The Mad Man’s Daughter: A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy—perfect for fans of Libba Bray—explores the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love . . . even our own humanity.

After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then she uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—which forces her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. Juliet must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones—or make her own.1

I keep saying it but I love that this trilogy is able to connect all three books while creating their own story as if it were a solo book.

As it is the third and final book I finally got a hang of the fact that Shepherd had been creating stories in the form of a retelling of old classics with her own new characters.  The third and final book in the trilogy follows the story of Frankenstein, which we got the teaser of at the end of the last book, Her Dark Curiosity.

At the end of the last book, our group are fleeing London with Edward in grave danger.  It is in the carriage that Elizabeth’s true past is revealed and it gives us the basis for our third and final story.  Juliet and the others arrive at Valentine manor with a note of welcome by it’s owner and mistress, Elizabeth.  While Elizabeth is tying up loose ends in London, the group’s welcome is less than friendly as Elizabeth had warned.  It becomes apparent early on that some of the inhabitants of the matter are not quite as they seem.

Juliet has struggled with her identity throughout the whole series.  Who she is, who she is to become and who she was meant to become.  Just when you think she may be finally figuring it out, she must make choices that will alter the rest of her life and those around her.  Naturally, just when you think it’s safe, Juliet’s world is turned upside down when yet another secret is revealed and she must question everything.

Juliet is offered a new start down two very different paths.  With her personal struggles aside, her dark past comes for her putting everyone in the manor in danger.  They must fight to save what is theirs or die trying.

We’ve had our ups and downs following Juliet and her personal struggles during the trilogy.  Shepherd’s ability to connect and separate these stories gives her the ability to carry on the journey through different characters or even some of the main characters if she chose to.  I think I am satisfied with ending things here and that a break from Juliet and the gang is needed.  A fourth novel right away might be too much and a nail in the coffin.

I really enjoyed the series, even though I missed the very obvious and intended connections between classic novels in the beginning.  For those new to the trilogy, I think it would be a fun challenge to read the original stories for each tale prior to reading Shepherd’s versions.  This may add to your ever growing reading lists, but I think you’ll find making the connections a pleasant addition to your adventures.  For fans of classics with new twists, the Mad Man’s Daughter trilogy is a great adventure that I think you will enjoy.

  1. Book summary courtesy of Megan Shepherd’s webpage.


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