“The Madman’s Daughter” by Megan Shepherd
5 out of 5 stars.
Juliet Moreau is the daughter of a madman, or at least that is what everyone has been telling her since his death. Orphaned and friendless, Juliet has had to learn to take care of herself rather than rely on the people around her. Working as a maid and going about the motions of life have earned Juliet a slight bit of normalcy, and she can now go about her days without men and women whispering behind her back that she was the child of a madman.
But then a shocking discover tears her world apart: her father is alive and is dwelling on a tropical island. Desperate for answers, Juliet seeks out the help of her childhood friend Montgomery who has suddenly reappeared in London; if she had another option, she would take it without hesitation, but Montgomery seems to be her last hope. Setting out on a journey to find her father, Juliet discovers that some secrets, and people, are best left forgotten. To make matters worse, Juliet is now stuck on an island with her mad father and a monster rampaging the island and its inhabitants. Will Juliet make it out alive with her sanity in tact, or is she destined to follow in the footsteps of her mad father?
This book blew my mind. I cannot even describe how impressed I was with this book once I had finished it. I felt that Megan Shepherd did a beautiful job of writing vivid environments like the dreary hopelessness of London during the 1700’s, and a mysterious tropical island where nothing is as it seems. “The Madman’s Daughter” was an amazing story that pulled me completely into its pages, and I loved how fleshed out the characters were. This book was an experience; you need to brew yourself a cup of tea or coffee, and just sit back and enjoy the ride and all the bumps and emotional turmoil that you are put through during its course. Alright, let’s talk about the characters that are in this magnificent book!
Juliet Moreau was a pretty good female character. I enjoyed reading from her point of view, and I really felt bad about all the awful things she had been put through because of other people’s actions. She’s the kind of character that you don’t necessarily relate to, but you feel connected enough to want her to find happiness. I felt her plight and wanted her to break free of her past and all the hurt that plagued her. I wanted her to rise above and prove to everyone that she was worth more than they said she was, and to break free of her father’s madness around and within her; I wanted her to fight back against the evil. Another aspect to Juliet’s character that I liked were her feelings for Montgomery and Edward, the castaway. Megan Shepherd did a really good job of creating a heroine with feeling for two guys that seemed plausible, while not appearing like she was betraying one or the other by having feelings for both of them at the same time; she had residual feeling for Montgomery and new ones for Edward, and was just trying to figure out who she cared about more. Juliet never seemed like a two-face character and I appreciated that. Speaking of boys…
I seriously loved Montgomery in this book. He was just such a strong present character (whenever he was in a scene) that I just loved him (almost) instantly. I also liked the fact that he and Juliet were friends when they were younger because it added a bit more depth to their relationship and it made their feelings for one another more believable. Juliet and Montgomery’s chemistry was great, and their moments together…*sigh*
I really liked how Juliet would have flashbacks to her childhood and you get to see them both as children briefly. Those flashbacks also helped me as a reader to understand why Montgomery was the way he was. He had a lot of secrets in this book that even Juliet doesn’t know about, but he also had an enormously big heart that made me love him even more. It honestly felt like he could’ve been a “real” person, which meant that he had a LOT of flaws, but I just felt that he had/has a lot of potential as a character. Love him!
Edward was also a very intriguing character. He was rescued by the boat Juliet and Montgomery were using to reach her father, and he was kind of the “unknown” in the book. He was a really good character with surprising depth, and I found myself liking him despite my love for Montgomery. Edward has secrets like everyone else on the island, but he was still super nice, and he and Juliet seemed to work well with each other; I look forward to getting to know him a bit more in the next installments in this trilogy.
Megan Shepherd not only did a beautiful job of creating amazing main characters, but she also created a whole unit of really good secondary characters. These characters added layers to “The Madman’s Daughter” that really helped to round this book out so that it became even more real to its readers. My two favorites were Alice and Balthazar. The last thing I want to discuss is what the ending of this book did to me.
The end of this book was heartbreaking! My sister had read “The Madman’s Daughter” before me and she cried a little bit because of how it ended; she even showed me her teardrop on the page once she finished it. After that I knew I HAD to read “The Madman’s Daughter,” and so I got myself a copy from the Library. I got to the end of that book and I cried like a baby.
It was so painfully good and bittersweet that I couldn’t hold the tears back; they were the kind of tears that you don’t notice are falling until they completely blur your vision, and then you have to hastily wiped them away so you can keep reading. Cynthia Hand’s “Boundless” was another book that did this to me. The end of “The Madman’s Daughter” was so satisfying and bittersweet that I could have survived if this was the only book. It ended on a cliffhanger, in a sense, but it also seemed complete. It was the weirdest feeling because I usually don’t like endings like that and I will rant about my dissatisfaction for days. But all I can say is that it was amazing and sad and bittersweet and beautiful.
Everything about this book was AMAZING!