Summary (from Goodreads):
“In the darkest places, even love is deadly.
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.
Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.
Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.”
I loved this book immediately. Juliet is incredibly smart but because of (a) who her father is and (b) the time in which she lived (and, because of that time, the fact that she’s a girl), she’s only allowed to pursue a few select careers. Because of who her dad is, she has to work as a maid even though she’s incredibly smart.
I felt a sense of unease almost immediately in this book (I hadn’t read The Island of Dr. Moreau or seen the movie but I’d heard enough to know that her dad was up to no good whatsoever) and once Juliet, Montgomery and Edward get to the island, the tension ratcheted up incredibly quickly.
I’ve heard complaints that the book is boring, but I found it incredibly compelling. No, not every page is full of nonstop action or gross medical stuff or mortal danger, but sometimes there needs to be a little thing called “character development” so that you care about the people in the book. And I did love Juliet. I wasn’t thrilled with either Montgomery or Edward (and we won’t even talk about her dad), which meant that the love triangle didn’t do as much for me as it probably could have.
Another big complaint is that Juliet is kind of wishy-washy. But let’s be fair here: she lived in a time where girls weren’t educated and where even bare ankles were a big no-no. The most important thing for her was to be proper. And you know nobody ever asked her what she thought about anything. So she probably wasn’t even used to deciding things for herself—how many times do you think she was allowed to?