April 17, 2013

Book Review : A Treacherous Likeness by Lynn Shepherd

5/5 Stars

A Treacherous Likeness tells the story of the long-dead poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, his wife Mary, his first wife, Harriet, his friendships, and his writing all while interwoven with mystery, deceit and murder. For this reader, welcoming back a grown, more self-assured Charles Maddox was a great pleasure and I must admit, I found him more realistic and tangible, yes tangible this time.

Maddox is drawn into a scheme of blackmail at the instigation of Jane Shelley, the wife of Percy Shelley, the only living child of Bysshe and Mary. What develops from this meeting held my interest in its vice like grasp until the very last page. Initially, I was a little uncertain about reading A Treacherous Likeness as Shepherd is a twitter “friend”. What if I didn’t like the book. What if I were only able to give a low star rating. What if I gave and wrote a poor review and got a nasty email asking me whom I was to criticise when my own work has yet to be published. Why were these even considerations you ask? Because that is what happened with another twitter “friend” whose book really was only worth the 1 star I gave it. I decided after 6 pages none of these things mattered. The review was my own and I realised I am entitled to read and like or dislike a book as I please.

A Treacherous Likeness, however, was impossible to not like. I truly loved it.

What is obvious from the first paragraph is the relationship Shepherd has with her characters. Reading the first few chapters it is abundantly clear she knows them inside and out; even knows specifically what they look like.

It is also obvious that Shepherd has done her homework. The research that comprises this book is amazing. All the elements were perfectly placed and I found myself just reading the book for what was going to happen – there was no concern that the information was incorrect or flawed or misleading. I realise, though, there are other readers who have taken issue with Shepherd’s portrayal of the Shelley family and the world they created for themselves and I can see the crooked finger of accusation being levelled at me, because I am guilty of wanting my history and my fiction to be pure. What one learns, over time, is that history is never pure and the tarnish of the past will always appear on the fiction.

I cannot speak highly enough of this book. As I tweeted Lynn “this book has melted my brain.” Please read it. You won’t regret it and if you do, don’t tell me cause I am still savouring the way this book made my imagination feel.

No comments:

Post a Comment