Paris. 1870. A young woman named Odile is fighting to survive on the blood-soaked streets in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War. Luckily, Odile finds an advantage in a bizarre birthright. She is descended from the Cagots, a much-despised race of peasants whose women were reputed to be witches. Were they, in fact?
This is the question Odile must answer about both her ancestors and herself. Meanwhile, a young Doctor Henry Jekyll, trapped in Paris himself, becomes very interested in the strange, transformative salts Odile is using to save her sickly brother. She needs the doctor’s help if she and her brother are to survive, but what price will she be forced to pay for it?
The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mademoiselle Odile is a prequel of sorts to Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novella, imaging how a young Henry Jekyll first became Edward Hyde, the horror who has haunted readers since his first appearance in print one hundred and twenty-five years ago.
“Unlike the female characters in Stevenson’s classic, Odile is a strong protagonist and a survivor [who] uncovers the macabre source of the mysterious transforming salts. The fascinating historical backdrop… is well integrated with the plot.”
School Library Journal
“In a style reminiscent of the original tale, Reese weaves a story of a city ravaged by war and a young girl’s struggle to fight the evil she encounters. Fans of classic Victorian literature will enjoy this ‘what if’ story about one of literature’s most infamous villains.”
“A thriller that’s steeped in historical detail. …it will hook patient readers by the palpable sense of foreboding established early on, and they will enjoy the gradual build of suspense in this gritty and layered novel.”
”Carefully researched and well written, Reese’s novel appeals on scientific, historical, mysterious, and romantic levels.”
“…successful in spinning the familiar tale into one of war and romance seen from a female perspective. The secrets to the potion are quite unexpected, and the ominous ending hits an ambiguous note too rarely seen in YA novels.”
Booklist (Daniel Kraus)
“…well suited to readers who enjoy period drama laced with a bit of tame horror and not-so-tame blackmail.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books