Today I’m thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for The Unforgetting by Rose Black
A story of the trappings of fame, magic and the power of illusion in Victorian London.
Power, theatre and ghosts in a Victorian gothic historical, perfect for fans of The Silent Companions, The Night Circus and The Familiars.
When Lily Bell is sold by her father to a ‘Professor of Ghosts’ to settle a bad debt, she thinks she about to hit the London stage as an actress. But little does she know that the professor intends her to be his very own ghost, part of an elaborate illusion for a fascinated audience.
Obsessed with perfection, the professor covers all bases to ensure his illusion is realistic – and when Lily comes across her own obituary in the paper, and then her own headstone in the cemetery, she soon realises that she is trapped, her parents think she is dead – and soon her fate is to become even darker…
A spellbinding story of obsession, the lure of fame, and the power of illusion.
This is a dark, engaging Victorian gothic novel that I enjoyed greatly. This genre is one of my favourites. I do so love being swept up in the past. Lily Bell is a strong, wilful young woman who dreams of a life treading the boards, a life filled with adventure and the adoration of an audience. When her stepfather sells her to Erasmus Salt, a ‘Professor of Ghosts’, she imagines that her dreams will come true. However life with Professor Salt turns out very differently.
There are so many levels as to how this novel can be read. It could be considered an engrossing novel about the dark side of Victorian life, a time when science began to shake the foundations of a religious faith that brought comfort to many when loved ones died. An obsession with communing with the dead would unearth some unscrupulous individuals. Erasmus Salt is a dark figure indeed. Damaged by the death of his mother when he was just a child, he is obsessed with the dead and trying communicate with them. His scientific experiments conducted through the theatre, in an effort to create the perfect conditions for doing so prove unhinged and dangerous. Lily Bell’s dream of stardom as an actress are dashed as she discovers a truth that leads her to believe she would be better of if the man had actually killed her.
This is a good novel. The storyline is dark and at times unnerving and Rose has done well to recreate Victorian England. I found the characters difficult to warm to at times but I never stopped caring what happened to them. This novel could be described as a reflection to how women were both perceived and treated during this time in history. A time when many women would have had a ghost like impact on society – always in the background, never quite seen. The horrors inflicted on Lily are not unrealistic in any way. This is an engaging read that I would recommend for any lovers of gothic horror.
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About the author
Rose Black has written stories all her life. Her long-standing fascination with the Victorians and 19th century England underlies this novel. An award-winning freelance writer, she’s covered health, overseas development and education. Married, with two children, she lives partly in London and at other times by the sea. In her spare time, she enjoys wild swimming and growing food and flowers on her allotment.