by Tim McGregor
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Pub Date 22 Feb 2024 | Archive Date Not set
ORKNEY ISLANDS, 1797 – Agnes Tulloch feels a little cheated. This windswept place is not the island paradise her husband promised it to be when they wed. Now with four young children, she struggles to provide for her family while her husband grows increasingly distant.
When a stranger comes ashore to rent an abandoned cottage, Agnes and the other islanders are abuzz with curiosity. Who is this wealthy foreigner and why on earth would he come to Eynhallow? Her curiosity is soon replaced with vexation when her husband hires her out as cook and washerwoman, leaving Agnes with no say in the matter. Agnes begrudgingly befriends this aristocrat-in-exile; a mercurial scientist who toils night and day on some secret pursuit. Despite herself, she’s drawn to his dark, brooding charm. And who is this Byronic stranger sweeping Agnes off her feet? His name is Frankenstein and he's come to this remote isle to fulfill a monstrous obligation.
“An excellent example of the very best of the popular historical and retelling horror tropes.”—Booklist starred review
“Richly atmospheric with gorgeous prose and an unforgettable heroine. A gift to monster lovers everywhere, Eynhallow is a new classic.” —Rachel Harrison, national bestselling author of Cackle and Black Sheep
“The horror of Eynhallow is a gothic hurricane battering our bookshelves. Pray it makes landfall near you.” —Clay McLeod Chapman, author of What Kind of Mother and Ghost Eaters
“Tim McGregor has grafted something truly unexpected and haunting from the sinew of Mary Shelley’s venerated classic, Frankenstein. Eynhallow is masterful and exquisitely written with a vision wholly unique to its tar-black soul.” —Eric LaRocca, author of Everything the Darkness Eats
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 112 members
I was excited when I requested and received an advance reader copy of Eynhallow from NetGalley. I received a free digital copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
I studied Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in university and I love other gothic fiction authors like Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, and H.P. Lovecraft. When I read the synopsis for Eynhallow and saw that it was a revisitation of Frankenstein I wanted in!
The narrator, Agnes Tulloch, lives on the island of Eynhallow, which is a real place in Orkney, Scotland. The tiny village of Eynhallow is bleak, foggy, and windswept. The atmosphere is described so vividly that you can feel the dampness in your bones. The bright spots in Agnes’ life are her precious children and her one best friend, but aside from that, her life has been rough until now, and she hopes for an opportunity to change her circumstances. When the mysterious Victor Frankenstein arrives on the island, we wonder whether he will be a blessing or a curse for Agnes.
The main characters in Eynhallow are fully fleshed out. It is easy to get caught up in Agnes’ joys and fears for herself and the ones she loves. In the typical gothic novel style, the monstrous and grotesque elements of the story are described in just enough detail to allow one’s imagination to roam. The themes of ambition, isolation, and arrogance, that Frankenstein was famous for, are some of the main themes in this novel, too.
I would wholeheartedly recommend this book to gothic horror fans. I hope that you make yourself a strong hot toddy and read it on a dark and rainy night.
This was a solid novel. I was sucked in from page one and I did not leave disappointed. I'm weary with retellings, but this stood on its own while also respecting the source material. It's incredibly well written, without being too simplistic or pretentious. I definitely wouldn't mind picking up a physical copy of this and will be looking out for this author in the future.
To start, I absolutely loved this novel. Devoured it. I didn’t realize it was a Frankenstein retelling because I had just seen the author and had to have it. I loved The Wasps in the Ice Cream. This author is now an auto buy for me,
The writing style is captivating. The storytelling keeps you wanting more. I would’ve read this in one night if I didn’t need sleep.
I went into this blind, enchanted by the cover and trusting the author. I loved the writing, the plot, the characters, the setting, and, of course - the iconic creature and its creator. The mere name of "Frankenstein" gives me chills. And it was a nice surprise to find out afterwards that Eynhollow is a real place off the north coast of Scotland, with its own folklore. The writing is to be admired: it combines gritty realism with a claustrophobic atmosphere, to create a well-paced narrative with a very strong ending. Admittedly, not much happens: the story takes place in between Victor Frankenstein's exploits and does not really change much in the original novel. But McGregor shows a side of the story well worth exploring: heavy on emotion, grief and regret, it allows a glimpse into both Frankenstein and his "monster" otherwise unavailable. The real treat, however, is the female lead herself: her story is very simple, her life very familiar, but McGregor's stellar storytelling skills turns it into an absolutely immersive tale that pits science and motherhood against love and violence. Highly recommended!