Friday 16 June 2023

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The Fascination by Essie Fox


Orenda Books
22 June 2023

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book
and to Random Things Tours for the invitation to the blog tour

Twin sisters Keziah and Tilly Lovell are identical in every way, except that Tilly hasn't grown a single inch since she was five. Coerced into promoting their father's quack elixir as they tour the country fairgrounds, at the age of fifteen the girls are sold to a mysterious Italian known as ‘Captain’. 

Theo is an orphan, raised by his grandfather, Lord Seabrook, a man who has a dark interest in anatomical freaks and other curiosities … particularly the human kind. Resenting his grandson for his mother’s death in childbirth, when Seabrook remarries and a new heir is produced, Theo is forced to leave home without a penny to his name. 

Theo finds employment in Dr Summerwell’s Museum of Anatomy in London, and here he meets Captain and his theatrical ‘family’ of performers, freaks and outcasts. But it is Theo’s fascination with Tilly and Keziah that will lead all of them into a dark web of deceits, exposing unthinkable secrets and threatening everything they know...

πŸ“– My Review..

The Fascination takes us into the dark underbelly of Victorian England to places which creep into your imagination with sinister intent and yet the story is so imaginatively written that you can’t help but be inextricably drawn into a fascinating world of obsession and deeply troubled secrets.

Twins, Tilly and Keziah Lovell tour the country fairs with their father selling a noxious cure-all which provides a living of sorts however, life isn’t easy for the Lovell’s and there is exploitation along with cruelty. On the surface the twins shouldn’t have anything in common with Theo Seabrook whose sad and lonely childhood marks him out as another misfit and yet their lives entwine in a suspenseful story which captures the imagination right from the very first page.

The sinister and morally corrupt world of Victorian England is brought vividly to life, from the simple pleasure of a country fair, to the macabre exhibits in Dr Summerwell’s Museum of Anatomy in London, there is never a moment when the story-telling falters or fails to plunge you deep into a Victorian world of freaks, misfits and the downright macabre. The rich assortment of shady characters who are such an integral part of the story give us a fascinating glimpse into the shadowy world of Victorian obsession.

Beautifully written, and meticulously researched, The Fascination is Essie Fox writing at her Gothic best, it's definitely one for my Best Books of the Year list.

About the Author

Essie Fox was born and raised in rural Herefordshire, which inspires much of her writing. After studying English Literature at Sheffield University, she moved to London where she worked for the Telegraph Sunday Magazine, and then book publishers George Allen & Unwin, before becoming self-employed in the world of art and design. Essie now spends her time writing historical gothic novels. Her debut, The Somnambulist, was shortlisted for the National Book Awards, and featured on Channel 4’s TV Book Club. The Last Days of Leda Grey, set in the early years of silent film, was selected as The Times Historical Book of the Month. Essie is also the creator of the popular blog: The Virtual Victorian. She has lectured on this era at the V&A, and the National Gallery in London.

Twitter @essiefox #TheFascination




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