Monday, August 25, 2014

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday


Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Egmont USA
ISBN: 9781606844632
E-ARC Source: Netgalley

Anyone who went through American Literature in high school has been exposed to Edgar Allan Poe at some point. As a teacher, I cannot leave the month of October behind without teaching "The Raven." Poe has left a literary legacy that many horror writers can only dream of attaining (I exclude R.L. Stine and Stephen King from this respectfully).

Jessica Verday presents the story of Annabel Lee and Poe in a way that we never imagined. Annabel Lee arrives in Philadelphia, after the loss of her mother, to stay with her father, whom she has never met. Upon arrival, she is helped by a very sweet maid named Maddy, who provides some comic relief, and two very different young men (and apprentices to her father), Edgar and Allan Poe. With hopes of becoming a doctor soon dashed by her abhorrent father, Annabel Lee finds herself surrounded by death and gore.

The cover is eerie and seems to be a nod to King's Carrie, and the various references to a creepy house scream "The Fall of the House of Usher." It appears Verday is a dedicated Poe fan, and the fictionalized story of Poe and Lee is creative and original.

Verday's female lead is relatably naive yet accurately (at least according to Poe) a bit fragile, and Verday successfully brings Poe's Gothic style into a new era.