Book Review – A Fatal Likeness

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Title: A Fatal Likeness (Charles Maddox 2)

Author: Lynn Sheperd

Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction

Length: 384

Rating: 2.5 Star (Rounded up to 3)

Description/Synopsis:

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.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I got this book from the author or someone associated with publishing the book on NetGalley. I am a bit ashamed to say that though I recieved this book before the publication date which was 20-08-13 for an honest review, that date has come and gone. I appologize for the lateness of this review, but I spose I will let myself off the hook by saying better late than never. So, finally, here is my review.

This story is fictioned based on real people and events, which isn’t normally something I would go for when lookig for something to read. I have to say that the cover and the title are the main things that peaked my interest about the book, specially as by the time I started reading it I had no idea what kind of book it was. I know, and still really don’t know, anything about the topic or the people, so Im going to be doing most of the review in the context that it is all pure fiction because thats what it mostly was to me. I also didn’t realise that this is was a second book in a series until I looked it up on Goodreads. Though I can see how story came before this one, I didn’t feel like I was really missing out on things that may have come before, and I don’t think it will effect anyone to read it just by itself like I did.

Ok first I guess I shall talk about the structure of the book. I don’t know if it was because of how it was written (the style is like pride and prejudice) or because I had to keep putting it down, but I found myself being seriously lost at some points, totally confused as to what on earth I was reading. At first I had serious issues with names. a lot of people are introduced and I had difficulties keeping up with who was who and who wanted what and who was responsible for things and blaaahhhh. I actually got really furious at section because I just had zero idea what was going on, ande It wasn’t supposed ot be that confusing. I almost just totally gave up on the book and never picked it up again, only the fact that I said I would reviewit and that I missed the date kept me going. I have to say that I amn kind of glad that I did, I enjoyed it far more towards the end when I had more time to read larger sections and things began to make more sense. I feel like I have to go back an reread the book again to fully what was going on all the time, but If I hadn’t been so confused at sections it very well could have gotten a better rating.

In terms of characters I felt myself get caught up in their concerns and theories to what on earth happened and why people care (something I didn’t really do al that much, it took me ages to  really be concerned as to why we were even being told this story). However, on the indivudual character basis I didn’t really care about any of them. I felt storry for the ones that died, and I thought the main character was a bloody idiot to not notice that someone working for him was pregnant and thusly ended up dying when things went bad. For someone who is supposed to notice and connect things for a living, it just blew my mind that he could be that stupid and blind to things going on in his own house.

For the overal theme and plot, if you look passed that for a good part I didn’t get why the story was being told, and that I was greatly confused for sections, I actually got pretty hooke don what was happening towards the end. When people started dying or when deaths started getting looked into I was much more interested.

Then at the end of the book there was authors notes on where the facts came from and what was altered and so on. I found this was helpful in clearing up some sections which I became lost in. It was a good summary I thought, but I only took it with a grain of salt. I wouldnt consider all the things said good facts unless I wanted to read up on them myself.

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