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Our Hideous Progeny: A thrilling Gothic Adventure

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ZTS2023
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Absolutely fantastic news today: my debut novel, the Frankenstein-inspired paleontological gothic OUR HIDEOUS PROGENY, has been acquired by Kirsty Dunseath at Doubleday! Read the full press release here! Ha, great question! Even though it may feel a little bit like cheating, I find that one surefire way to push past my own doubts about a project and find motivation to write is to talk about my ideas with others. As you point out, when I first came up There are villains in this story, but no heroes; heroines instead take their place, in the form of Mary, and her poorly, gentle sister-in-law Maisie. This book takes a look at the society and politics of the time; of the disparities between class, gender and race, and refuses to make apologies for the way things once were; instead giving us characters who question and rebel at the time, though who understand the limits of such action. I loved every second of this! It’s such an electrifyingly creative and wholly original take on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and I genuinely couldn’t put it down.

A wonderfully rich, emotionally engaging tale with the flavour and appeal of a great 19th-century novel. Guardian Characters: They definitely weren’t all lovable, bu they were real. Mary was so witty and easy to root for, Henry was INFURIATING, and Maisie was super sweet (plus that chronic illness rep!!) A very tightly-written creative spin off of the tale of Frankenstein that beautifully captures the themes in the original, while adding more that will delight readers of historical fiction. Without a doubt, this is one of my favourite reads of the year. FANTASYBOOKCRITIC.COMThis is no typical revisiting of Shelley’s iconic tale…This is a post-Gothic treat, an enjoyably moody, fog-drenched fictional commemoration of women in science.” When Mary - a scientist struggling to make her mark in 1850s London - discovers journals belonging to her great-uncle, Victor Frankenstein, she embarks on what might be the greatest adventure of all....

I suppose that is why it often makes me sad to read about history, or even natural history, as you do; I cannot help but think of everyone whose tale cannot fit in one book, those poor creatures who remain lost or forgotten. Do you think that one day, some Mary of the future will sketch our bones and wonder what we might have been in life?” Perhaps I am meant to drown after all. But if I do, then at least it will have been by my own hand.” Fans of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and historical horror with a queer feminist twist will not be disappointed. VERDICT In this immersive, richly detailed novel, Mary is an enthralling heroine with whom readers will empathize, and owing to assured, luscious prose, whose plight they will champion." — Library Journal(starred review) The pacing of this novel did the story a huge disservice. While I enjoy a well done atmospheric ‘vibes over plot’ storyline, I still require thematic contemplation to occupy my mind. Almost 60% of this book was dedicated to simple day-to-day recounting. Various scientific presentations, diner parties, conversations occur to hound in the fact that the 19th century was deeply misogynistic and racist. I did not need that many chapters to explain to me why exactly Mary was so angry.

See a Problem?

If you like books that are thrilling but not overly scary. I would put this in the realm with The Memoirs of Lady Trent series. I think the main problem is that I went into this story expecting something that it was not. Frankenstein as a character is deeply unlikable, morally ambiguous and his descent into madness is fascinating to read about. Mary, however, is meant to be likable. She has a strong head on her shoulders and the reader is supposed to sympathize with the hardships she faces. And unfortunately that does not make her very interesting to me considering this is a gothic novel. I wanted to root for an unhinged female character who was difficult to defend. I wanted so much more gritty darkness than what we got.

The writing is lush and beautifully atmospheric, as intricately woven as the stitches that adorn the eponymous ‘creature’, which I felt definitely showcases the gothic/horror genre to perfection!Darkly brilliant and sumptuously gothic, this atmospheric debut left me reeling." — C. J. Cooke, author of The Lighthouse Witches

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