The Madman's Daughter by Megan ShepardTo be published by Balzer + Bray on January 29, 2013
Source: ARC giveaway from the publisher at KidLitCon
Plot summary for The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepard
After Juliet's father, a doctor, is publicly disgraced for allegedly carrying out bizarre and cruel medical experiments, he disappears. Then Juliet's mother dies, leaving her alone and penniless, working on a cleaning crew. But when Juliet finds evidence that her father might be alive, she tracks him down to a remote island, where she'll finally have to face the truth.
Review of The Madman's Daughter by Megan ShepardOkay, so the title should have given me a clue that this book is not for the faint of heart!
I don't think the character of Juliet exists in the H. G. Wells original, and she's a brilliant addition to the story. Juliet is first shamed by the discovery of her father's experiments, then orphaned, and falls further and further in society. But when she discovers evidence that her father may actually be alive, Juliet is determined to find him.
The Madman's Daughter is beautifully written and flawlessly plotted. The book doles out clues until the reader -- or at least this reader -- figures out two of the big twists and is squirming in suspense.
In the love and romance department, there was a sort-of love triangle. Juliet feels very close to her father's assistant, Montgomery, whom she's known since childhood, and also to Edward, a handsome shipwreck survivor that she and Montgomery rescue as they sail to her father's island together.
The book's ending was pitch-perfect, with a few last twists that were both wrenching and completely true to the story. But the ending also felt ... final, which got me a little confused, because the back of my ARC said that this The Madman's Daughter is part of a trilogy.
Small warning: if you are extremely squeamish and/or bothered by descriptions of animal cruelty, you might want to tread carefully. There was a point early in the story where I almost stopped reading. I'm really glad I didn't.