Book Review: The Somnambulist by Essie Fox

As soon as I saw the cover to The Somnambulist, full of Victorian Gothic charm, I knew I had to read it…

The tale centres on the seventeen year old Phoebe Turner, who has been brought up by a very strict religious mother and carefree aunt, a singer in a London music hall.

One evening, Phoebe accompanies her aunt to the music hall, unbeknown to her mother, and this one act, it seems, sets off a number of life-changing events.

The story is full of twists and turns; secrets are revealed, mysteries unravelled, and soon all becomes clear that life as Phoebe Turner knew it wasn’t real at all…Heartbreak, grief, loss, love, lies, deception, spiritualism…very Victorian…very Gothic…

My only gripe with this book was that there were a few passages that felt slow and even a little hard work.  However, persevering was certainly worthwhile.  Essie Fox manages to capture two vastly different locations with ease…the hustle and bustle of Victorian London as well as the quiet, eerie charm of a country estate, Dinwood Court, a world away in Hertfordshire.

The historical detail is accurate and vivid, helping to bring the story to life, and the characters on the whole were easy to engage with.

Over all, an enjoyable read.


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