Friday, March 28, 2014

Gothic Pick: Her Dark Curiosity

Her Dark Curiosity
by Megan Shepherd
Balzar + Bray
420 pages
ISBN: 9780062128058

Her Dark Curiosity is a sublime retelling of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is compelling and hypnotic, rife with Gothic lore and brutal rage. Juliet Moreau is a complex individual, not a mere pawn of men but an intelligent strategist who outplays  the brightest minds of her day.

Having escaped her father's creepy island and its beasts (The Madman's Daughter,  Juliet is now back in London, but her sickness is getting worse and she fears that if she doesn't find a cure soon, she may die. She pines for lost love Montgomery who set her adrift at sea and she dreams of seeing him again.

She is living with a kind guardian who is an old friend of her father when she hears news that a murderer is on the loose. Four murders have occurred and as Juliet digs deeper, she realizes she knew all four victims personally. Someone is murdering those individuals who have wronged Juliet, and she's afraid of the truth. Could Edward Prince have escaped the island? Is he living and killing for her  in London?

Who was Juliet's father writing in London? Juliet needs to find out who has been funding her father's research. She finds herself helping a murderer, but she also  knows his humanity and kindness. Her heart is torn between two men, and she is struggling to solve the many mysteries of her father's macabre and twisted legacy.

Readers will empathize with Juliet, a girl with no family and no future. She has little opportunity for a wonderful life. Because of the sins of her father, her family name is considered a crime against humanity.

Beautiful cover art promises a Gothic romance. The young girl in a flowing gown seems sad and brooding. The gray sky and stone bridge also feel foreboding and Gothic. Red letters of the title stand out like blood against the sky. This is one of the most beautiful covers in YA fiction in recent memory. Her Dark Curiosity is a brilliant second offering of the reworked classic tale.

Highly, highly recommended grade 7-up with this caution: Juliet does sleep with Edward and he worries that she may "be with child," but no graphic details are mentioned. No profanity. Some gore.

FTC Required Disclaimer; I purchased this book for my library. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


  1. Would you also recommend the first novel to middle school?

    I read the first one, and although I didn't like the book myself, I was still on the fence about recommending it grades 6 - 8.

  2. I have it in my middle school library. I loved the book and this one is even better. I can't wait for book 3. Some grade 6 students might not like it, but they probably would never check it out. The first book has been checked out only by grade 8 girls so far.