The Nature of Monsters

by Clare Clark

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt | October 2, 2013 | Trade Paperback

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1666: The Great Fire of London sweeps through the streets and a heavily pregnant woman flees the flames. A few months later she gives birth to a child disfigured by a red birthmark. 1718: Sixteen-year-old Eliza Tally sees the gleaming dome of St. Paul's Cathedral rising above a rebuilt city. She arrives as an apothecary's maid, a position hastily arranged to shield the father of her unborn child from scandal. But why is the apothecary so eager to welcome her when he already has a maid, a half-wit named Mary? Why is Eliza never allowed to look her veiled master in the face or go into the study where he pursues his experiments? It is only on her visits to the Huguenot bookseller who supplies her master's scientific tomes that she realizes the nature of his obsession. And she knows she has to act to save not just the child but Mary and herself.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 400 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 1 in

Published: October 2, 2013

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0156034085

ISBN - 13: 9780156034081

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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The Nature of Monsters

The Nature of Monsters

by Clare Clark

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 400 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 1 in

Published: October 2, 2013

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0156034085

ISBN - 13: 9780156034081

About the Book

1666: The Great Fire of London sweeps through the streets and a heavily pregnant woman flees the flames. A few months later she gives birth to a child disfigured by a red birthmark. 1718: Sixteen-year-old Eliza Tally sees the gleaming dome of St. Paul's Cathedral rising above a rebuilt city. She arrives as an apothecary's maid, a position hastily arranged to shield the father of her unborn child from scandal. But why is the apothecary so eager to welcome her when he already has a maid, a half-wit named Mary? Why is Eliza never allowed to look her veiled master in the face or go into the study where he pursues his experiments? It is only on her visits to the Huguenot bookseller who supplies her master's scientific tomes that she realizes the nature of his obsession. And she knows she has to act to save not just the child but Mary and herself.

Read from the Book

i 1718 Afterwards, when I knew that I had not loved him at all, the shock was all in my stomach, like the feeling when you miscount going upstairs in the dark and climb a step that is not there. It was not my heart that was upset but rather my balance. I had not yet learned that it was possible to desire a man so and not love him a little.            Oh, I longed for him. When he was not there, the hours passed so slowly that it seemed that the sun had fallen asleep in the sky. I would wait at the window for whole days for the first glimpse of him. Every time a figure rounded the corner out of the trees, my heart leapt, my skin feverish with hope even as my eyes determined it to be someone to whom he bore not the slightest resemblance. Even Slack the butcher, a man of no more than five feet in height and several times that around the middle, whose arms were so pitifully short they could barely insert the tips of his fingers into the pockets of his coat. I turned my face away hurriedly then, my cheeks hot, caught between shame and laughter. How that beer-soaked dumpling would have licked his lips to imagine the tumbling in my belly at the sight of him, the hot rush of longing between my thighs that made my fingers curl into my palms and set the nape of my neck prickling with delicious anticipation.            In the dusty half-light of the upper room, breathless against the wall, I lifted my skirts then and pressed my hand against the slick muskiness within. The lips parted in
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From the Publisher

1666: The Great Fire of London sweeps through the streets and a heavily pregnant woman flees the flames. A few months later she gives birth to a child disfigured by a red birthmark. 1718: Sixteen-year-old Eliza Tally sees the gleaming dome of St. Paul's Cathedral rising above a rebuilt city. She arrives as an apothecary's maid, a position hastily arranged to shield the father of her unborn child from scandal. But why is the apothecary so eager to welcome her when he already has a maid, a half-wit named Mary? Why is Eliza never allowed to look her veiled master in the face or go into the study where he pursues his experiments? It is only on her visits to the Huguenot bookseller who supplies her master's scientific tomes that she realizes the nature of his obsession. And she knows she has to act to save not just the child but Mary and herself.

From the Jacket

MAIN SELECTION, BOOK-OF-THE-MONTH CLUB FEATURED ALTERNATE SELECTION, QUALITY PAPERBACK BOOK CLUB andDOUBLEDAY BOOK CLUB {Sara - not sure whether to put this book club stuff on front flap or here - see what you think} PRAISE FOR THE GREAT STINK "In rich Dickensian detail, Clark creates the whole city teeming with life and decay, but she keeps the focus on a few fascinating characters in desperate straits . . . it's a rich work of history and a gripping exploration of the unmentionable currents that run beneath the surface of our lives--and it reeks of talent."--The Washington Post Book World (Best Book of the Year) "The Great Stink is a crackerjack historical novel that combines the creepy intrigue of Caleb Carr, the sensory overload of Peter Ackroyd and the academic curiosity of A.S. Byatt."--Los Angeles Times "A captivating historical thriller."--People (4 stars) "Clark's triumph is that she makes us see and smell everything we politely pretend not to, and she even manages to give the miasma its own kind of beauty . . . the book is literally breathtaking."--The New York Times Book Review (Editors Choice) "Heres a talent to watch." The Seattle Times "An efficient blend of limpid storytelling, psychological acumen and Dickensian sympathy for the underdog, this fine first novel brings Victorian London to life . . . With prose this inviting and this sleek, gentle reader, you'll want to dive right in." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

About the Author

CLARE CLARK is the author of four novels, including The Great Stink, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize and named a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and Savage Lands , also long-listed for the Orange Prize. Her work has been translated into five languages. She lives in London."

Editorial Reviews

"Clark has talent and energy to burn."