The Somnambulist

The Somnambulist When year old Phoebe Turner visits Wilton s Music Hall to watch her Aunt Cissy performing on stage she risks the wrath of her mother Maud who marches with the Hallelujah Army campaigning for all

  • Title: The Somnambulist
  • Author: Essie Fox
  • ISBN: 9781409121190
  • Page: 392
  • Format: Paperback
  • When 17 year old Phoebe Turner visits Wilton s Music Hall to watch her Aunt Cissy performing on stage, she risks the wrath of her mother Maud who marches with the Hallelujah Army, campaigning for all London theatres to close While there, Phoebe is drawn to a stranger, the enigmatic Nathaniel Samuels.

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      Posted by:Essie Fox
      Published :2019-03-01T14:39:15+00:00

    1 thought on “The Somnambulist”

    1. As a fan of Victorian gothic, I knew I'd want to read The Somnambulist the moment I heard about it. Aside from the great title and gorgeous cover, the plot sounded appealingly twisted and involving in a Sarah Waters kind of way (which, I'm pretty sure, is the effect the author was going for). The protagonist, and the narrator for much of the story, is Phoebe Turner, a seventeen-year-old girl who idolises her glamorous aunt Cissy, a singer and actress. Her mother, Maud, couldn't be more of a cont [...]

    2. I am so pleased that The Sonambulist caught my eye. It is a lovely piece of Victoriana, and a quite wonderful debut novel.I fell in love with the heroine. Phoebe Turner was just seventeen years old, and she was warm bright and thoughtful. In some ways she was very mature for her years, but in others she was very innocent, and as I learned more of her background I could understand why.Phoebe grew up, in the East End of London, with her mother and her aunt. Maud, her mother, was a member of The Ha [...]

    3. I picked this up while traveling so I would have something to read on the train; it sounded intriguing and easy to read, and when the shop girl at the bookstore recommended it, I decided to buy it even though I hadn't heard of it before. I found this book hard to finish. The characters were two-dimensional and mostly annoying, particularly the protagonist, Phoebe, who was naive and helpless to a point that made me despise her. There were 'plot twists' that could be sussed out from the first chap [...]

    4. I would have liked it better had it not been for one pertinent thing: the protagonist is raped by her half-brother and instead of evincing anger, she tries her best to not to cause him further pain. I cannot deal with that. He treats her horribly, calls her a whore and refuses to see her as a human being and yet, she continually tries to patch things up. Yeah, nope. The rape wasn't even necessary to the plot. I know some will argue it wasn't rape but the way it's described and the fact that she [...]

    5. The book revolves around Phoebe Turner, a 17 year old girl living in the London East End in the Victorian era with her bible bashing mother Maud and her 'delightful' Aunt Cissy. The first chapters of the book build a picture of the dysfunctional family dynamic, and love/hate relationship between Phoebe’s mother and aunt. Maud thinks that anything fun or joyful is a sin. She is also a bit of a hypocrite with a penchant for the devils juice. Aunt Cissy is an actress/ singer who is oh so delicate [...]

    6. Having ancestors who were music hall artistes, and who actually played 'Somnambula' in the 1860s, this was a must read for me. The music hall world, with its glamorous veneer hiding a rather shabby reality, was wonderfully realised. Phoebe, the main character, is sweet and naive and straight away I fell in love with her. Her life isn't easy and some elements of the story are quite shocking - one, in particular. I couldn't like the main male character, Nathaniel, and despised his son but, given P [...]

    7. Loved it! It took a while to get going but when it did it didn't hold back! A brilliantly woven story of family secrets, betrayal and forbidden love with characters that leapt off the page. I found them completely real and believable as well which can sometimes be hit and miss with a new author trying too hard to impress. Thankfully this isn't the case for Essie Fox in this her first novel and she will definitely be someone to watch out for. Puts me in mind of Sarah Waters or Shirley Jackson for [...]

    8. I was excited to hear about the Virtual Victorian's new novel The Somnambulist, and when it popped up as a selection for Vine I could not resist.And what a gem it is. Bravo to Essie Fox, it is a long time since I have enjoyed a debut novel so much. It is literate, engaging and atmospheric. What's more, it has a plot that kept me turning the pages, and just when I thought I had discovered all the secrets of the book, there was one more twist in the tale.Phoebe's journey to uncover her past takes [...]

    9. I waited 48 hours after finishing this book to write this because I wanted to be sure that I would not change my mind, and I didn't. I don't normally review books that I do not care for because it just seems a not very nice thing to do. After all, someone put a lot of time and effort in to create something I assume they are proud to present for my enjoyment. Really and truly though, I thought this was just awful. I have read some of the other glowing reviews and am beginning to wonder if maybe I [...]

    10. I absolutely hated this book. The dialogue is plodding, the storyline flows badly and the characterisation is terrible. I struggled to understand the responses of the characters to events around them. The lead charachter, Phoebe, is an annoying, passive girl who seems completely oblivious to the obvious twist and seems bizarrely unaffected by all the terrible things that seem to regularly happen to her. It's just.ying! I'm afraid that once the storyline became too soap opera, I realised I didn't [...]

    11. It is a little while since I finished it, but I loved everything about The Somnambulist. As the elaborately attractive design on the cover suggests, it gives an intricate insight into life in the East End of Victorian London. And there I met Phoebe Turner and her controlling, Hallelujah Army flag waving mother, Maud, and her ever fun-loving actress sister, Phoebe's Aunt Cissy. I can remember having to ignore a lot of the other mundane stuff going on around me, as each new mystery unfolded and un [...]

    12. All families have hidden secrets among its confidants with outsiders being completely unaware. Victorian England was no exception with many skeletons lurking in family closets. Essie Fox explores this theme in, “The Somnambulist”. “The Somnambulist” follows Phoebe Turner, a seventeen-year-old girl who lives with her mother, Maud , and stage actress aunt, Cissy. Cissy is intertwined with a gentleman Nathanial whom after Cissy’s sudden death; takes in Phoebe as a companion to his wife (w [...]

    13. La sonnambula di Essie Fox è uno dei romanzi pubblicati nel 2011 che più mi ha incuriosito, attratto e, una volta letto, stregato.Le motivazioni che mi hanno spinto verso questo libro sono molteplici: innanzitutto l’ambientazione scelta dall’autrice per la sua storia, l’Inghilterra vittoriana e l’ambiente dei music hall hanno un fascino misterioso e sempre unico; altro aspetto attraente è la presenza, già dal titolo, del dipinto di Millais raffigurante la ormai celebre sonnambula dur [...]

    14. Even though I really disliked Elijah's Mermaid, mainly due to the utter ridiculousness of its plot, I was still amenable to trying The Somnambulist. It's Essie Fox's first novel and I've had the sample sitting on my Kindle since the book was first published; it's only because I came across it in the library that I've now read it.It is not good. The best I can say is that it's not actively terrible apart from one particular aspect, of which more later. It certainly manages to avoid EM's error of [...]

    15. Essie Fox is a cruel and evil woman. Honestly, her debut novel is so stunning she deprived me of sleep last night. I must have told myself ‘just one more chapter’ at least ten times, to absolutely no avail. It was possibly almost *cough* 4 am by the time I was finally able to put this book down. And I was so hooked that I woke up this morning, made myself a drink and dove straight back in. So I retract my earlier comment, Fox isn’t cruel and evil she is actually incredibly talented. The st [...]

    16. In Phoebe Turner’s Victorian home hangs a painting. The Somnambulist. It reminds her of her dear Aunt Cissy, a music hall beauty who she wishes were her mother. Instead, Maud is a strict Christian, pounding the streets with the Hallelujah Army and severely disapproving of Cissy’s sinful life as a singer. When Phoebe glimpses the world inside Wilton’s Music Hall one night, she also draws the attention of men who will change her life forever. Soon her family home is at risk and she must move [...]

    17. This book, tho'. It reformed all my notions of modern gothic fiction, so painstaking constructed by Kate Morton and Diane Setterfield. I never would have expected things to get this dark and horrible. This is the social commentary of Daniel Deronda with the unrelenting wretchedness of Wuthering Heights. Now, I use the words "horrible" and "wretched" not because this is a bad book, but because you will have to witness utter betrayal, degradation, and loss.I think that the real difference between [...]

    18. Ooh, ooh, I really want Ms Fox's marketing team. That way I'd become Supernurse Extraordinaire: celebrities would discuss me on television, my research papers would get little Specsavers-sponsored stickers on the front and get their own wee display in the library, and people would flock to my blog on catheterisation (um, OK, maybe not the last one). Ahh, the life I would leadBecause really, when it boils down to it, this isn't a very good book. Meticulously researched, certainly, but the executi [...]

    19. I stopped reading this about a quarter of the way through. I suspect the problem I had was that I imagine books in a very different way to the author. I think this is the case because I became aware of very precise visual descriptions when I was reading the book. In fact, they began to annoy me a bit. This makes me suspect that Essie Fox imagines books mainly visually and so was giving lots of visual cues to help her readers experience the story. However, I mainly imagine what it would feel like [...]

    20. The Somnambulist is a dark neo-Victorian Gothic romance, with lots of unexpected twists and turns. The 19th century atmosphere is so vividly realised, you can hear the horses’ hooves clopping and taste the fog on your tongue. Phoebe Turner lives with her Bible-thumping mother and her young and beautiful aunt, who used to be a singer. A chance encounter at a music-hall changes Phoebe’s life forever, catapulting her into a world of dark secrets. She travels to Dinwood Court to work as a compan [...]

    21. I have mixed feelings about this book. I awarded it 4 stars because I did really enjoy it, however I also found it depressing, pretty much all the way through, and there were some occasions where I wanted to shake the main character.The author describes locations beautifully. I was completely immersed in the characters’ worlds in London and the Herefordshire countryside. I loved the contrast between the two places and the author’s exploration of the different social classes at the time, from [...]

    22. Average. I'm not sure why, but I had been expecting more from this. Really, it's just light melodramatic reading. Slightly Victorian gothic in that the women mostly seem to be consumptive or at the least very dominating and abused by men, and dying tragic deaths. But the main character, Phoebe, gets to be tiresome in her offense at the truths people have kept from her, how things aren't going her way, how people don't always do what she wants them to do there's a man who apparently breaks her he [...]

    23. This was a bit of a disappointment to be honest. For me it seemed like it didn't really know what sort of tale it wanted to be. I thought it may have been a ghost story in the same vein as "A Woman in Black" but no. It didn't have the depth of a lot of historical novels yet neither was it on the "lighter" side (think Amanda Quick!) I'm not sure which way I would want it to go but would have just liked a bit more definition to give the tale a bit of oomph! The relationships between the characters [...]

    24. I did enjoy this, but not as much as I thought I would. The plot was convoluted, yet I still managed to guess most of the twists before they happened, which let it down a bit. I liked the setting and most of the characters, but the story was paced a bit strangely and I sometimes found it a bit hard to pick back up.

    25. I'm always intrigued to read Victorian/Gothic novels and with a beautiful cover this book lured me in for an enjoyable read.It wasn't fast paced, and I did feel it was a little manic in places with too many threads going on which confused me at times - that could just be me! - but overall it was an interesting look behind closed doors at those family secrets that are always lurking and always reveal themselves to the despair of those trying to escape them.

    26. Reviewed on my blog - Books by Proxy4.5 StarsI first discovered the work of Essie Fox through her blog, The Virtual Victorian. I had been writing my dissertation and had been musing on Penhaligon’s Hammam Bouquet, a Victorian fragrance inspired by Turkish Baths, when a random search took me into Fox’s world of Victoriana. After reading through countless posts I discovered that Essie Fox had also become a published author of fiction. I knew that if I saw The Somnambulist I would buy it; Fox [...]

    27. 'Every heart holds a secret''Some secrets are better left buried' - front & back cover tag lines. In principle the synopsis for this novel does sound very much the epitome of Victorian Gothic: an innocent girl arrives at a secluded stately home staffed with unwelcoming servants, there is a neurotic mistress of the house still mourning an untimely death, a dash of spiritualism, a ghostly presence, dark and menacing woods and lots of secrets. Yet somehow these ingredients just didn't add up fo [...]

    28. In her debut novel, The Somnambulist, author Essie Fox writes a gothic tale about seventeen year-old Phoebe Turner living with a puritanical mother, Maude, whose prude ideas and values motivates her to go about East London engaging in activism, vowing to shut down theatres. Phoebe’s Aunt Cissy, on the other hand, is the complete opposite of Phoebe’s mother - an actress and singer performing at Wilton’s Musical Hall. Aunt Cissy takes Phoebe to Wilton’s Musical Hall often and introduces he [...]

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