Melmoth

MelmothMelmoth by Sarah Perry
Published by HarperAudio on October 16th 2018
Pages: 245
ISBN: 006285643X
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“I wonder, when God permitted us to fall, if He knew we’d fall so far.”

Helen Franklin is an English woman living in Prague. She has made a home for herself and has a small group of friends. One evening her friend, Karel, shows her a letter he discovered in a library. The letter is a confession of sorts and introduces the reader to Melmoth the Witness, a woman who roams the globe in loneliness, looking for those who have done wrong asking them to join her in damnation. She is an interesting figure, her story handed down over the years Is she real? Is she a myth? A story to keep children in line? Is she a cautionary tale, a piece of folklore, or a woman from biblical times cursed to walk the earth?

Gothic in nature and shrouded in mystery this book didn’t quite hit the mark with me. What worked was the beautiful writing. I enjoyed the letters and journal entries about Melmoth (Melmotka, Melmat). I thought they were brilliant. Melmoth is shown throughout time in this fashion. This book, specifically Helen’s story-line takes places primarily in modern times but has an older feel to it. Speaking of Helen, I really didn’t care for her or her friends all that much.

This book is getting mixed reviews and I feel that I am in the middle of those. I can say that I liked this book but didn’t love it. I was hoping for a little more creepiness and a little more Gothic horror. This book has atmosphere and I give it props for that. Even though most of this book takes place in the twenty-first century, it does feel as if it takes places in the past. She sets the stage for the atmospheric Gothic vibe. I wanted more of Melmoth and her story. But Perry keeps her shrouded in mystery which I believe was intentional as I believe she wanted readers to ask questions and decide for themselves.

Again, I can’t fault the writing, I just wanted more.  My advice is if you are writing Gothic horror, don’t tip toe around it – dive right in!

I would encourage readers to decide for themselves. Read the other reviews

Thank you to Harper Collins and Edelweiss who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

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