I’m so happy to be a part of the blog tour for THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER by Theodora Goss! See below for information about the book and author, and for a guest post she wrote for my blog!
ABOUT THE STRANGE CASE OF THE ALCHEMIST’S DAUGHTER:
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.
ABOUT 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.
Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein. These are the main characters of my novel The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter. Mary is the daughter of the respectable chemist Dr. Jekyll. Diana is the daughter of the despicable Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll’s former laboratory assistant and a wanted murderer. As she was growing up, Beatrice tended her father Dr. Rappaccini’s poisonous garden, which made her, too, poisonous. Her breath can kill, and her touch burns. Catherine Moreau was created by Dr. Moreau on his secret island, where he performed experiments in vivisection that turned animals into human beings. She was once a puma, and she still has fangs. Justine worked as a respectable maid in the household of the Frankensteins, until she was unjustly hanged for murder and Victor Frankenstein reanimated her corpse so she could become the bride of his monster. You might recognize some of these characters: Beatrice Rappaccini comes from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” and there is a Puma Woman in H.G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau, although Wells never gives her a name–that’s my addition. Justine is hanged in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but we don’t know where Victor got the corpse he intends to turn into the monster’s bride, and anyway he never creates her: afraid that she and the monster might reproduce, he throws her body parts into the sea. Mary and Diana–well, I made them up, although they draw on elements from the stories and novels of the late nineteenth century. They’re not in Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but they could be . . .
Why did I write about these particular characters, in these particular books? I’ve always loved books about monsters. Some of the greatest literary characters are monsters: Dracula, Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein’s reanimated creation. But these monsters tend to be male. While I was writing a doctoral dissertation on late Victorian gothic fiction, I realized that many of the famous mad scientists of literature also create female monsters, but these monsters are destroyed before they can tell their own stories. Unlike Dr. Jekyll or Frankenstein’s monster, they don’t get to speak. Beatrice dies of what is supposed to be an antidote to her poison, the Puma Woman kills Dr. Moreau but is herself shot dead, and the Bride of Frankenstein only exists in movie versions. I wanted to write about the female monsters in these books–I wanted to hear their voices, get their perspectives. Where the book didn’t contain a female monster, I gave it one. In my novel, Mary, Diana, Beatrice, Catherine, and Justine find each other and join together to solve a series of gruesome murders. Like any group of female friends, they don’t always get along, but eventually they learn to like and respect one another. I wrote about these books because I have a deep and abiding love for them–my novel is in part a thank-you note to writers like Shelley, Stevenson, and Wells, who have given me so much pleasure. But I also wanted to talk back to them, to say, Look, here are your female monsters, alive and having a conversation. Aren’t they amazing?
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