The Nature of Monsters

The Nature of Monsters

3.15 (1,523 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

1666: The Great Fire of London sweeps through the streets and a heavily pregnant woman flees the flames. A few months later she gives birth to a child disfigured by a red birthmark.1718: Sixteen-year-old Eliza Tally sees the gleaming dome of St. Paul's Cathedral rising above a rebuilt city. She arrives as an apothecary's maid, a position hastily arranged to shield the father of her unborn child from scandal. But why is the apothecary so eager to welcome her when he already has a maid, a half-wit named Mary? Why is Eliza never allowed to look her veiled master in the face or go into the study where he pursues his experiments? It is only on her visits to the Huguenot bookseller who supplies her master's scientific tomes that she realizes the nature of his obsession. And she knows she has to act to save not just the child but Mary and herself.With exquisite prose, dark humor, and a historian's eye for detail, Clare Clark has created another transporting novel.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 382 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 33.02mm | 748.42g
  • HOUGHTON MIFFLIN
  • United States
  • English
  • 0151012067
  • 9780151012060
  • 2,090,191

Review quote

PRAISE FOR THE GREAT STINK"In rich Dickensian detail, Clark creates the whole city teeming with life and decay . . . It's a gripping exploration of the unmentionable currents that run beneath the surface of our lives--and it reeks of talent."--THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD"A crackerjack historical novel that combines the creepy intrigue of Caleb Carr, the sensory overload of Peter Ackroyd and the academic curiosity of A. S. Byatt."--LOS ANGELES TIMES
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Back cover copy

MAIN SELECTION, BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB
FEATURED ALTERNATE SELECTION, QUALITY PAPERBACK BOOK CLUB and DOUBLEDAY BOOK CLUB
PRAISE FOR "THE GREAT STINK"
"In rich Dickensian detail, Clark creates the whole city teeming with life and decay, but she keeps the focus on a few fascinating characters in desperate straits . . . it's a rich work of history and a gripping exploration of the unmentionable currents that run beneath the surface of our lives--and it reeks of talent."--"The Washington Post Book World" (Best Book of the Year)
""The Great Stink "is a crackerjack historical novel that combines the creepy intrigue of Caleb Carr, the sensory overload of Peter Ackroyd and the academic curiosity of A.S. Byatt."--"Los Angeles Times"
"A captivating historical thriller."--"People" (4 stars)
"Clark's triumph is that she makes us see and smell everything we politely pretend not to, and she even manages to give the miasma its own kind of beauty . . . the book is literally breathtaking."--"The New York Times Book Review" (Editor's Choice)
"Here's a talent to watch." -"The Seattle Times
"
"An efficient blend of limpid storytelling, psychological acumen and Dickensian sympathy for the underdog, this fine first novel brings Victorian London to life . . . With prose this inviting and this sleek, gentle reader, you'll want to dive right in." --"The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"
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Flap copy

"Clare Clark writes with the eyes of a historian and the soul of a novelist." - Amanda Foreman, author of "Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire
"
1666: The Great Fire of London sweeps through the streets and a heavily pregnant woman flees the flames. A few months later she gives birth to a child disfigured by a red birthmark--and no wonder, since everyone knows that mothers who do not protect themselves from shocking sights could turn their unborn children into monsters.
1718: Sixteen-year-old Eliza Tally sees the gleaming dome of St. Paul's Cathedral rising above a rebuilt city. She arrives as an apothecary's maid, a position hastily arranged to shield the father of her unborn child-a wealthy merchant's son--from scandal. But why is the apothecary so eager to welcome her when he already has a maid, a half-wit named Mary? Why is she never allowed to look her veiled master in the face or go into the study where he pursues his experiments? And why is she having terrifyingly vivid dreams of ferocious dogs, her greatest fear?
On one of her visits to the friendly Huguenot bookseller who keeps the apothecary supplied with scientific tomes, she finally realizes the nature of her master's obsession. And when she learns that Mary too is pregnant, she knows she has to act to save not just the child but Mary and herself.
From the highly acclaimed author of "The Great Stink" comes a consuming, passionate, darkly humorous tale set amid the clamor and chaos of eighteenth-century London.
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Rating details

1,523 ratings
3.15 out of 5 stars
5 10% (154)
4 29% (435)
3 36% (546)
2 17% (262)
1 8% (126)
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