In 1815, upon receiving news of the death of their distant father, Victor Frankenstein, 17-year-old twins Giselle and Ingrid travel to Castle Frankenstein in Scotland's Orkney islands to live with their uncle and receive their inheritance. Though the castle is a "fearful place," surrounded by damp weather and superstition, Giselle plans a grand party while Ingrid buries herself in her father's notebooks and begins a romance with their neighbor, retired Lieutenant Walter Hammersmith, who suffers from "a disease of the nervous system." Strange events soon occur: Giselle starts sleepwalking and sees a "bad man" threatening to take them away, and someone has been committing murders in the vicinity. Ingrid begins to resemble her father in an obsessive quest to restore health to one she loves. Weyn (Invisible World: A Novel of the Salem Witch Trials) has created an atmospheric and dramatic mystery, which incorporates many historical details and thematic elements from Shelley's gothic tale. The girls' alternating journal entries will keep readers equally invested in both of their stories in this psychological thriller with a dash of romance. Ages 12-up. Agent: Nancy Gallt Literary Agency.
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From the Publisher
Praise for Suzanne Weyn's Distant Waves:
* "Weyn's take on the infamous disaster is wholly original."
- Booklist, starred review
"Told in gripping first-person narrative, this novel features interesting characters and creates a strong sense of time and place, while exploring the mysteries of the spirit world."
- School Library Journal
"Weyn weaves fantasy together with factual threads of the Spiritualist movement, Nikola Tesla's inventions and the celebrity-studded passenger list of the doomed ocean liner....A page-turner."
- Kirkus Reviews
VOYA - Jamie Hansen
In homage to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), Weyn explores the possibility that Victor Frankenstein's monstrous creature was not his only offspring. She imagines that Frankenstein fathered twin daughters, Giselle and Ingrid, while still a university student. At the age of seventeen, the girls, who have grown up motherless and unacknowledged by their notorious father, are ready to claim their legacyFrankenstein's ruinous castle on a remote island in the Scottish Orkneys. Although identical in appearance, the twins differ widely in character. Giselle is a luxury-loving, ambitious social climber who intends to make the castle a gathering place for the social elite. Studious Ingrid finds herself drawn to her father's notebooks describing his disturbing experiments with galvanism and the reanimation of corpses. In the best traditions of Gothic fiction, inexplicable sinister forces begin to assert control over the castle and influence the lives of those residing within its weathered stone walls. Alternating journal entries reveal the growing mental instability of Giselle and Ingrid in their love for their reclusive neighbor, a sick and wounded naval officer. Weyn allows Ingrid and Giselle to tell their own stories, using the constraining fictional device of diary entries. In general, she succeeds in capturing the nuances of early-nineteenth-century diction and literary style, with only a few lapses. In the matter of character development, however, she is less successful. Neither Giselle nor Ingrid seems fully developed as a character, and the minor personalities are unmemorable. Libraries should purchase this title as demand warrants. Reviewer: Jamie Hansen
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
What if Mary Shelley's legendary scientist Victor Frankenstein, unbeknownst to Mary Shelley, had married a woman who died giving birth to twin daughters? What if he abandoned his infant daughters into the care of others for fear that they would be hunted by the murderous monster he created? What if, after their father's death, the two young women inherited his castle in the Orkney Islands of Scotland? And what if brainy, bookish Ingrid discovered there her dead father's journals and hidden laboratory and sought to continue his scientific labors, while her glamorous, elegant sister was haunted by strange dark dreams and pursued by dangerous, disturbing assailants? And what if both twins found themselves in love with men who were deeply problematic, each in a different way? Author Weyn serves up a Gothic thriller/romance that should appeal to adolescent girl readers who hanker after a vicarious doomed love with their own Rochester or Heathcliff. The language remains at a pedestrian levelneither girl's diary entries read convincingly like the observations of young ladies in 1815but most readers are unlikely to quibble, glad to spend time in the company of threatened, lovelorn heroines in a ruined castle, gazing down at a tempestuous sea. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—An alchemy of romance and suspense, science and history, this book would make Mary Shelley proud. Written in diary form, the novel consists of entries belonging to Victor Frankenstein's identical twin daughters (liberties are taken with the original story). Upon learning that their father is dead, the girls also discover that they have inherited his fortune, and on the eve of their 17th birthday, arrive at a remote Scottish island to claim Castle Frankenstein. Deftly characterized, glamorous and vibrant Giselle is determined to turn the moldering mansion into a showplace, overseeing renovations and planning a grand party, while thoughtful and studious Ingrid becomes consumed by Victor's diaries describing his experiments and resolves to heal a handsome neighbor who is dying of an incurable disease. When acquaintances are found dead, the sisters wonder if some macabre family curse plagues them. Weyn carefully doles out answers to tantalizing questions. What lies at the root of Giselle's dramatic sleepwalking episodes? Is Ingrid's prideful obsession with science leading her into insanity as it did Victor? Why are people being murdered and who is the culprit? The book reaches a dramatic conclusion at the much-anticipated house party. Real 19th-century luminaries are guests, and when readers get to the final showdown scene in the underground laboratory, Mary Shelley will not be the only one left mouth agape.—Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC
Abandoned at birth, twin teen sisters Giselle and Ingrid discover that they've inherited a castle in the Orkneys from their father, Victor. For giddy Giselle, it's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to throw a huge party, with the likes of Lord Byron and the Shelleys on the guest list. For the more studious Ingrid, her father's old journals—and the dusty science lab hidden underground—provide not only exciting insights into her father's work, but also the tools with which to outfit Walter, the moody and disabled ex-soldier to whom she's given her heart, with a new arm and leg. Weyn plays this unlikely scenario as gothic romance. She folds in stilted dialogue ("But we are entirely different in personality and presentation"), chapters written as alternating journal entries, and a supporting cast of historical figures and likely young men with varied agendas. There is also a sudden spate of local murders and occasional grisly details, such as a decayed but strangely familiar woman's head that washes ashore. In the climactic flurry of revelations, it turns out that one sister is a decidedly unreliable narrator. This thriller is saddled with such a wildly contorted plot that readers may be more inclined to snort than sigh. (afterword) (Gothic romance. 11-14)