A Fatal Likeness: A Novel

A Fatal Likeness - Lynn Shepherd Included at the end of A Fatal Likeness is an author's note that goes into detail about the research and idea for the book. I must say, I appreciate the conception, along with the research and development. The perspective is a visionary undertaking. Undoubtedly, the constructing of this piece was no easy task! However, simply compiling information and arranging neat pieces with good editing does not make a story great. In my opinion, A Fatal Likeness lacks the electricity it truly needs to jolt this one to life. Given the baited mystery and intriguing subject matter, the telling of this version is remarkably flat and academic. The text is tired, and tries too hard to seem authentic and as a result, the characters suffer unjustly. Since several characters had the same name i.e. Mrs. Shelley (we have three or four?), the individual voices and points of reference (time shifts) are critical to establish. Unique distinction through dialogue is essential and needs to be immediate for recognition. Unfortunately, this is lacking, which results in confusion. I had a difficult time, especially when coupled with picking up and putting down the book, establishing which family or Mrs. Shelley the narrator was talking to or about. Was this a flashback, an interview or present time? At first, I thought this was my fault and resulted from interrupted reading, but after awhile I became frustrated and often had to back up to get grounded. This truly takes the momentum, suspense and mystery out of a story and often, I just felt disoriented. The prolonged flatness of the characters killed it for me. I really lost interest and by the end, empathy. If I was not reading this book for review, it would have ended up in my DNF (did-not-finish) pile at the 50% page mark. With such juicy characters to work with, I'm surprised at how chaste, tedious and dry this read actually is. Overall, a rather boring and disappointing historical fiction.