Tuesday 28 April 2015

Book Review: The Beloved by Alison Rattle

Title: The Beloved
Author: Alison Rattle
Published: 5th March 2015
Publisher: Hot Key Books 


I was instantly drawn to the cover of this book. It has that mystery element about it with the dark and light colours and the ominous door. The synopsis as well is so intriguing and I just knew I had to read this one.

Alison Rattle has written two historical fiction books before this called The Madness and The Quietness. Although I have unfortunately not read this yet, I have heard nothing but praise for them, so was looking forward to starting this.

The Beloved tells the story of Alice set in the time of Victorian England. Alice comes from a really unloving home. Her Mother Temperance is nothing short of cruel to her and seems to relish in finding any opportunity to make Alice suffer. The opening scene of Alice tied to the bed so that she will not take off her stays during the night is just some of the lengths Temperance will go to to make Alice obey her. You of course instantly dislike her and wonder how a Mother can be so cruel. Alice's brother and her Father do nothing to save her and it is so frustrating to read when her brother Eli does not believe Alice when she tells him how her Mother treats her. I really wanted to shake him. In fact there were a fair few dislikable characters in this story and Alison has really written them in a way to make you instantly see their flaws, even if they seem good from the outside. When Alice gets a chance of escape she looks for the stranger she saw in the town who claimed that he could release her of her sins. Henry Prince is the leader of Agapemonites and what is called The Abode of Love which has a large following of women. Alice finally believes that she is loved and wanted and is happy there. However she soon finds that the religious sect of the Abode of Love is more imprisoning than her home life and she may be in more danger than she was before.

I did get frustrated with Alice a few times as some of the decisions she made were rash and it was infuriating to read that she could not see what was right in front of her. At the same time though, you do feel desperately sorry for her as she just wants to be good so that someone will love her.
The backdrop of 1840's Victorian England was written so well. Alison has clearly done her research into the life of that time and it actually helped give the story a dark atmosphere. I think what I found most shocking about this is that Henry Prince was a real person and the Agapemonites was a real religious sect that had women giving up their riches so that they could be with the Lord. Alison has written the story in a way that truly makes it believable and with the historical aspect to back it up, you can truly imagine that is exactly what happened.

An intriguing and disturbing historical read from Alison Rattle.



  1. Fantastic review :) I've had this sitting on my shelf since it came out and it'd definitely time to pick it up.
    Cora @ Tea Party Princess

    1. Thanks so much Cora :) hope you enjoy it when you do read :)