Our Hideous Progeny

Harper. May 2023. 400p. ISBN 9780063256798. $32. HORROR
DEBUT In 1850s London, Mary Sutherland, a brilliant and ambitious descendant of Victor Frankenstein, and her geologist husband, Henry, seek to reanimate a Plesiosaurus in this debut work of gothic monster horror. Mary is still grieving the loss of their daughter when Henry is summoned to the estate of his recently deceased father for the reading of the will. When it is revealed that his father left Henry nothing but the sum needed to pay off the considerable gambling debts that Henry accrued, the Sutherlands are left penniless. Their need for money, added to a desire for notoriety and recognition amongst their paleontological set, and Mary’s chance upon papers belonging to her great-uncle Victor, set the pair on an elegantly rendered journey of discovery, obsession, and betrayal. Steady pacing includes brief flashbacks to Mary’s childhood and fraught lineage and a childhood crush on her best friend. Fans of Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and historical horror with a queer feminist twist will not be disappointed.
VERDICT In this immersive, richly detailed novel, Mary is an enthralling heroine with whom readers will empathize, and owing to assured, luscious prose, whose plight they will champion.
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