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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts
Set in the nineteenth century, based on a true story and real life characters of the time, The Medea Complex covers genres from an historical psychological thriller leading to an historical mystery thriller. The story holds a fascinating rawness and realistic storyline, following a new mother and her mental state since the birth of her child, how she reacts and copes to...
Published 2 months ago by Caroline

versus
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good premise, but at odds with the writing
I would have enjoyed this more but like other reviewers, was getting irritated with the jarring grammar. In some instances the dialogue was like a present-day story and in others quite pedantic so I was rather confused at times. My main beef was the mis-use of the word who with whom and the use of OK - although it was probably in use in the US in the late 1800s, I doubt...
Published 10 months ago by bookworm


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts, 21 Aug 2014
By 
Caroline (England, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Medea Complex (Paperback)
Set in the nineteenth century, based on a true story and real life characters of the time, The Medea Complex covers genres from an historical psychological thriller leading to an historical mystery thriller. The story holds a fascinating rawness and realistic storyline, following a new mother and her mental state since the birth of her child, how she reacts and copes to treatments and the people surrounding her and leaves the reader wondering if her husband remained in love with her or sought revenge for the situation she has left him in.

After killing her young infant son, Lady Anne Stanbury is committed to Bethlehem Hospital, deemed insane and therefore escapes the legal procedure of being sentenced (if found guilty). Anne is confused and believes she is being held for ransom by criminals as she cannot remember anything in regard to her husband and deceased child. And during this time the reader has an insight into how Anne is treated at the hospital by it’s members of staff.

The story opens up very dark, moody and a little depressing considering the main focus on a woman unable to cope with her young to the point she ends his life and ultimately is losing her mind. And yet, the author has made it so gripping and intense that it draws the reader in, making it such a pleasure to read. It is informative of the time, well-researched and yet written for a reader to follow the characters and storyline with ease, leaving a desire to read more.

Another area that intrigued me was the way in which the author tells the story from many perspectives; Lady Anne, Doctor George Savage, Edgar Stanbury (Anne’s husband), Lord Damsbridge (Anne’s father) and Beatrix Fortier (Anne’s maid and companion). This allows the reader to understand and perhaps empathise with the characters, their mindset and their actions.

Once the reader is aware of the situation that Lady Anne Stanbury is in the story goes on to focus on the many conflicts that all of the characters battle. Initially we are aware that Anne has conflicting memories and confusion of where she is, why she is there and what she remembers before entering the Bethlehem Hospital.

Doctor Savage is trying his best to carry out his work on the hope of curing Anne, whilst using the occasional method that Lord Damsbridge, Anne’s father, doesn’t approve of for his daughter. However, Lord Damsbridge funds the hospital thousands of pounds and wants his daughter treated in a specific manner. He can be a little threatening towards Doctor Savage, leaving the doctor the option to either follow or disobey his orders.

I love this maze of objectives and emotion that Rachel Florence Roberts has weaved into the story. It makes the story in many ways have more than one central character, bringing the reader close to all of them and trying to work out constantly what choices they will make and how they will execute their plans.

As the story unfolds past the first few chapters the reader begins to realise that Lady Anne’s husband, Edgar Stanbury was from a poor background. He has married into nobility and yet with no son and Anne in hospital he has no hold of Asquith Manor or the wealth that Lord Damsbridge could pass onto the male heir of Anne’s. To stay, Edgar needs Anne cured and another son to be born to claim the lifestyle for himself. Edgar also battles his confusion of whether he loves or hates his wife. Does he blame her tremendously for their sons death and long for revenge or does he love her and hopes for a better future with her?

Last but certainly not least is Beatrix who doesn’t take kindly to Edgar. The staff feel that he wants them fired and that his presence is purely for financial gain due to his background but as Asquith Manor is not his home yet she feels safe for now and uses her time to look out for Lady Anne.

In the latter half of the novel it becomes more an historical thriller/mystery, as opposed to psychological, with the reader constantly guessing what has taken place, who was involved, whether sanity had a role to play or not and there are many twists with nothing left unanswered at the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this read regardless of its dark subject matter. It certainly opens eyes to all standpoints involved. And I cannot emphasize enough just how well-researched, understood and written about this era is in this story. It is a real stand-out and will not leave your mind in a hurry.

A copy of The Medea Complex was provided by the author in return for an honest and fair review.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good premise, but at odds with the writing, 4 Dec 2013
By 
bookworm "Sue K" (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Medea Complex (Paperback)
I would have enjoyed this more but like other reviewers, was getting irritated with the jarring grammar. In some instances the dialogue was like a present-day story and in others quite pedantic so I was rather confused at times. My main beef was the mis-use of the word who with whom and the use of OK - although it was probably in use in the US in the late 1800s, I doubt it would have been used by a Doctor of a mental asylum. I am sorry to only give this 3 stars as I appreciate the effort Miss Roberts has put into the story and to an extent it was a very good plot with some interesting twists and turns - although I was having difficulty relating to Anne's troubled mind - but I am a bit of a pedant and the anachronisms and grammar did spoil the story somewhat for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual Historical Mystery, 27 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Medea Complex (Kindle Edition)
This isnt the sort of book I would usually read but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Chapters are narrated by a variety of the main players, giving different perspectives on the plot and keeping the pace going.
The only reason I've given it a 4 rather than a 5 is a few grammatical errors, a couple of typos and some modern phrases and figures of speech that jar against the period setting.
Trying to keep this spoiler free but I also have a a few slight niggles with the ending. While it was true to the characters, it left a few answers unconfirmed, I imagine the author expects us to infer or guess the answers but I would have liked them confirming.

That said I'd highly recommend it!
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and powerful tale, 15 Nov 2013
By 
Dolphin (Stuck inside a cloud) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Medea Complex (Kindle Edition)
This dark and compelling tale is set in the late 19th century, a period when mental health was largely misunderstood and the mere shadow of doubt could condemn someone to a lifetime of misery in a lunatic asylum. In this historical setting, Lady Anne Stanbury finds herself interned in a mental hospital. She stands accused of killing her infant son but has been deemed unfit to stand trial by reason of insanity. Her heartbroken husband is torn by conflicting emotions as he struggles to deal with the horrific deed she has apparently committed. This is the stark premise from which the story (powerfully narrated from different points of view) unfolds with a series of twists and turns.

This book is a 'tour de force' in the exploration of the human psyche and in its ability to transport the reader, with such authenticity and in-depth knowledge of subject matter that one has to wonder at the amount of research that must have gone into its creation. There are no holes in the writing and the author's ability to bring the situations and scenes to life is quite remarkable. Her characters are drawn clearly and cleverly, and there are many surprises, and Ms Roberts holds the reader captivated by the need to know what happens next. Surely the sign of a gifted writer. From the very first page, the reader is drawn into the mind and soul of the heroine and feeling all the beautifully nuanced emotions she experiences.

This powerful, chilling narrative contains some disturbing subject matter, but this is handled with such measured delicacy and compassion that one is willing to be swept along by the optimistic quality of the assured writing.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disgraceful, 6 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Medea Complex (Kindle Edition)
I requested this book from a family member for my birthday after I saw it recommneded on a social network site. The blurb and the reviews I read made it sound a compelling read and I was intrigued. However, from the beginning it was clear that this was an amateur writer, which was fine, as everybody has to start somewhere I suppose. What lay less easily with me was the truly appalling grammar. I find it extraordinary that someone professing to be a writer would even consider charging money, let alone submitting to the public sphere, a piece of writing in which the author clearly has no concept of where an apostrophe should be placed. That, coupled with the incorrect use of 'whom' and other irksome spelling and grammar mistakes disturbed my reading considerably.

In terms of the actual story, the concepts and ideas were good, unfortunately, the author lacked the skill to tell this in a satisfying manner. Her characters were underdeveloped, inconsistent and pretty much one dimensional. There was no discernible character development or exploration and at points their portrayal was verging on the ridiculous (the sleeping lawyer comes to mind).

The 'twist' at the end was poorly done and again somewhat ridiculous. The true motivations of Anne did not tie in with how she was portrayed in the beginning, unless she was lying to herself as well as everybody else? The fact that the story was written in the first person was seriously limiting for such an inexpert writer, and I couldn't shake the feeling that she had chosen this method to convey her story as a means of avoiding character development and supporting narrative. Dialogue that was supposed to be (I think) gritty and tense came across as silly and superficial and reminded me of a school kid's attempts at creative writing. The death of the husband, where he more or less stated 'and then I died' was testimony to how poor the writing came across. Further to this, the text was littered with inaccuracies such as modern language, use of plastic bags (in 1886!!), CID officers and such like. Should the author ever consider publishing another novel, I suggest she find someone with a higher level of literacy than she to do her proof reading and editing and perhaps attend some sort of writing course and actually learn how to write.
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54 of 67 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, very poorly written, 11 Nov 2013
By 
Jood (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Medea Complex (Kindle Edition)
When I was invited by the author to read and review her book I was intrigued by the subject matter and so researched the Medea Complex in psychology and mythology on the internet, so with my interest piqued, I started this novel....

Have you ever started a book and right from the first few pages been drawn into the story, felt sympathy or empathy for the characters and just couldn't put the book down? I have - but sadly not with this one. The idea behind this book is good: Anne, Lady Stanbury, wakes up to find herself in a strange place; we, the readers, know it is a "lunatic asylum", but Anne thinks she has been kidnapped for ransom. But why is she there? Does her family know where she is? Will she ever get out?

Each chapter, written in the present tense, is from the perspective of different characters - Anne's husband Edgar Stanbury, an out and out money-grubbing prig; her father Lord Darnsbridge...a patron of the asylum; Dr Savage, head honcho at the asylum; Anne herself of course, and various other sundry people. The reason for Anne's incarceration quickly becomes obvious to us with our modern day knowledge, but in the 1880s, when all sorts of strange notions for certain conditions were put forward, the future looks bleak for Anne. The asylum is staffed by Dr Savage who wants to go to any lengths to cure her, Fat Ruth, the stereotypical hateful nurse and Agnus the token kindly nurse. Wranglings regarding inheritance go on in Anne's absence with Edgar her husband, one minute declaring his undying love for her and in the next breath referring to her as a slut. Poor Anne.

There is little in the way of descriptive narrative, the characters are one dimensional, and I found the use of modern day idioms such as "....None. Zip. Nada", all in one sentence, and in a Victorian setting quite odd, as was the "humour" which did not work for me; the dialogue of "t'common people" is clumsy and quite unnecessary. Unfortunately the whole thing is so poorly written from a grammatical point of view, with for example, the incorrect use of the word "whom" every single time, when "who" is correct; "lays" rather than "lies"; "was stood" instead of "standing" etc, etc. Punctuation was often poor and there are so many typos, it's as though a copy edit or proof read have never been done....likewise research into certain details. I'm afraid, for me, all this spoiled what might have otherwise been quite a good read and I really struggled to get through it.

The number of rave reviews, many of them consisting of one line only, has me totally baffled and suspicious as to their origins; in other words - are they genuine? If a review is worth five stars surely it is worth more than "Amazing book" or "Fantastic, Couldn't put it down, Can't wait for book 2".

This book will keep me well away from any future offerings from this writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting story., 12 July 2014
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This review is from: The Medea Complex (Kindle Edition)
Intriguingly written from the perspective of each of the characters. I enjoyed the story line in this historical novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex, 13 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Medea Complex (Kindle Edition)
This story had me gripped from the beginning - an excellent book with a clever plot. There are subtle clues in the book that leads the reader to believe that things are not how they appear. This kept me reading. I did however find the last section a little bit confusing with the introduction of more characters; reading the story on a Kindle it is sometimes hard to flick back to see who is who.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book, 27 May 2014
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This review is from: The Medea Complex (Kindle Edition)
Saw people were talking about it on Facebook, so decided to buy it. A very readable book with a great twist at the end
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique!, 22 April 2014
This review is from: The Medea Complex (Paperback)
The Medea Complex was different to what I was expecting, even though I'm not really sure what I was expecting

Based on true stories and medical records from the late 1800s, it documents the time that protagonist Anne spends in an asylum.

The thing that drew me to this story was definitely the lunatic asylum setting. I find it fascinating how different things are today to the barbaric nature of those unprecedented, experimental medical practices of that time. Roberts did a great job of setting the scene, making me feel sorry for Anne despite her crime.

I was sucked in from the start.

I'm not always a huge fan of multiple first-person narratives but I thought in worked well in this book. Between Doctor Savage's notes on Anne's rehabilitation, Anne's commentary on the asylum and what she goes through there, and Edgar's grief-stricken behaviour, we are swept away into a world filled with intrigue, anticipation and mystery.

This is one of those books that is hard to review without giving away any spoilers so you'll have to forgive me for not going into plot details. But what I will say is this, the last thing I was expecting was for The Medea Complex to turn into a court-room drama, but it did, and it was good!

I thought the second half of the book really picked up the pace, there are double-crossings, murders, missing persons, and you're never quite sure what, or who to believe. On the whole, I enjoyed the narrative voice - especially the humour, considering the serious subject matter - but I did sometimes feel like there weren't enough differences between each of the characters. I sometimes got confused about who was speaking (even though each chapter is named) which occasionally brought me out of the story.

Overall, I was impressed with this debut novel which kept me guessing, and I especially enjoyed the author's notes detailing the characters and events that were based on fact, and where she found them. I think the work Roberts must have put in definitely paid off.
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The Medea Complex
The Medea Complex by Miss Rachel Florence Roberts (Paperback - 1 Nov 2013)
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