The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Madmans jkt Des1.inddBook Title/Author: The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
: Balzer + Bray January 29, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction — with some science fiction-y kind of things (think science experiments)
Series: Yes (totally did know that when I started reading it!)
Other Books From Author: None — her debut!

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I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

At 16 Juliet is an orphan — she works as a maid and every day tries to move past the horrific scandal that drove her father away and left she and her mother penniless and outcasts. She’d heard rumors about her father’s experiments but she wanted to believe her father wasn’t capable of such evil. She has an encounter with a childhood friend who she finds out knows her father’s whereabouts and she begs him to take her to the island where he is apparently working and living so she can get the answers to her questions and learn for herself what he really did that made him flee. When she reaches the remote island, with her childhood friend Montgomery and Edward,a man she found almost drowning to death in the ocean, she is reunited with her father and learns what he’s been doing all this time on a very secluded island. She encounters the work her father has done on this dangerous island in creepy and chilling ways  and learns that  maybe her past is more connected to these secrets than she even knows.



Do you enjoy creepy, Gothic stories that are completely atmospheric? Do you like some mystery mixed with an intriguing dash of science fiction? Looking for something DIFFERENT? These were all the things that I found myself raving about when it came to this book!

I am a sucker for Gothic novels and historical fiction that just get the setting right and that feel of place and time pervaded the novel whether we were in London or on the island. I could feel the chill as Juliet walked through the streets of London and I could feel the muggy, wild air of the tropical island so full of danger.  As Juliet travels from London to be reunited with her father, there was just this continually heightened sense of mystery — why did her father have to run from? What had he been doing? What was UP with some of the things on the island? I felt such danger and KNEW that something was off and that the experiments he was doing on the island were definitely creepy and messed up and then bodies started piling up. I had this smothering feeling and just wanted Juliet to GET OFF THE ISLAND with Montgomery and Edward. It was beyond creepy and Megan Shepherd did an amazing job bringing this island and its mysteries to life. I shudder picturing the island and what her monster of a father has been doing there — the creepy experiment-made people, the shocking secrets he’s kept and brought with him to the island. I’m telling you, this story has things that will give you the creepy crawlies under your skin. For the most part, I flew through it, though there were some slower parts!

I’ll be honest though, despite how GREAT I thought this book was, there is one thing of note that I wished had been different to make this a PERFECT novel for me.  It’s probably just a personal preference but there was some romance going on, and that’s fine, but I was MUCH more interested in the creepy things that were happening and the mysteries of the island. Sure, I found myself fawning over Montgomery and quite intrigued by Edward but I kept thinking MORE CREEP, LESS LOVE! And this has nothing to do with Megan  Shepherd’s ability to create compelling love interests or weave it intricately into the story.  I mean you KNOW I love my kissing and romance but I just wanted more of the creepy things because Megan Shepherd was spinning this compelling mystery with the island and her father and I just couldn’t get enough! And at some times it seemed Juliet was more concerned with the boys rather than THE CRAZY EFFING THINGS HAPPENING AROUND HERE.

There were some remarkable twists and I just never knew quite what to expect in this breathtaking story. I felt like I had a hunch about things but I never was quite sure. AND THE ENDING. The sort of mouth-gaping-open-OMG-Ican’t-believe-that-just-happened sort of ending. OH MAN. I am desperate for book 2!

The Madman’s Daughter was perfectly dark and creepy — the sort of Gothic, atmospheric story I love. From the very beginning, I was drawn into Juliet’s story of being abandoned by her scientist father who had disappeared after being accused of doing horrible experiments. As the story progressed I was fascinated with Juliet’s time on the island and sufficiently creeped out by what was going on there with her crazy father and sweaty-palmed thanks to all the twists and turns and shocking revelations. What a compelling story! My only minor hangup was that the romance was such a big part of the story but I just wanted more of the other elements that made this story so good despite the ease there was to fall in love with both Montgomery and Edward.

A bit of a warning though: I know some people are sensitive about any sort of animal cruelty and experimentation so you should know that there is some of that in here considering the father is a mad scientist basically.

For Fans  Of: dark and creepy stories, historical fiction with a little science fiction elements (think: science experiements), Gothic novels, a good mystery

Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd


Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? Heard of it? If you’ve read it, what were some of your thoughts? Like/Dislike? Was Juliet’s dad not the creepiest person you’ve read about in a while?? Which boy did you love more — Montgomery or Edward?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I was actually going to pass on this one. While I Do like dark and edgy, I’m not a big fan of historical settings. It’s funny you say you want less romance…. I must say that this now sells the book for me 🙂

  2. I am so excited to read this book! I loved the creepiness of the synopsis, so I’m so glad that the book is ACTUALLY creepy!

  3. This review is great! It pretty much sums up everything that I’ve been looking for in a book. I agree with the romance aspect as possibly taking away from the plot (even though I haven’t read the book). You don’t necessarily want to do it just for the sake of doing it, you know? But I’m extremely excited 😀

  4. I loved this one as well! I think I prefer Montgomery over Edward, but mostly because who’s I’d like best if I were in Juliet’s shoes. They’ve got history!

    Such a great debut and I’m anxiously awaiting book two!

  5. I really want to read this book. I need more creepy books in my life.

  6. I’m definitely looking forward to reading this one. It sounds really creepy, which is the perfect book for me, although I’m interested to see you say that you wanted less romance in this one! Although with all the creep going on, I can see why you wouldn’t want it taking away from the plot. Great review!

  7. I want to read this book so very badly. It seems to be different from what I usually read, but it looks really good and I feel like I just HAVE to get my hands on it somehow. It’s awesome that the author does such a great job of doing the creepy stuff that you just wanted to read more of it, and less romance. That’s not something I see very often! Great review!

  8. I totally agree – I wished there was a little less romance because I think it was a bit distracting from the creepy (which was so creepy!) – I didn’t care for the love triangle 😛 BUT the creepy was awesome for sure.
    Great review! I can tell you really liked it!

  9. I’m seriously intrigued by this book, and have been ever since I first heard of it (via Epic Reads). It sounds all kinds of creepy and weird and intense to me – and sometimes, when done well, that’s exactly what I want to be reading. I can’t wait to start reading this!

  10. I love gothic style novels and books that give me the creeps so I definitely need to get to this novel sooner rather than later!

  11. Haha, I love your review. After reading The Diviners, I’ve been wanting me creepy stories. I’m the biggest wimp on the planet when it comes to stuff like that, but whatever. Everyone likes a thrill from time to time! I’m really interested in the gothic elements; I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like that. Ahh. So many good books this year.

  12. I love creepy, gothic books and am really excited for this one. I’ve been hearing so much talk around it! But I had no idea that it was part of a series. I want to read this more to see where Shepherd takes the story that will make it a series. Great review, I am disappointed to hear that the romance overtakes the story at times though.

  13. Great review.

    This book was a great read. Very well crafted and just a lot of creepy fun. I know it’s still very early in the year, but so far it’s my fave of 2013. 😉

  14. My copy arrived today (been waiting ages, blerg) and your review makes me want to read it now. Once I’ve finished Code Name Verity this is next. Big fan of creepy stories, though interested in what you say about the romance as that was what made me most wary in the synopsis. Still creepy Gothic historical story on a tropical island? Yay!

  15. Definitely creeped out by this one. UGH, the animal parts were infuriating. I KNOW, it’s just a book. DO NOT CARE. Save the fictional animals.

  16. This book sounds so good and I’m glad you liked it! I’ll probably be with you in wanting more creepy instead of the romance, but I’m sure I’ll still love it. 🙂

  17. Great Review Jamie! I just reviewed this one too and i have to say I completely agree with you on the romance! I mean I did LOVE this book and i completely fan girled over Montgomery but at times I was like I need more action! Haha, but it really was just such a great book and I can’t wait for book two (I MEAN THAT ENDING!)
    Lily @ lilysbookblog

  18. Totally not just you. This book would have been perfect, either if it had no romance, or if there had been more time spent on character development so that you actually CARED about it. Because, much as I’m not a horror fan, I was ready for the cheesy, stereotypical love triangle to stop and the scary things to start.

    I will say, though, that the ending was really interesting and I was NOT expecting her to go that way. Depending on what actually happened right after, she might have made me okay with the romance, but I don’t know. TIME WILL TELL.

  19. Too bad that there wasn’t enough creep-factor for you! (But it’s fabulous that the creepiness Shepherd did include was so great.) I honestly think I missed the memo that this was a gothic, dark/twisty novel. I thought it was kind of like The Tempest—girl stuck on island, dude washes up, girl falls in love with dude. Ugh, I need to pay more attention, obviously!

  20. I’m totally with you on the romance. I liked it well enough, but I would have preferred if it was a little more downplayed. Especially the love triangle aspect. Edward seemed rather unnecessary for the romance, in my opinion.

  21. I’m really intrigued by this book! I love the cover and think the synopsis sounds so different from anything else I’ve read. I love things that are new and exciting! I’ll definitely be reading this at some point 🙂

  22. I was surprised, actually, at how much I LOVED this book, Jamie! Ugh, and I need the sequel. Like yesterday!

    – Ava

  23. I’ve been hearing a lot of great things about this book! It sounds interesting! Great review! I want to pick them up and read (when free time permits)

  24. I have to say, you summed up my thoughts about The Madman’s Daughter pretty well. If it was any better, I’d probably go and order all the stock of the book I can find anywhere and hand it out like candy so everyone could read it. I agree with how Edward, in the end, seemed so much more creepier as the ending neared, but thought the ending was a bit sudden and mildly unsatisfying. (But the rest of the book was bloody fantastic.) I NEED THE SEQUEL ASAP.

  25. This is one I still need to read! I’ve heard so much about it and I love the covers. Must get to this one soon.


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