When we last saw the members of The Athena Club (Mary Jekyll, Diana Hyde, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau and Justine Frankenstein) at the end of The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, they were gathered in the parlor and had just received two letters: one from Mary’s former governess, Mina Murray; the other from Lucinda Van Helsing. Both are asking for assistance and The Athena Club decides that they must help. And so begins the new adventure with the daughters of some of speculative fiction’s maddest scientists in European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman.
Goss’ new novel picks up right where The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter ended: with the letters from Murray and Van Helsing (both references to Bram Stoker’s Dracula). After a brief discussion, they decide to split up. Catherine, Diana and Beatrice will stay in London in an attempt to continue their investigation into the odious endeavors of the Alchemical Society. Mary and Justine will make their way to Budapest on the Orient Express to save Lucinda. Of course, it will come as no surprise to readers of the first book that Diana stows away on the ferry crossing the channel to travel to the continent with Mary and Justine!
While The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter was a race to identify and apprehend the perpetrator of a series of murders in Whitechapel, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman is exactly what the title implies: an international mission of intrigue and suspense. Like the earlier novel, this one too is a rousing adventure story with the “girl monsters, or in some cases monstrous young women,” and it is filled with thrills, twists, and more than a few surprises. During the course of the novel, members of The Athena Club will cross paths with Irene Adler, a group of travelling circus performers, Sigmund Freud and a very famous Transylvanian Count! All of this along with the wit, charm, energy and fantastic sense of period and place that made The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter a standout novel of 2017.
The ending of European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman is more than a bit of a cliffhanger, but Goss is currently working on the third book in the trilogy (as of yet, there is no publication date.)