Read Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin Online


From the acclaimed author of the bestselling Italian Fever comes a fresh twist on the classic Jekyll and Hyde story, a novel told from the perspective of Mary Reilly, Dr. Jekyll's dutiful and intelligent housemaid.Faithfully weaving in details from Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, Martin introduces an original and captivating character: Mary is a survivor–scarred but stilFrom the acclaimed author of the bestselling Italian Fever comes a fresh twist on the classic Jekyll and Hyde story, a novel told from the perspective of Mary Reilly, Dr. Jekyll's dutiful and intelligent housemaid.Faithfully weaving in details from Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, Martin introduces an original and captivating character: Mary is a survivor–scarred but still strong–familiar with evil, yet brimming with devotion and love. As a bond grows between Mary and her tortured employer, she is sent on errands to unsavory districts of London and entrusted with secrets she would rather not know. Unable to confront her hideous suspicions about Dr. Jekyll, Mary ultimately proves the lengths to which she'll go to protect him. Through her astute reflections, we hear the rest of the classic Jekyll and Hyde story, and this familiar tale is made more terrifying than we remember it, more complex than we imagined possible....

Title : Mary Reilly
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780375725999
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Mary Reilly Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2018-09-30 00:42

    ”Are you afraid of yourself, Mary?” Master said.The room was silent about us, but for the clock ticking, which seemed to me loud of a sudden. I thought a long time might pass before I answered but Master and I would not know it, for we was both of us waiting to hear what I would say. At first I thought I would say no, for it seemed a strange thing to be afraid of myself, but then I thought he must mean afraid of what I might do, or might say, rather than what I am and what I see in the mirror. And it was true that when I feel afraid it is what I imagine that frightens me most, which is, in a way, a fear of what is in my own head. So while Master sat looking at me I went over a great deal and at last, almost as a surprise to me, I heard myself say, “Yes.”“Yes,” Master repeated after me, seeming pleased almost. “Yes, I thought so.”Julia Roberts and John Malkovich star in the 1996 movie version directed by Stephen Frears. Read the book then watch the movie. Mary Reilly works in the house of Dr. Jekyll. She has scars on her neck and on her hands that are reminders of her father. He was a cruel man ruled by drink. The need to hurt others burned like a hot wire in his head. This position as maid working for Dr. Jekyll is by far the best circumstances she has ever found for herself. Her loyalty is unquestioning even as Jekyll adds an odious assistant named Hyde. ”The chair was turned away from me and all I could see of him was his arm and hand. The back of his hand is covered with black hair, the fingers blunt, so although, like the rest of him it is small for a man’s, still there is something brutish about it. I found I did not like to look at his hand any better than i liked to see the rest of him, yet there was something that seemed to hold me still and make me stare, as a rabbit will stare stunned by a torch light.”He mocked everything people said to him like a petulant teenager accompanied by a lurid grin or a smoldering grimace. He makes Mary’s skin crawl, but out of her concern for Jekyll, as well as the unnatural fascination she feels for Hyde, she keeps trying to figure out what the connection is between the cultured Jekyll and the malevolent Hyde. Jekyll after seeing the results of Mary’s cultivation of a small garden in the backyard realizes the darkness that surrounds his own work compared to the beauty of Mary’s cultivation. ”My work doesn’t have such pleasing results as yours. It may finally be of benefit to no one. it may only make the world more strange than it is already, and more frightening to those who haven't the courage to know the worst.”Jekyll is intrigued by Mary. There may even be a sliver of attraction. He asks her to write about her life for him. She keeps a journal, a secret journal, but she is self-conscious about showing her writing to him. The life that seems so boring to her is of endless fascination for Jekyll. He wants to understand the darkness in the people around her and if any of that darkness resides in her. He is her benefactor and so it is only natural that she starts to feel a tingle of a fairy tale. ”I stood a moment looking at his back, at his hair which is thick, silver and a little long for the fashion, curling over his collar, and I thought I would like to a lock of it. Then, shocked at my own strange whims, which it seems I never can control, I went out, closing the door quietly behind me.”A servant girl from the 1890s that fits my vision of Mary Reilly.Her growing closeness with Jekyll creates strife between her and the head butler Poole. She fears that she will be dismissed if Poole starts to believe that she is displacing him in Jekyll’s trust and affection. The fear of losing her position is beyond comprehension, a devastating thought that makes her knees weak and her breath constricted. She has to tread lightly, head down, offering reassurance to all with her obedient nature. Mary starts to put enough pieces of the puzzle that surrounds Hyde and Jekyll together, but even as she understands more of the true horror, what she will know she will be unwilling to embrace. ”I felt a great confusion, as a buzzing in my head, and I knew part of it was sadness that Master should lie to me and I to him, but I couldn't bring myself to say I had gone down in the night. So I stood holding, the tray, frozen there, and I looked at Master with all my feelings in my face. His eyes met mine, but only an instant, for the lie stood between us and he could not look at me.”We’ve all been there, in a situation with people we care about, with a big balloon of a lie filling the room around us. We know we have to accept the lie as true or we will cross a Rubicon that will forever compromise a friendship. We have to extend the luxury of belief in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. We have to give them space to reach the truth on their own. We have to wait for the weight of the lie to pull their feet back down to the ground, for the truth to sift through the rose colored glasses. Their hubris must be bruised. They must be so far down all they can see is up. Jekyll reaches that point...too late. The author Valerie Martin.Valerie Martin has written a perfect ode to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The fingerprints of Robert Louis Stevenson are in every paragraph, every revelation. This book fits so easily inside the original that it feels like the part of the book that Stevenson wrote, but for reasons beyond comprehension decided to leave out of the published work. This book is not a sequel, but a retelling of the original in true gothic style. I owe my revisit to this book to Daniel Levine who recently published Hyde. It was a clever retelling of the tale from the perspective of Mr. Hyde. All those graphic scenes that Stevenson left off screen that contributed so much to our loathing of Hyde are shown in a new light, according to Hyde in the proper light. In my youth I read many biographies of Stevenson and all of his work. I feel the need to explore those places again. I’ve always felt that Stevenson’s life is interesting enough that a feature film should be made of him. Why not the dream team of Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg? I can dream. My scintillating review of HYDE.My illuminating review of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

  • Michael
    2018-09-24 18:20

    This is a wonderful illumination of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, told from the perspective of the housemaid. Valerie Martin somehow inhabits the original at the same time she makes it new, and the result is a fresh gothic tale that's steeped in the original horror. Martin is an incredibly sure-handed writer, and her prose sings.

  • Linda Palmer
    2018-10-14 00:22

    I read this book because I liked the movie so much and figured there would be details not revealed on the screen. The movie is fairly faithful, so there weren't that many surprises, but I still recommend the book for a lot of reasons.First, it paints such a rich picture of the times. I could tell that Ms. Martin had done her research. Particularly fascinating to me were the details of a life in service to others. Mary, a maid in Dr. Jekyl's house (yes, that Dr. Jekyl) stays busy from dawn until dusk and even after. There's a cook, a dishwasher, a butler, a manservant, and Mary, all of them slaving for just one man.But Mary is special. She has overcome an abusive childhood and can actually read. She is conscious of her station in life, but bold enough to push the limits when her curiosity gets the best of her. Most of all, she's amazingly positive in a very dark atmosphere, and that has its effect on everyone, most of all Dr. Jekyl and his alter ego Mr. Hyde.I read this book in a day and loved it. Yes, it's dark. The Dr isn't a happy man; the Mr is brutish and scary. But Mary's a survivor, and her compassion is a joy to witness.

  • Mafalda Fernandes
    2018-10-14 18:35


  • Cathy (cathepsut)
    2018-10-15 20:46

    It's been a while since I read this. I remember thinking that it was an interssting take on Jekyll and Hyde. It was pretty tragic, not only the original story as such, but also Mary's life in general. It was not the most gripping read, but a solid read at the time.

  • Emjy
    2018-09-26 19:19

    Le récit intime et fascinant de Mary Reilly, la jeune domestique entrée au service de Mr Jekyll, un mystérieux et bienveillant scientifique (héros du roman de R. L. Stevenson).Un très beau roman victorien, sobre, sombre et mené avec style.

  • Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
    2018-09-30 00:38

    As much as I love the story of Jekyll & Hyde, I've never actually read the source material. I've heard variations of the story for years, from the Wishbone version when I was a kid to the Wildhorn/Bricusse musical and now this retelling. Every version seems to fill in a new space and add something new to the whole mythos, and I love that. Mary's voice is very distinct, not in the least thanks to her imperfect (and sometimes inconsistent) speech and writing patterns. Early on in the book she was always saying "mun" instead of "must" and then by the end it seemed like she had dropped "mun" completely. Seeing as there was no information about her being further educated or anything like that, I found the change odd. The Afterword felt very reminiscent of the Phantom of the Opera, where the author/narrator stayed in character and described receiving Mary's papers. Overall it was nicely written.

  • Bam
    2018-10-09 18:21

    The classic story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is retold through the journal writings of the housemaid, Mary Reilly. Mary was physically and emotionally abused by her father as a child, which has left scars on both her person and her psyche. She appreciates that she is very lucky to have her position in the Jekyll household and is a very loyal and hard-working servant who understands her station in life. If she should forget, the butler, Mr Poole, is always there to remind her. She is therefore rather chagrinned when Dr Jekyll begins to question her about her ability to read and write after he observes her reading one of his books while working in the library, and she admits that she attended a school that he has helped support. Too bad she doesn't take the opportunity to describe the deplorable conditions at that school, which he has never bothered to visit, and too bad that he doesn't offer to encourage further learning by lending her a book of poetry from his library. Sigh. I must not forget one's station! Dr Jekyll questions her about the scars on her hands and neck and asks her to write down the story of what happened to her to cause the horrible injuries. And thus begins a rather strange friendship between the two in which he comes to trust her instincts, opinions and loyalty and she admires him as a great man.I have a few quibbles about the story: Mary seems too terribly naive and trusting for someone who has been through what she has. It is hard to believe that nothing about Hyde seems familiar to Mary--especially when he gets so up close and personal and sneeringly asks, "Don't you know me, Mary?" After Hyde cuts his hands by shattering a teacup between them, I kept expecting Mary to notice similar wounds on Dr Jekyll's hands but that never happens. I was rather surprised that Mary was never kissed, fondled or put in a compromising position by either of the gentlemen--there were certainly lots of sparks and sexual tension. Victorian repression! No bodice ripping here.The repetitive drudgery of Mary's household duties makes the book a bit dull at times but such is the life of the servant. However Martin overuses the device of sending Mary to stir up a coal fire to put her in the perfect spot for a conversation with the Master or to overhear others. And too many times Mary is lying awake in bed in the attic and just happens to hear a stealthy tread on the stairs which sends her hurrying downstairs in dishabille to confront the Master...or oops! Mr Hyde. Quibbling aside, it was interesting to read the Jekyll story from one more point of view, having read the original story as well as Daniel Levine's book HYDE in recent days. This was my least favorite of the three books but Martin does a good job of incorporating the original details into her tale and has a pleasant writing style with good pacing, building the tension nicely as her story unfolds. She has created a likable, sympathetic character in Mary--even if I did want to shake her now and then and tell her NOT to fall in love with Jekyll!

  • Tara
    2018-09-20 00:36

    I loved the chances Martin took with this plot and the characters. Most don't realize she's one of the writers who sparked the trend to write about fringe characters in famous novels.

  • Suzanne Fox
    2018-10-18 00:32

    A bit hampered in terms of suspense by its nature as a variation on an existing text, but a compelling book nonetheless. I re-read recently (looking forward to Martin's January release of a novel about the doomed ship Mary Celeste) and enjoyed it even more the second time around.Most powerful of Martin's novel's many strengths is its voice, which is compelling, consistent and convincing. It can be tricky to narrate a book through the "journals," which can be hard to make at once novelistically effective and convincing in terms of the character ostensibly producing them. This is even more true when the character is someone from a different time with a very limited education and diction. The tendency to sentimentalize and/or oversimplify servant figures, too, can be a problem. Martin falls into none of these traps, capturing the rhythm of Victorian speech and prose as well as her protagonist's personality perfectly.As a servant, Mary's insights about and access to not only her own employer, Dr. Jekyll, but also the entire world he represents are necessarily limited. She must spend most of her time within a confined physical space doing relatively dull and repetitive tasks. Martin uses her novelist's gifts to create a rich, vivid, and dynamic world despite this limitation. The book has the dark, enclosed feel of classic Gothic tales, yet never feels too constrained or restricted to be dramatic.The relationships of the servants, the feel of London street life of the period, even the details of funerary customs of the poor are among the elements very accurately depicted. Yet the details never announce themselves or stick out from the story, as period research can sometimes do; the author has a gift for choosing the right details to evoke an incident authentically and economically.It's the story that matters most in the end, of course, and that's both the heart of Martin's success and the source of her challenge here. Whether or not you know the Stevenson text this book re-imagines, the novel is absorbing to the end. As it closed, I wished I could linger further in Mary's life, even though the story itself felt well and authentically finished. When I closed the book I felt a sense of loss. That's the sign of a beautifully wrought fictional world, and a gift that this novel delivers. That said, the better one knows the source text, of course, the less true plot surprise Martin's novel delivers. The surprises are more subtle ones, but nonetheless satisfying.I highly recommend the novel to anyone who enjoys fiction set in the nineteenth century, likes the Victorian period, is intrigued by Stevenson's classic novel, or is just appreciative of strong and resonant stories.

  • Peter Vicaire
    2018-10-07 22:22

    I recently read this one back-to-back with the original "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". I was halfway through "Jekyll" when the Boston Marathon bombings took place so until I finished the book, it carried with it for me a heavier internalization of the good/evil duality of man - especially when interviews of friends on the news played the same stories over and over about how they were "nice guys" and everyone was so surprised that they could do such a thing. "Mary Reilly" ended up being a fine follow-up companion piece to the original classic - turning the story around and looking at Dr. Jekyll from the view of an enamored housemaid. Even when she started to understand what was really going on with her boss and his strange "assistant" she stuck with him out of a misguided love - just as some family and friends are still doing with the Chechnyan bombers. As such, for me, it's an interesting look at a skewed sort of love when it's so deeply mired in hate from the rest of society.

  • Matt
    2018-10-08 23:33

    While I enjoyed the suspense and the playful intertextuality of this novel to the original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I find Mary's character to be incredibly flat and self deprecating at times. What should have been a subversive shift from the original narrative which is told by an upper class male (Mr. Utterson) to a servant class maid, is limited by Mary's lack of agency and arc. There are a few exciting moments where Mary rejects class status and critiques her "Master" Dr. Jekyll, like when she catches the vapidity of Jekyll's philanthropy. However, these times are never spoken out loud, but appear merely as mental notes. Mary rarely calls Jekyll out on his shit. The ending was also a huge let down. In the scene where the two are in the yard, Mary does not consent to protecting Jekyll's secret; that he is in fact Mr. Edward Hyde. However, Mary eventually DOES keep this secret anyways, thus going back on her one true moment of resistance to her "Master's" commands. Mary's agency here is limited by the author's unwillingness to commit to Mary's character.I also found the "Afterword" to be totally unnecessary. First of all, I hated the moment where the narrator notes that in Mary's original text, she never capitalized her first person pronoun but would always capitalize "Master". What is startling about this? Why tell the story from such a marginalized view point if the author wasn't going to push it into a truly subversive narrative choice that shocks class expectations and gender roles? Overall, I felt I was waiting for some shift in Mary's subservient behaviour, but was shocked to not see this happen in any obvious way. I could almost see her sleeping with Jekyll's corpse as a radical statement about love crossing class boundaries, as she is found by an vague "they". Is this an allusion to the J.G. Sime story "Alone"? So Mary and Jekyll spooning together may be an act of defiance towards a society that would rather not gaze on the pairing of a poor-class body and a wealthy body. This is the only moment I could say was truly startling in the entire book. Mary's character otherwise does not seem to have many surprises for us who are familiar with the story of Jekyll and Hyde.

  • TL
    2018-10-16 23:28

    Mary Reilly is a haunting and captivating novel based on the classic tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The author, Valerie Martin, wrote this from the perspective of Dr. Jekyll's housemaid, Mary Reilly. This novel was nominated for the Nebula Award in 1990 and the World Fantasy Awards in 1991. Despite its fairly short length, the novel is quite complex - it's a like a Victorian psychological thriller. Mary is portrayed as a sensitive, hard-working maid, scarred by abuses from the past, but with an ability to love and remain loyal to her employer. Much of this novel is unspoken, rather than straightforward. Fans of Gothic novels, steampunk, Victorian fantasies, and psychological thrillers will enjoy this novel. This is a beautifully-written, sensitive portrayal of a fascinating character who will remain in your heart long after you've read the book.

  • Anastasia
    2018-09-28 20:40

    Io mi sono intrattenuta bene, ma riconosco che questo libro equivarrebbe ai filmetti in tv che si beccano così, per caso, e intrippano ma si capisce perché non sia passato per i cinema e sia stato relegato alle tv. Non per fare quella sempre in linea con l'atmosfera utiliritastica del commercio, ma ci sono certi film pensati per la tv che consistono in una storia dalle "aspirazioni" abbastanza basse, da personaggi gradevoli ma non memorabili, e una storyline senza grandi piani. Il filmetto da tv da guardarsi alla Domenica pomeriggio, dai, si capisce. Devo dire che in realtà la prospettiva di questo libro è molto carina e originale: è una rivisitazione della storia di Stevenson vista dal punto di vista di una cameriera. E per certi versi questa è una storia che si mantiene con i piedi per terra, specialmente nella sua realizzazione. Avrebbe potuto essere una storia spettacolare densa di colpi di scena, avrebbe potuto includere una di quelle cameriere con le palle, carismatiche e incredibilmente lungimiranti e intelligenti per ciò che si aspetta dalla sua condizione sociale - secondo la mentalità di allora, non fraintendetemi-; e una storia d'amore indimenticabile fra la Wonder Woman Con Lo Scopino e il Megamind Ottocentesco, ma non è così.Questa è un esperimento narrativo con risvolti più che verosimili nelle sue intenzioni (per quanto si appoggi ad una storia "fantastica"): l'unico colpo di scena è verso la fine, per il resto si vive come un'ipotetica cameriera vivrebbe la vicenda: dietro le quinte, all'oscuro da ciò che sta accadendo, come una bambina che vede il proprio padre entrare e uscire da casa senza riuscire a capire effettivamente dove vada e che faccia, in certi punti è ripetitivo, ma per forza: cosa vi aspettate che faccia una cameriera? la cosa è abbastanza ciclica: aiuta in cucina, attizza il fuoco nel caminetto, serve al proprio "padrone" la cena e poi il pranzo e si occupa di qualsiasi suo bisogno. E come vi aspettate che sia una cameriera dei tempi di Stevenson? Una cameriera con un'intelligenza media - e perché dovrebbe essere per forza limitata e stupida, voglio dire -, con un senso della morale forse eccessivo per i nostri tempi, con una devozione smisurata per il nostro Jekyll e virtuosa e pudica, insomma, la brava ragazza dalle buone referenze. Una ragazza che si turba profondamente nel confrontarsi con chiunque non sia un gentiluomo (o gentildonna!), una ragazza che si preoccupa profondamente dei minimi accenni ad un possibile malessere del proprio padrone ed è animata da un sincero e forte affetto, insomma, 'na santa. Forse non è il personaggio più interessante al mondo, ma non sarebbe forse più credibile dell'eroina spoporzionata di turno? E non ci sono particolari scene mozzafiato, tutto si mantiene sempre su una prospettiva abbastanza "realistica", ma non sarebbe più credibile di un ipotetico colossal pseudo-harmony?Il punto è proprio come l'esperimento di Valerie Martin tenga particolarmente alla realizzazione più fedele che si possa immaginare, ecco. E questo può sacrificare possibili risvolti appetibili, ma sinceramente io ho avuto comunque una lettura piacevole. Forse perché la spiccata curiosità per veder dove si sarebbe andato con questo "alternate universe" non mi ha mai abbandonata, e sinceramente voterei a suo favore se mi venisse richiesto. Perché potrà anche volare basso, ma alla fine come "esperimento" è più che riuscito e riesce nel suo intrattenimento, forse non sarà la lettura più sensazionale che si avrà mai la fortuna di fare, ma insomma, ogni tanto vedersi un filmetto alla tv non è male, no?Ecco: Forse non si può propriamente promuovere il finale un po' affrettato e un certo spunto narrativo lasciato un po' lì, quando sarebbe stato un punto di forza.

  • Kristina A
    2018-10-05 21:28

    I liked this slim novel told from the perspective of the maid in Dr. Jekyll's house. I loved the descriptions of Mary's work (for some reason I enjoy descriptions of housework -- which is funny because I certainly don't like doing it) and Mary's voice was very distinct -- I feel as if I can still hear it in my head (part of the reason I plan to avoid the movie). The period details were really interesting, especially about funerals (my only complaint historically is that at one point, Jekyll asks the servants to sit down so that he can tell them something, which seems unlikely to me). Much of the novel is very eerie -- I enjoyed the chilling parts very much.I had two main problems with the novel conceptually, though. The first is that I felt it was too short. It makes sense that it's short, since Jekyll & Hyde is, but for some reason, this novel didn't feel complete to me in the way J&H does. My second problem is that I can't see how the novel would make much sense if you hadn't read J&H. While I personally enjoyed being able to follow the references to J&H, I also feel a novel like this should be more than a companion to the original; it should be a stand-alone novel. For example, The Historian (a novel I seem repeatedly to compare to other recent novels) is enriched by having read Dracula, but it's got a full life all its own (though admittedly, the intimacy of Mary Reilly does make me feel I know her character better than those of The Historian). Anyway, The Historian) is three times longer than MR, so there you go. I just felt as though there was a lot missing from many of the conversations Mary has with Jekyll. Obviously we know what his mysterious questions mean, but her wondering about them often feels too much like she's just trying to figure him out specifically rather than having it inspire deeper thoughts in her. I mean, it does the latter too, but not to the extent I would like. However, I don't mean to bash this novel, which I truly enjoyed. The scary parts are much scarier than I would have expected knowing J&H, and the idea of a literate maid is really interesting and unlikely but not unbelievable. There's something about Martin's writing that reminds me of Margaret Atwood (who is quoted on the back of the edition of the book I have), which can never be a bad thing.

  • Autumn
    2018-10-17 18:38

    "Mary Reilly" approaches the hoary tale of "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde" from a different angle: the story is told from behind the scenes, as it were, through the eyes of Henry Jeckyll's intelligent, devoted servant girl.This novel is a fascinating mixture of historical fiction and literary extrapolation, and it works far better than any book of it's type that I have ever read (Including Geraldine Brooks' "March", which was a Pulitzer Prize winner"). From the beginning, Martin drew me in with her spot on use of believable dialect for her heroine; one can hear the faint Yorkshire air of a lower caste Londoner in Mary's improper use of 'to be' and 'mun', but Martin never stoops to giving her girl an Eliza Doolittle butchering of the language. I admired that greatly. I was also pleased by the use of period detail. Her exposition of the difficulty of the tasks Mary attacked daily, given in Mary's own matter of fact way in her journal, lent an air of authenticity to the story. It also helped to develop sympathy with a girl who went about her daily tasks with a sense of honor and duty. I genuinely liked Mary, and I'd like to know how she fared after the events of this book.Finally, I enjoyed the manner in which Martin deftly intertwined details of R. L. Stevenson's original narrative, giving the reader just enough information to connect the stories without a giving a feeling of slavish subservience to Stevenson's muse. It pleases me to imagine her sitting down with the classic tale and thinking, "If Jeckyll and Hyde resided in the same house, what must the servants have thought and seen?" Then the light goes on and that crucial question is asked: "What if..."(This is my own mental picture, you understand. I have no idea where Martin actually began.)The negatives I noted were minor. If I had a 'wonder why she did that' moment, it would be in the early deliniation of Mary's sad early life and the later of-screen reappearance of her father. That plot thread just hung there, not really adding to Mary's main story or the drawing of her character; on the other hand, it did not annoy to the point that I did not enjoy the book thoroughly.If you like classic horror, historical fiction, or even just a well-drawn story, this would be a good book to pick up.

  • Tiffany Hall
    2018-10-07 22:24

    In a world of simplicity, Dr. Jekyll pushes the boundaries of society and one woman has a front row seat to the tantalizing mystery that surrounds the good doctor. Mary Reilly works for well-to-do doctor who is obsessed with the secret work he does in his laboratory. He becomes fascinated with Mary's life and views of the world. They soon grow to have a deep bond of trust through meaningful, secret conversations. Mary begins to feel admiration, and maybe something more, for the good doctor but soon he starts to ask her to do him favors that would make any person question his morality. Mary, being the loyal servant, does as he asks yet her opinion of the man hardly wavers. But when the devilish Mr. Hyde walks into her life as Dr. Jekyll assistant, the world she knows quickly turns upside down. To make matters worse, Mr. Hyde takes a special interest in Mary and leaves her scared for both her and Dr. Jekyll’s lives. All she knows is that something about Mr. Hyde is not right and her curious mind will not rest until she knows the truth. As she grows closer to the truth, the stakes grow higher and higher until lives are on the line. Will Mary discover the truth about Mr. Hyde? Why would the good Dr. Jekyll bring home someone like Mr. Hyde?This book was recommended to me by one of my teachers and true to her word, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Like Mary Reilly, I cannot keep my curiosity at bay. Both her and I will not rest until we know exactly what is going on under our noses. The haunting story of the unassuming chambermaid keeps readers on the edge of their seats. This book lived up to its promise of shedding a different light on the classic tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You should definitely read this book if you want an accurate Victorian era mystery that keeps you in suspense. Beware, this book isn't for the weak of heart. At times, the events in this story can be very disturbing and if not careful, will cause nightmares.

  • Lisa-susan
    2018-09-19 22:47

    I read this book because I enjoyed Valerie Martin's "The Confessions of Edward Day" and I wanted to read another book by this author. This story is the retelling of Robert Louis Stevensen's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" from the perspective of Mary Reilly, a very perceptive housemaid in the house of Dr. Jekyll. I especially liked this bool after having read "The Confessions of Edward Day." In "The Confessions," the narrator may or may not be reliable. He has a doppleganger, who is is clearly a source of menace and evil to Edward Day. Who is evil and who is good is unclear in this story. Are the two characters simply two sides of the same person? Exactly what happens in this story is not clear by the end. The story of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" goes over similar territory in the discussion of evil within a person, though the story is quite different. This retelling of "Dr. Jeklly and Mr. Hyde" was well done, well constructed and a pleasure to read. I found the book interesting, entertaining and likable. The narrator, Mary Reilly, is a very sympathetic character and psychologically interesting.

  • Jennifer
    2018-09-19 20:22

    Though they're worlds apart stylistically, it's helpful to think of Mary Reilly standing in relation to Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea does to Bronte's Jane Eyre, in that they're both unexpected and compelling retellings of famous work that depend very little on their source material but manage to kick ass firmly on their own merits. I almost wonder if Martin didn't have Bronte a bit in mind when she wrote this, as Mary very much is Jane Eyre, down to the terrifying abuse as a child and the death of a mother figure mid-novel - not to mention the attitude. Marvelous alone, this is best read in conjunction with Stevenson's tale, as it leaves you wondering what other versions of that seemingly-known story might still be waiting to be told by narrators invisible to the original author.

  • Pam
    2018-10-05 19:36

    Mary Reilly is a maid in the home of Dr. Henry Jekyll. (Yeah, that Dr. Jekyll.) The novel is Mary's journals and covers the years she spent working in his house. Mary's father was cruel and abusive. She's not quite withdrawn, but she knows her "place" and staying in her place gives her a sense of security. Dr. Jekyll makes her feel secure as well. He's kind to her and recognizes her intelligence.My only complaint about the book is that it stopped when the story of Dr. Jekyll stopped. I came to know and like Mary, and it would have been nice to know what happened to her later. Like the author says, we can assume she found another position, but the stuff that happened in the Jekyll house must have had a tremendous effect on her, and I'd like to know how she handled it.

  • Rhiannon Hart
    2018-09-30 18:49

    A retelling of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde from the housemaid's point of view. I was hunting for a historical film to watch when I was feeling unwell recently and came across the film. The reviews said it was awful, so I didn't bother, but that the book was wonderful. Mary Reilly is an emotionally scarred, intelligent young woman who develops a bond with her 'master' through their interactions, and begins to fall in love with him. It's beautifully written and very faithful to the original. There are shades of Jane Eyre in the social unequals/intellectual equals dynamic. Read this on a (very delayed) flight back from Oslo and kept the dreary airport-ness of it all far away.

  • Alison Miller-astor
    2018-09-25 19:33

    Pretty disappointed in this book... if it hadn't been so short, I probably would have put it down. There was just so much potential in this "dramatic retelling of the classic horror story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" but it just missed out on all the drama and all the horror. Its only saving grace was the character development of Mary Reilly herself. Unless you're a hardcore fan of the Jekyll & Hyde legend, I'd skip this one...

  • Austen to Zafón
    2018-09-21 19:34

    Enjoyable re-hash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, from the point of view of Jekyll's maid, a sensible girl with a bright outlook and a keen interest in what goes on around her. I know some found the domestic details boring, but I liked that aspect, as Martin did her research on what it was like to be a maid at the time and I'm interested in domestic history. Well-written and compelling.

  • NancyHelen
    2018-10-03 22:39

    I do enjoy retellings and this, a retelling of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde from the point of view of the maid, Mary Reilly, was quite good. However, as this book was actually longer than the original story, I did feel that it dragged a little bit. I liked Mary and I liked how her opinion gave you a different view on the original story, but not enough happened to make this a truly great book.

  • Rob Cohen
    2018-10-13 22:41

    Ugh, I so badly wanted to enjoy this book but it really didn't go anywhere. Not enough Jekyll and Hyde and too much of her boring life. Nothing really dramatic to speak of and she sure cleaned a lot of fireplaces... too bad.

  • Jae
    2018-10-17 22:24

    I found the language a little awkward at times, nevertheless this was a fairly engrossing read.

  • Caroline
    2018-09-27 21:49

    I was hoping this would be better. Great idea, average book.

  • Brigette
    2018-09-25 18:27

    Morbid and filled with dread in a good, good way. Julia Roberts gets it spot-on in the movie adaptation.

  • Mladoria
    2018-10-09 21:22

    Tout d'abord, je tiens à remercier les éditions Libretto pour cet envoi. Je connaissais la nouvelle de Stevenson et je suis heureuse de découvrir le pendant féminin si j'ose dire de cette histoire. Mary est une jeune domestique dans une maison un peu particulière puisque son maître n'est autre que l'éminent Dr Henry Jekyll. Mais ce maître tout compatissant et ouvert soit-il cache de sombres secrets et son "assistant" Mr Hyde est loin d'être aussi amène que lui-même. Servie par une galerie de personnages ancrés dans leur époque, celle de la domesticité à l'époque victorienne, cette histoire nous plonge dans une atmosphère brumeuse à souhait où le mystère est roi.Cependant, j'ai eu du mal à accrocher au style de l'auteur. En effet, on est bien loin de l'efficacité quasi chirurgicale de l'écriture de Stevenson qui nous dépeint en peu de pages une image claire de cette affaire. Ici, le rythme est lent, très lent (trop lent ? peut-être), le personnage de Mary même si la psychologie torturée et en proie au doute se place d'emblée dans les personnalités dépeintes chez les auteurs du XIXème, le demoiselle est quand même bien mollassonne. Les autres domestiques sont un peu trop caricaturaux à mon goût. Niveau personnage, seule la dualité du Docteur reste intéressante et brossée avec un tant soit peu de finesse. Niveau action, comment dire ce n'est pas le calme plat mais presque et là où certains auteurs compensent leur manque d'action par un bel effort psychologique et des personnages qui tiennent le lecteur en haleine, ce livre fait un petit flop car rien ne vient vraiment compenser ce manque de mouvement et on s'ennuie ferme voire on s'enlise. La base est intéressante et si vous ne connaissez pas Stevenson ou bien le film éponyme, il peut être intéressant de vous lancer dans la lecture de Mary Reilly. Si tel n'est pas le cas, je vous conseille une bonne dose de caféine et de courage pour arriver à en venir à bout. Un peu déçue mais c'est le jeu de la lecture, on ne peut pas tout aimer.

  • Thomas L.
    2018-09-29 22:27

    Henry James famously ribbed Robert Louis Stevenson for achieving high romantic effects in his novels without resorting to central female characters. Think of "Treasure Island,"for example, or "Kidnapped."Although almost every cinematic and dramatic retelling of "Jekyll & Hyde" adds some form of heterosexual romance to the story, Stevenson's original pushes women to the very edges of the narrative: a trampled girl, a weeping maid, a sneering landlady, but no wives for the professional men at the heart of the narrative, and no paramours either. Valerie Martin brilliantly redresses the balance with this dark, atmospheric exploration of the life of one of the female servants in Jekyll's household. The result is a subtle and richly imagined version of the Jekyll/Hyde split in a working-class woman rather than an upper-class man--and a moving demonstration of the ways a Victorian obsession with Respectability didn't as much oppose the Hydes of the time as create them. Martin reads Stevenson as revealingly as any professional critic, and creates a spell-binding thriller in the process. "Downton Abbey" or "Upstairs, Downstairs" with a Gothic twist, this is a perfect example of the way the classics of British fiction can inspire today's writers to pen masterpieces of their own.