I started August with a historical fiction, and I decided to end the month with another. Summer has ended and Autumn has arrived quite dramatically here in the UK. It felt like a good time for Victorian, mystery The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts.
We are taken back to 1885. Where we awake with Lady Anne. Who is shocked to find herself upon a straw mattress, covered by a thin blanket, in a small cell like room. Far from the usual luxury of her family’s country estate. Anne believes she must have been kidnapped. In fact she has been committed to Bethlem Royal Hospital, an asylum, to receive treatment after the horrific death of her baby son.
Anne begins to receive treatment and is supported by hospital staff and family. More details and secrets are exposed as we see the story from different perspectives. These include Anne, her father, her husband Edgar, her lady’s maid Beatrix, and Dr Savage. A more dislikeable group of characters I don’t believe I have ever met. They are rude, selfish, misogynistic and lie all the time! They even lie in their own thoughts which only the reader is party to. Of course this meant the mystery and tension was built for me, because I never knew what to believe. Rather surreal technique though.
Rachel Florence Roberts is a new author for me. I have to acknowledge that Roberts has tried hard to research and use facts to help create the Victorian world her characters inhabit. Going as far as reading notes from a doctor of the period to base Dr Savages work on. I liked the setting and while we were in the asylum I totally believed in this world. Outside of the asylum though there were several times where words, phrases and objects were included which I didn’t think were appropriate for the time period. This jarred me out of the story. Fortunately the mystery, pace and shocking revelations were enough to keep me reading.
The Medea Complex was a quick and shocking read for me. You might enjoy it if you like psychological mysteries. Okay read.
Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
Have you read this? Read any other books set in an asylum?