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Friday, 17 February 2012

The Somnamulist

Welcome to my little Niche within the library. So grab a coffee and let's review some books.

The SomnambulistThe Somnambulist by Essie Fox

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In her debut novel, The Somnambulist, author Essie Fox writes a gothic tale about seventeen year-old Phoebe Turner living with a puritanical mother, Maude, whose prude ideas and values motivates her to go about East London engaging in activism, vowing to shut down theatres. Phoebe’s Aunt Cissy, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of Phoebe’s mother - an actress and singer performing at Wilton’s Musical Hall. Aunt Cissy takes Phoebe to Wilton’s Musical Hall often and introduces her to many of her theatrical friends. There, Phoebe meets a mysterious man named Nathanael who will change these three women’s lives forever. Phoebe leaves East End and settles into a house, a mysterious house that just may be haunted. Set in Victorian London, Essie Fox weaves a tale of mystery and suspense in the tradition of The Lady in White and Rebecca. As I began the story, I found it slow but my interest perked up as I turned the pages.

I really enjoyed this story and was quite sorry for the Protogonist's plight. She was lied to since the day she was born. Amongst the issues covered in the book are Anti-Semetism, morality versus immorality, abuse, death, spiritualism and incest. I am fascinated by the Victorian era and chose this book because of this. There has been mixed reviews about this book and some have commented on the Gothic-ness of the book saying the darkness and gore in the Novel is very subtle. However, I found it very dark in places, such as a Gothic Novel should be. The author used several icons and symbolisms in the Novel to set the mood and tone of the Novel such as Ether's gravesite, the docks, the painting by Mallais, Hamman's Bouquet, the frragrance lingering on Cissy's gown of Turkish Bathhouses and sensual musk and the Cave where Pheobie and Joseph had sex without knowledge of the truth behind their 'true' relationship    Althogether, this novel was a good read. Very Well-written.

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