Author: Theodora Goss
Publisher: Saga Press
First Published: 10 July 2018
Rating: 5 stars
“Your way of not bothering looks exactly like bothering, if you ask me.”
This is a sequel, I will try and keep my review as spoiler free as possible but just be wary if you haven’t read the first one.
Mary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson solve the Whitechapel murders. Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Mary’s sister, Diana Hyde, have settled into the Jekyll household in London, and although they sometimes quarrel, the members of the Athena Club get along as well as any five young women with very different personalities. At least they can always rely on Mrs Poole.
But when Mary receives a telegram that Lucinda Van Helsing has been kidnapped, the Athena Club must travel to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rescue yet another young woman who has been subjected to horrific experimentation. Where is Lucinda, and what has Professor Van Helsing being doing to his daughter? Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, Catherine and Justine reach her in time?
Racing against the clock to save Lucinda from certain doom, the Athena Club embarks on a madcap journey across Europe. From Paris to Vienna to Budapest, Mary and her friends must make new allies, face old enemies, and finally confront the fearsome, secretive Alchemical Society. It’s time for these monstrous gentlewomen to overcome the past and create their own destinies
European Travels for the Monstrous Gentlewoman continues on from the events of The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter and I was so glad to be back with these characters. This series is a Victorian-era mystery, fantasy series, which brings together a misfit group of women who are the result of scientific experiments. The girls have formed The Athena Club to create a safe space and home for other girls who are the result of science experiments.
The Athena Club is travelling across Europe to save Lucinda Van Helsing from her father’s experimentation. Dr Van Helsing has hidden is his daughter away and plans to unveil her at the annual Société des Alchimistes conference in Budapest. However, this time the club need to split up as they explore seperate but linked investigation into the society’s activities. Group 1 — comprised of Mary, Diana and Justine — will head to Vienna and trace Lucinda’s whereabouts, while Group 2 — Catherine and Beatrice — to keep on eye of the society’s activities in London.
I mention this in my review of the first book, but I love that the story reminds of TV shows such as Once Upon a Time and Penny Dreadful. You never really know which characters are going to show up next. Goss was able to find a rather interesting take on vampire lore as it occurs as a result of the Société des Alchimistes’ scientific experimentation.
One of my favourite things about this series is the writing style. Not only are the pages filled with lyrical descriptors but the sprinkled throughout is running commentary from Mary, Diana, Beatrice, Catherine and Justine. Each character has a distinct voice. This added commentary invites you in and feels as though you are having a conversation which these characters
In terms of the mystery element, I enjoyed that Sherlock and Dr Watson didn’t play a big part in the story in that respect. It adds to the girl power vide. The girls were the ones to solve how to get to Lucinda with the help of some powerful women.
I am in awe of the way Goss blends together her rag-tag cast of gothic characters. I cannot wait to see which characters pop up in the next book and what the girls are going to do to stop the Société des Alchimistes.