Book Review: The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts


1885. Anne Stanbury - Committed to a lunatic asylum, having been deemed insane and therefore unfit to stand trial for the crime of which she is indicted. But is all as it seems?

Edgar Stanbury - the grieving husband and father who is torn between helping his confined wife recover her sanity, and seeking revenge on the woman who ruined his life.

Dr George Savage - the well respected psychiatrist, and chief medical officer of Bethlem Royal Hospital. Ultimately, he holds Anne's future wholly in his hands.

The Medea Complex tells the story of a misunderstood woman suffering from insanity in an era when mental illnesses were all too often misdiagnosed and mistreated. A deep and riveting psychological thriller set within an historical context, packed full of twists and turns, The Medea Complex explores the nature of the human psyche: what possesses us, drives us, and how love, passion, and hope for the future can drive us to insanity.
Release Date: November 1, 2013
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed By: Kelli
The Medea Complex was such a riveting book!  I started it expecting a very deliberately paced book, as sometimes historical books move slowly; and I was shocked at how quickly I was drawn into the story.  The plot drew me in from the very first chapter, and the pace didn't let up for the entire book.  I found The Medea Complex nearly impossible to put down.

Roberts uses an alternating first-person narrative.  Anne, Edgar, and Dr. Savage are all narrators; and Anne's ladies maid, Beatrix, narrates a few chapters here and there as well.  I love this type of narrative because the author lets the reader delve into the main characters' heads.  Knowing exactly what everyone was thinking was extra important for this book, with the main subject matter being mental illness.

The premise of Anne's mental illness, called puerperal mania (what is now known as postpartum psychosis) was really intriguing, and extremely well-developed.  I appreciate it when an author really researches a topic for a book, and Roberts wrote so competently and eloquently about mental illness, that I could tell she became very well-versed in the subject.  

I found The Medea Complex to be a riveting read, full of suspense, and surprises along the way.  There was a lot of change in each character, given that the story takes place over six months' time.  I finished the book shocked at the final plot twist, and days later, I'm still thinking about this book.  The ending had plenty of closure, but the entire focus of the book left me wondering if the perpetrator would ever come to justice.  The summary states that The Medea Complex is based on a true story, but even without that disclaimer, I would say that this book is terrifyingly plausible.     

The Medea Complex is an adult book, but there are no bedroom scenes in this story.  There are definitely adult themes (death, alcoholism); however, so I would definitely recommend this book to readers 18 and over.

I recommend The Medea Complex to fans of historical fiction, and fans of thrillers.  It was a great emotional thriller, and I look forward to reading more from Rachel Florence Roberts. 

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like an interesting read, thanks for the recommendation :)


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