Cover image for Of monsters and madness
Of monsters and madness
Verday, Jessica, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Egmont USA, 2014.
Physical Description:
276 pages ; 22 cm
"In 1820s Philadelphia, a girl finds herself in the midst of a rash of gruesome murders in which her father and his alluring assistant might be implicated"--
Format :


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Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult

On Order



A romantic, historical retelling of classic Gothic horror featuring Edgar Allan Poe and his character Annabel Lee, from a New York Times best-selling author.

Annabel Lee is summoned from Siam to live with her father in 1820's Philadelphia shortly after her mother's death, but an unconventional upbringing makes her repugnant to her angry, secretive father.

Annabel becomes infatuated with her father's assistant Allan, who dabbles in writing when he's not helping with medical advancements. But in darker hours, when she's not to be roaming the house, she encounters the devilish assistant Edgar, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Allan, and who others insist doesn't exist.

A rash of murders across Philadelphia, coupled with her father's strange behavior, leads Annabel to satisfy her curiosity and uncover a terrible truth: Edgar and Allan are two halves of the same person - and they are about to make the crimes detailed in Allan's stories come to life. Unless Annabel stops them.

Releases simultaneously in electronic book format (ISBN: 9781606844649).

Author Notes

Jessica Verday is the New York Times best-selling author of The Hollow trilogy. She wrote the first draft of The Hollow by hand, using thirteen spiral-bound notebooks and fifteen black pens. The first draft of The Haunted took fifteen spiral-bound notebooks and twenty black pens. The Hidden took too many notebooks and too many pens to count.

She lives in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, with her husband.

You can visit her online at The author lives in Goodlettsville, TN.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In 1826, Annabel Lee travels from Siam to visit the father she barely remembers. While he is consumed by his gruesome experiments, Annabel finds solace in her father's assistant, Allan Poe. But she soon realizes that her father and his other assistant, the sinister Edgar, may be involved in a rash of local murders that are eerily similar to the horror stories Allan pens. Verday's gothic horror tale combines elements of Edgar Allan Poe's stories with Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and adds a dash of Frankenstein for good measure, though she freely admits to taking liberties with all her inspirations, both historical and fictional. The result is thoroughly dark and ominous, with a secret romance adding delicious tension. Unfortunately, a swift rush toward a mostly unresolved ending paving the way for a sequel somewhat undercuts the effective creepiness of the first two-thirds of the book. Fans of classic horror who are looking for a plucky, sometimes clueless heroine will find both here in spades.--Wildsmith, Snow Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In the first installment of a planned series, Verday (the Hollow trilogy) borrows from Gothic horror to reimagine Poe's most enduring works as a string of strange, horrific events in 1826 Philadelphia, 20 years before the publication of "The Raven," "The Tell-Tale Heart," and "Annabel Lee." Upon her arrival in Philadelphia to live with her father, 17-year-old Annabel Lenore Lee finds herself in the favor of one of his assistants, Allan Poe. But as Poe's scribblings become darker, and a spate of murders embroils Philadelphia, Annabel must unravel the nightmarish secrets inside her own home. Like her late mother, Annabel is an adept healer, but as narrator she is so mired in her romantic preoccupations and her father's disapproval of her medical aspirations that some facets of the story are lacking. Instead of fully developing supporting characters, several remain flat through her eyes, and as the novel comes to a close Verday abruptly leaps a few weeks into the future to hastily set up the next book. Ages 12-up. Agent: Mollie Glick, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up-Upon her mother's death in 1826, Annabel Lee returns to Philadelphia to live with her father, a brilliant scientist prone to unsavory experiments. Her father's home is not the joyous and warm place she was expecting. But the loneliness ebbs when Annabel finds a friend in Allan, her father's assistant. When horrific murders begin occuring and her father's second assistant Edgar appears to know more than he lets on about Allan and Annabel's father, she must find out the truth or risk losing everything. Verday's novel is a quick read that hooks readers into the mysterious and gothic atmosphere of Annabel's Philadelphia. The plot is thrilling, though the "gruesome" murders are far from being truly gruesome, making the novel appropriate for some middle-school readers. Annabel is a strong character; she wants to be a doctor in a time when such professions were not encouraged for women. However, the novel's climax is rushed, which creates a confusing ending--perhaps in order to accomodate a sequel. A few key plots points toward the end of the novel happen abruptly and without previous clues or foreshadowing. A supplementary purchase for libraries where Megan Shepherd's The Madman's Daughther (HarperCollins, 2013) is popular.-Paige Garrison, Aurora Central Public Library, CO (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.