Lady Helena Hartford’s life is in danger. Her nephew by
marriage, The Bishop of Sissinghurst, wants her confined to
Hospital so he can have
control of her fortune, which she brought into her marriage.
She’s done well at avoiding capture so far, but when she
meets the Bishop’s agents at a London opium den one night
she thinks her luck has run out.
But there is someone else at the den that evening. Nicholas
Ramsay is the richest man in
England. A loner, he is
rarely seen, and when he appears at her side, Helena is sure he’s there to hurt her. She
runs from him, only to find him at her ruined studio later
in the evening.
When he rescues her yet again she finds out he has a task
for her artistic talents. He wants her to accompany him to
Tierra del Fuego to sketch evidence that backs up
Darwin’s theory of evolution. Ramsay
no choice but to go with him. She’s sure he’s up to no good,
but at this point he’s the lesser of two evils.
Or so she thinks.
Man is like its hero, complex, dark and a little
sinister. The novel explores evil in its many shapes and
forms, and it does it in such detail that at times I found
myself cringing and wanting to stop reading. But I couldn’t.
I felt compelled to turn the pages and see what happened
next, to watch it play out like a production on a stage.
is a tragic, yet strong, character. Men have controlled her
entire life, when all she wants is to be left alone to
practice her art. I truly felt empathy for her, and hated
the things she had to go through. Ramsay is a tortured hero,
and at times it was hard for me to like him. But he stayed
true to his character and in the end redeemed himself,
despite doing some things that made me want to smack him.
When I was done reading, it took me a while to try and form
an opinion of this book. It had provoked strong emotions in
me, ranging from empathy to hate to love, and anything that
can do that deserves a nod and a nudge to friends that you
should, “try this book.” It’s not a light read, but in the
end I’m glad I took the journey.