednesday, 7 August 2013

A Fatal Likeness (A Treacherous Likeness) by Lynn Shepherd

 A Fatal Likeness
From Goodreads

A mystery that explores the dark lives and unexplained secrets of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and his wife Mary, author of Frankenstein.

In the dying days of 1850 the young detective Charles Maddox takes on a new case. His client? The only surviving son of the long-dead poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and his wife Mary, author of Frankenstein.

Charles soon finds himself being drawn into the bitter battle being waged over the poet’s literary legacy, but then he makes a chance discovery that raises new doubts about the death of Shelley’s first wife, Harriet, and he starts to question whether she did indeed kill herself, or whether what really happened was far more sinister than suicide.

As he’s drawn deeper into the tangled web of the past, Charles discovers darker and more disturbing secrets, until he comes face to face with the terrible possibility that his own great-uncle is implicated in a conspiracy to conceal the truth that stretches back more than thirty years.

The story of the Shelleys is one of love and death, of loss and betrayal. In this follow-up to the acclaimed Tom-All-Alone’s, Lynn Shepherd offers her own fictional version of that story, which suggests new and shocking answers to mysteries that still persist to this day, and have never yet been fully explained.

My review

I was sent this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

It was the first book by Lynn Shepherd that I've read and I've been led to believe that even though this has some of the characters from previous novels in it, that this reads well as a stand alone novel.

I struggled with this book, I found that I was only able to read it in small amounts and I kind of got lost along the way. When I did manage to read larger chunks as I got further into it, I found it a lot easier to keep up with the story and had sympathy for some of the characters.

I didn't know much about the lives of the characters prior to reading the story and whilst it's a fictional take on their lives, I felt that things could have happened in the way Lynn has portrayed them.

The story delves into the life of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and his wife Mary, the author of Frankenstein. The story is quite gothic in nature and is full of mystery and supposition surrounding events in their lives.  A fictional detective Charles Maddox takes on the case of delving into the mystery surrounding the death of Percy's first wife Harriet.  Told in a series of parts going back in time Maddox tries to unravel the mystery.  I felt that Percy comes over as a very manipulative person in this story, I wonder if he was as manipulative in real life.

I gave this a 3 star.

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