Top critical review
2 people found this helpful
An ill-conceived piece of literary parasitism that adds nothing to Shelley scholarship and fails as a novel--hated it!
on 22 June 2014
Oh dear, what can I say? This is far worse than Tom All Alone's in its literary method; there, at least a work of fiction i.e Bleak House, was warped and twisted by the author's parasitic mode of writing and no real people were depicted in a damaging light. In A Treacherous Likeness, however, real people are trashed, including Mary Shelley who is portrayed as a semi-psychopath who is capable of child murder. It's a queasy mixture of fact and fiction and, as Daisy Hay so succinctly said in her Guardian review of March 2013, it's a great pity that the denouement is so mean-spirited, ill-conceived and nasty.
If only (as I said before in my review of Tom All Alone's) the author would ditch her academic credentials/research and stop using other authors and real people as a crutch to support her fiction. She can write well (except when her pastiche of Dickens becomes over-arch) and Charles Maddox is an engaging central character, but I'm afraid I felt deeply irritated by this book. It's mean to say this when a lot of hard work must have gone into this book, but I couldn't help thinking her thesis about Mary Shelley was in very poor taste.