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The Daughter of Doctor Moreau
Cover of The Daughter of Doctor Moreau
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the bestselling author of Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night comes a lavish historical drama reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico.
“This is historical science fiction at its best: a dreamy reimagining of a classic story with vivid descriptions of lush jungles and feminist themes. Some light romance threads through the heavier ethical questions concerning humanity.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“The imagination of Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a thing of wonder, restless and romantic, fearless in the face of genre, embracing the polarities of storytelling—the sleek and the bizarre, wild passions and deep hatreds—with cool equanimity.”—The New York Times (Editors Choice)


ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, Time, NPR

Carlota Moreau: A young woman growing up on a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of a researcher who is either a genius or a madman.
Montgomery Laughton: A melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.
The hybrids: The fruits of the doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.
All of them live in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Dr. Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.
For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and, in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau
is both a dazzling historical novel and a daring science fiction journey.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the bestselling author of Mexican Gothic and Velvet Was the Night comes a lavish historical drama reimagining of The Island of Doctor Moreau set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Mexico.
“This is historical science fiction at its best: a dreamy reimagining of a classic story with vivid descriptions of lush jungles and feminist themes. Some light romance threads through the heavier ethical questions concerning humanity.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“The imagination of Silvia Moreno-Garcia is a thing of wonder, restless and romantic, fearless in the face of genre, embracing the polarities of storytelling—the sleek and the bizarre, wild passions and deep hatreds—with cool equanimity.”—The New York Times (Editors Choice)


ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, Time, NPR

Carlota Moreau: A young woman growing up on a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The only daughter of a researcher who is either a genius or a madman.
Montgomery Laughton: A melancholic overseer with a tragic past and a propensity for alcohol. An outcast who assists Dr. Moreau with his experiments, which are financed by the Lizaldes, owners of magnificent haciendas and plentiful coffers.
The hybrids: The fruits of the doctor’s labor, destined to blindly obey their creator and remain in the shadows. A motley group of part human, part animal monstrosities.
All of them live in a perfectly balanced and static world, which is jolted by the abrupt arrival of Eduardo Lizalde, the charming and careless son of Dr. Moreau’s patron, who will unwittingly begin a dangerous chain reaction.
For Moreau keeps secrets, Carlota has questions, and, in the sweltering heat of the jungle, passions may ignite.

The Daughter of Doctor Moreau
is both a dazzling historical novel and a daring science fiction journey.
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  • From the cover Chapter 1

    Carlota


    They’d be arriving that day, the two gentlemen, their boat gliding through the forest of mangroves. The jungle teemed with noises, birds crying out in sonorous discontent as if they could foretell the approach of intruders. In their huts, behind the main house, the hybrids were restless. Even the old donkey, eating its corn, seemed peevish.

    Carlota had spent a long time contemplating the ceiling of her room the previous night, and in the morning her belly ached like it always did when she was nervous. Ramona had to brew her a cup of bitter orange tea. Carlota didn’t like when her nerves got the best of her, but Dr. Moreau seldom had visitors. Their isolation, her father said, did her good. When she was little she’d been ill, and it was important that she rest and remain calm. Besides, the hybrids made proper company impossible. When someone stopped at Yaxaktun it was either Francisco Ritter, her father’s lawyer and correspondent, or Hernando Lizalde.

    Mr. Lizalde always came alone. Carlota was never introduced to him. Twice she’d seen him walking from afar, outside the house, with her father. He left quickly; he didn’t stay the night in one of the guest rooms. And he didn’t visit often, anyway. His presence was mostly felt in letters, which arrived every few months.

    Now Mr. Lizalde, who was a distant presence, a name spoken but never manifested, was visiting and not only visiting but he’d be bringing with him a new mayordomo. For nearly a year since Melquíades had departed, the reins of Yaxaktun had been solely in the hands of the doctor, an inadequate situation since he spent most of his time busy in the lab or deep in contemplation. Her father, however, didn’t seem inclined to find a steward.

    “The doctor, he’s too picky,” Ramona said, brushing the tangles and knots out of Carlota’s hair. “Mr. Lizalde, he sends him letters, and he says here’s one gentleman, here’s another, but your father always replies no, this one won’t do, neither will the other. As if many people would come here.”

    “Why wouldn’t people want to come to Yaxaktun?” Carlota asked.

    “It’s far from the capital. And you know what they say. All of them, they complain it’s too close to rebel territory. They think it’s the end of the world.”

    “It’s not that far,” Carlota said, though she only understood the peninsula by the maps in books where distances were flattened and turned into black-­and-­white lines.

    “It’s mighty far. Makes most people think twice when they’re used to cobblestones and newspapers each morning.”

    “Why did you come to work here, then?”

    “My family, they picked me a husband but he was bad. Lazy, did nothing all day, then he beat me at night. I didn’t complain, not for a long time. Then one morning he hit me hard. Too hard. Or maybe as hard as every other time, but I wouldn’t take it any longer. So I grabbed my things and I went away. I came to Yaxaktun because nobody can find you here,” Ramona said with a shrug. “But it’s not the same for others. Others want to be found.”

    Ramona was not quite old; the lines fanning her eyes were shallow, and her hair was speckled with a few strands of gray. But she spoke in a measured tone, and she spoke of many things, and Carlota considered her very wise.

    “You think the new mayordomo won’t like it here? You think he’ll want to be found?”

    “Who can...
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 7, 2022
    In this thorny riff on The Island of Doctor Moreau, bestseller Moreno-Garcia (Mexican Gothic) interweaves several threads in 19th-century Mexico. Carlota, the naive daughter of a mad scientist bent on creating a race of hybrid animal-humans in remote Yaxaktun, strains against the boundaries of her life as she searches for love and connection beyond the world her father has engineered to contain her; Montgomery, a caretaker who self-medicates with alcohol in order to cope with a tragic past, pines for Carlota even as she explores her attraction to Eduardo, the spoiled aristocratic son of her father’s benefactor; and the hybrid creatures created by the eponymous doctor struggle to maintain their autonomy and personhood as the forces surrounding them attempt to subjugate their wills for their own ends. Moreno-Garcia’s worldbuilding chops are on display as she creates a distinct, vibrant backdrop to her audacious retelling. The prose, however, exhibits a cold remove that occasionally makes it difficult to remain invested in the action, and though the characters’ arcs reach satisfying conclusions, wonky pacing makes the work of reaching them a challenge. The third act rights the ship, however, with an ending that will linger long in readers’ minds. Fans of cerebral, atmospheric historical horror won’t want to miss this. Agent: Eddie Schneider, JABberwocky Literary.

  • AudioFile Magazine Gisela Ch�pe's performance of this audiobook is exceptionally touching. She deftly captures the spirit of these richly defined characters and the mood of mounting dread. Set in the Yucat�n peninsula during the 1800s, Moreno-Garcia's audiobook is a recasting of H.G. Wells's mysterious scientist who builds animal-human hybrids. When the truth behind this disturbing story becomes clear, it threatens to upend the lives of Dr. Moreau's family. The story's perspective alternates between Carlota, Moreau's young daughter, who loves the world of the hacienda, and Montgomery, the hacienda's overseer. Ch�pe's voice effectively moves between these two points of view, embodying the theatrical, action-filled story's combination of science fiction and coming-of-age excitement. S.P.C. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine
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