Sixteen-year-old Marnie lives in the idyllic coastal village of Clevedon. Despite being crippled by a childhood exposure to polio, she seems set to follow in her mother's footsteps, and become a 'dipper', escorting fragile female bathers into the sea. Her life is simple and safe. But then she meets Noah. Charming, handsome, son-of-the-local-Lord, Noah. She quickly develops a passion for him - a passion which consumes her.
As Marnie's infatuation turns to fixation she starts to lose her grip on reality, and a harrowing and dangerous obsession develops that seems certain to end in tragedy. Set in the early Victorian era when propriety, modesty and repression were the rule, this is a taut psychological drama in which the breakdown of a young woman's emotional state will have a devastating impact on all those around her.
I have been excited about getting a copy of this for almost a year now and I am so glad to say it was totally worth the wait.
The Madness is a YA historical novel set in a Victorian seaside town and tells the story of Marnie, the daughter of the local dipper. A dipper is someone who helped well to do ladies dip in the sea as it was thought at the time to be beneficial to their health. Marnie assists with this day to day and it is because of her work she meets and falls completely in love with the Lord of the Manor's son Noah. Unfortunately for her his feelings towards her aren't reciprocated but Marnie doesn't see it.
I loved the historical setting. Living in a Victorian seaside town myself I geeked out over the detail and loved learning about the trade of dippers and the excitement around the building of a new pier and quite frankly I couldn't get enough of the detail. As well as that you have all the upstairs / downstairs detail and the comments on the split between classes during the Victorian period which the Downton loving part of me loved reading about.
I loved how wonderfully twisted the story became and how different you see events as a reader to how Marnie sees them with her own very biased world view. You start to see her becoming slightly unhinged once things don't go her way and right through the end of the book with your split between dreading what she might do next and needing to know anyway. Like Alison Rattle's previous book this book doesn't hide away from the darkness and wants to go to the places you don't think they will and leave you with a stunning ending.
A stunningly wonderful read which I devoured greedily which had me hooked from the first page.