The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

August 3rd, 2017 Kimberly Review 59 Comments

3rd Aug
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss
The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
by Theodora Goss
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Narrator: Kate Reading
Length: 13 hours and 39 minutes
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Historical
Source: Publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
Goodreads
Narration Rating: 5
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders—and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture… a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes.

But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.

When their investigations lead them to the discovery of a secret society of immoral and power-crazed scientists, the horrors of their past return. Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.

historical MURDERMYSTERY smartfunny UNIQUE

THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER written by Theodora Goss and narrated by Kate Reading was an addictive story featuring the daughters of some of Literature’s most famous science fiction and horror characters. Mystery, humor, and twists aplenty make this a worthy listen.

THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER was a delightful mash-up involving characters from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Sherlock Holmes, Rappacini’s Daughter, The Island of Dr. Moreau, Frankenstein, and Dracula. It was clever from its delivery to the author’s reinvention of events that occurred. While I have read all of the fore mentioned classics, it is not necessary to have read them. I think most have a vague knowledge of them.

Mary Jekyll’s mother has past leaving her in a financial pickle. A request from their solicitor leads her to discover she has a sister.  Notes found in her mother’s desk suggest that the mysterious Mr. Hyde may be alive and in the area. Thinking she might be able to collect the reward money offered she sets out to find him and thus begins our adventure.

Mary enlists the aid of Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson. Gruesome murders in the Chapel Hill area and her father’s notes soon have her hunting down more clues. Along the way, Mary encounters Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein. She, of course, offers these women an escape from their circumstances and before you know it, they are aiding her in the investigation. Her once empty home is becoming quite full, much to the chagrin of her housekeeper. As she learns their stories, she discovers a secret organization performing ghastly deeds in the name of scientific discovery.

This motley crew of ladies or as they refer to themselves, “monsters” were delightful. First, we have Diana Hyde a boisterous fourteen-year-old who is sure to eat Mary out of house and home. Then there is Beatrice Rappaccini whose breath and touch are deadly. Catherine Moreau is a female with unusual cat-like characteristics and Justine Frankenstein an unusually tall woman with a gentle quality rounds out the group. I loved their conversations and how each contributed to the investigation. It was delightful watching them form a sort of family. They eventually name themselves the Athena Club. I for one am hoping for more adventures with them.

The stories delivery was brilliant. Mary is writing a book, and each contributes their story. Mary reads to them what she has written, and they add comments or make suggestions. Instead of editing, she writes these in as footnotes and sometimes they are hilarious. I was worried at first that this might be too much for audio, but it worked splendidly. Often the pages are directly related to their investigation.

I feel Goss captured each of these characters and her take on the classics from which they came felt genuine, lending an air of authenticity to the tale. Through Mary, she even advises the reader of certain misconceptions or misinformation found in the classic stories themselves. For example, Dr. Frankstein did not kill the bride of Frankenstein before breathing life into her, as is evident by Justine herself. All of these tidbits of information were fascinating.

The tale is a mix of macabre, mystery and delightful humor that comes from the ladies banter amongst themselves. More than once I burst out laughing. Their voices felt genuine, and Kate Reading captured each of their unique personalities. As I listened, each character was easily recognizable from Sherlock to Diana.

From its interactive style to its quirky characters and suspenseful mystery THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER was a memorable tale that fed my inner nerd.

THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST'S DAUGHTER was a brilliant tale that fed my inner nerd. Click To Tweet

About Theodora Goss

Theodora Goss

Theodora Goss’s publications include the short story collection In the Forest of Forgetting (2006); Interfictions (2007), a short story anthology coedited with Delia Sherman; Voices from Fairyland (2008), a poetry anthology with critical essays and a selection of her own poems; and The Thorn and the Blossom (2012), a two-sided novella in an accordion format. She has been a finalist for the Nebula, Crawford, Locus, and Mythopoeic Awards, and on the Tiptree Award Honor List. She has won the World Fantasy and Rhysling Awards.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Photo of kimbacaffeinate
About Kimberly

Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She’s a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat…Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Stay Caffeinated!

Never miss a post by adding Caffeinated to your Inbox

Your email address will not be shared with anyone

59 Responses to “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss”

  1. ShootingStarsMag

    I SO want to read this one – so I’m really glad to hear you loved it. I don’t know ALL of the original stories, but I’ve read most of them (or know enough about them) that I think I’d be able to follow. 🙂

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted: Barrel Proof by Layla Reyne
  2. czai

    well this sounds like a fantastic mash-up of classics. I saw this on the bookstore a couple of weeks back and I LOVE that cover. now I’m sooo into getting my hands on a copy!

    czai recently posted: [REVIEW] A Man Called Ove
  3. Braine

    Ooh I would love this! A successful goth mash-up from the looks of it. Darn it, I miss Penny Dreadful!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was the banter between the ladies that added the humorous moments Heidi. Combined with the mystery and cast of characters it was addictive.

  4. Tyler H. Jolley

    Wow, Goss truly took the yarn from completely different places and together weaved an incredible story. Impressive. The outlining on this must have taken months. Bravo.

  5. Lark

    I requested this from NetGalley because it sounded so intriguing, and because Ms. Goss was one of Robin’s teachers at the Alpha Writing Workshop for teens.Unfortunately, I never heard back from the publisher. But now that I’ve read your review, I’m even more eager to read it, so I’ll be requesting that my library get a copy — and maybe the audio as well. And I’ll definitely make sure Robin gets a copy!

  6. Katherine

    What a mix of iconic characters! This seems like the kind of book that could be amazing or meh and I’m glad to hear that the execution lived up to the premise! I definitely need to read this one!

    Katherine recently posted: The Escape - Historical Romance