Saturday, 11 July 2015

The Doctor's Daughter - Vanessa Matthews

"It’s 1927, women have the right to vote and morals are slackening, but 23 year old Marta Rosenblit is not a typical woman of her time. She has little connection with her elder sisters, her mother has been detained in an asylum since Marta was born and she has spent her life being shaped as her father Arnold’s protégé. She is lost, unsure of who she is and who she wants to be. Primarily set in Vienna, this dark tale follows her journey of self-discovery as she tries to step out of her father’s shadow and find her identity in a man’s world. Her father’s friend Dr Leopold Kaposi is keen to help her make her name, but his interest is not purely professional and his motivations pose greater risks that she could possibly know. Marta's chance encounter in a café leads to a new friendship with young medical graduate Elise Saloman, but it soon turns out that Elise has some secrets of her own. When Marta’s shock discovery about her family story coincides with her mother’s apparent suicide, Marta can’t take anymore. None of the people she has grown to love and trust are who they seem. Her professional plans unravel, her relationships are in tatters and her sanity is on the line – and one person is behind it all."

In all honesty, when I first started reading this, I wasn't sure if it was for me. In setting the scene and unveiling the relationship between Marta and her father, there is a lot of psychology references and while I didn't mind it so much, it did mean that the first few chapters are fairly hard going. That said, I am very pleased that I stuck with it - what started off slowly turned into a compelling and intriguing read, with a nice unexpected twist, that I struggled to put down.

I enjoyed seeing the way the relationship built up between Marta and Elise - I felt sorry for Marta in the beginning as she doesn't seem to know where she fits in the world, and is incredibly lonely and that coupled with the lack of respect she receives from those around her, including her father and the children that she teaches, made me root even more for her to put her stamp on those circles she moved in. 

Although slow to start I would advise any reader to stick with The Doctor's Daughter. While none of the characters are particularly likeable, I found the relationships between Marta and those around her interesting, and it comes with a fine twist.

The Doctor's Daughter is out now and you can get it here:

**Many thanks to the author for my ARC**

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