“They are a race of great subtlety, Edward, and should not be underestimated.“
Charles Lambert ~ The Bone Flower
On a November evening in Victorian London, the moneyed but listless Edward Monteith stokes the fire at his local gentlemen’s club, listening to stories of supernatural experiences and theories of life after death. His curiosity leads him to a séance, where he falls under the spell of a beautiful flower seller. But Victorian society does not look kindly on love between a gentleman of means and a Romani girl, and when he faces being cut off by his family, Edward makes a decision with horrifying consequences.
Two years later Edward is married and anticipating the birth of his first child, in a beautiful house lined with orange blossom trees. But the wrongs of the past are not so easily forgotten, and the boundary between the living and the dead begins to thin…
Dark and mysterious, my main criticism of this book is its length – I wanted more!
The Bone Flower is a gothic love story that has elements of Frankenstein in its nature. There is also an undertone of cultural traditions, mystery and intrigue.
Well-written and visual, the prose is slow but steady and strikes the right balance for a story of this genre and setting. It’s less creepy than I expected and although there is a lot of anticipation, it isn’t particularly gruesome or scary.
In fact, it’s a delicate balance between true love and betrayal, looking again at the differences between a rich gentleman and a poor woman. Edward’s choices lead him to his ultimate test of faith and humanity, before ghostly revenge destroys his second chance at happiness.
At times shocking, the historical elements are well-researched and touches on a lot of important issues – like abortion, homosexuality and class – that are no less relevant today.
An excellent novella that really makes you think.
I received a copy of The Bone Flower from Gallic Books. Opinions my own.