Best Books List, YA/NA
The Best Victorian YA Novels

The Victorian era is one of the most popular periods in history, often being used as a backdrop for so many films, books, and video games across a number of genres – from historical fiction to science fiction. And it’s pretty easy to see why. From the costumes to the culture during that time, the changing technological landscape in a world at the cusp of industrialization, and the persisting social beliefs from the period – not to mention the ghosts and the gaslights and Jack the Ripper – there seems to be so many things about the Victorian era that makes it something worth mining in fiction.

And YA fiction is no exception. There are so many YA titles set in the Victorian era – inside and outside of the UK – and so many of them are good. So here now is a list of great YA titles set during the Victorian era. If you’re hungry for some Victorian Gothic, ghosts, or romance, pick out a book from below and check it out the next time you find yourself in a bookstore!

The Beloved by Allison Rattle

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Alice Angel has led a life of restrictions and punishments after straying from the path of Victorian values that her mother has set for her. After an incident with a charming stranger, Alice’s family decides to send her to the madhouse. But Alice won’t have any of it. She runs away and joins the Agapemonites in their Abode of Love, a colony of women ruled by ex-Reverend Henry Prince. Alice believes that she’s found her place, consumed by her passion for Prince, but the longer she stays in the sect, the more she realizes that she may be more trapped than she’s ever been.

What do the readers say?

  • “Gobbled this up in two days. A great story with a hint of supernatural (or maybe not…you decide). The threat of a madhouse, a religious cult, lush descriptions…much here to sink happy teeth into.” – E. MailmanAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

 

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

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Henrietta Howel has the power to burst into flames. She’s forced to reveal this power when she needs to save a friend, but instead of being executed, Henrietta is instead invited to train as a royal sorcerer for Her Majesty. Now, thrust in the middle of Victorian London, Henrietta is declared the chosen one, tasked to defeat bloodthirsty demons called the Ancients. Together with her fellow trainees – both charming young men – it seemed that Henrietta’s direction in life was clear. But then she finds out one thing: that she isn’t the chosen one, and that the sorcerers are playing a game of deception, of which she is part.

What do the readers say?

  • “Cluess does a wonderful job twisting Victorian England into a land at war with horrific creatures, and I really appreciated being able to see the vast difference between the comfortable, protected world of the sorcerer’s inner London and the colder, dangerous world outside the safety of the ward. The Seven Ancients, the creatures waging war on England, are delightfully weird and creepy, especially R’hlem, their leader.”- PamelaAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

the-friday-society-adrienne-kress

Cora, Michiko, and Nellie, are all assistants to powerful men, whose lives get intertwined when all of them meet each other at a ball where a mystery man gets murdered. It’s up to these three young ladies in turn-of-the-century London to solve the murder – without calling the attention of the wrong people to themselves.

What do the readers say?

  • “I thought this would be a fun bit of light reading, the kind that would be fun without requiring a lot of thought or mental effort. I was partially right, this book was great! The chapters are complete enough to almost be serialized, making easy places to stop and start without losing the theme and thread. The characters were enjoyable and believable enough to engage you. It is a fun and fast paced story, and I look forward to the next Friday Society installment with great interest. I highly recommend if you have thought about trying a streamlined book, this is a great one. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.” – Karl BardenAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

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Tessa Gray has to go to Victorian London to search for her brother, but terrifying creatures wait for her in London’s Downworld. The gaslit streets are populated with vampires, warlocks, and demons, and the only thing keeping the world safe are the Shadowhunters. Tessa is soon kidnapped by the Dark Sisters, members of the Pandemonium Club, and realizes that she is a Downworlder herself, with the ability to shapeshift into another person at will. Learning that she isn’t safe in the Pandemonium Club, Tessa seeks refuge with the Shadowhunters, where she meets two mysterious young men to whom she is drawn: James and Will. Now Tessa has to choose between saving her brother and saving the Shadowhunters – a difficult decision that might affect all.

What do the readers say?

  • “There are plenty of intriguing mysteries and labyrinthine twists toward the end that will leave the reader far from where they were at the beginning of the book. Clare’s talent for writing well-developed and entertaining characters and her fearlessness when it comes to creating dramatic, complicated conclusions to her books will garner Clockwork Angel plenty of attention and will leave readers impatient for the sequel.” – The Compulsive ReaderAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

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Gemma Doyle is shipped to England from India after her mother commits suicide. In a boarding school called Spence, Gemma is alone and lonely and ridden with guilt. Not to mention she keeps seeing visions of the future which are likely to come true. And she’s being followed by a young Indian man, who’s supposed to watch her. Gemma must face her future and her destiny, in a place far away from home.

What do the readers say?

  • ” I fell in love with this book and Libba Bray seems quite an interesting author (an interview with Ms. Bray is included in the book). There are loose ends that tell me there will be a second novel. I hope this turns into a series. It is too good for it to be a one-time story. I recommend A Great and Terrible Beauty most highly. This novel is one of the best reading investments I’ve made thus far this year!”  – CoffeeGurlAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves

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Anna Arden’s family is of the Luminate, powerful magic users. But Anna herself is banned from society because she is Barren, unable to perform magic. And when she manages to break her sister’s debutante spell, she is exiled to her family’s native home, Hungary. There she discovers that things aren’t what they seem. All across the land, there is discontent against the Luminate, and Anna can’t stop herself from breaking spells. Now Anna becomes the catalyst of rebellion that everyone needs. With the help of nobles, revolutionaries, and the handsome Romani Gabor, Anna must decide to either deny her power or embrace it and save the world.

What do the readers say?

  • “Rosalyn Eves’ storytelling will transport you to the Victorian Era, where Anna, born barren of magic, struggles to find her identity and place in a world ruled by a magical society. In a witty and engaging style, Rosalyn weaves together a rich historical fantasy that comes complete with power struggles, political unrest, competing love interests, and magical creatures. I truly cannot say enough wonderful things about this story (and I cannot wait for book two!).” – HelenGoodreads author.[Review from Goodreads]

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

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Sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland believe they rule Manhattan’s social scene, but the pair realize that their status in society isn’t secure. And then other girls of high standing come in to further topple the sisters’ standing. Elizabeth must also choose between her duties for the Hollands and her true love. But her carriage topples into the East River one day, and now suddenly Elizabeth Holland disappears from the scene. As everyone grieves, some people wonder whether or not this was planned, and that someone wanted to see Elizabeth disappear.

What do the readers say?

  • “I am beyond shocked to learn that this is Anna Godbersen’s debut novel. From page one, her lavish descriptions of old time New York City, and high society hooked me; while her gossip-loving, well-dressed characters reeled me in. The scandal and mystery wrapped inside this charmed world, of course, didn’t hurt the story at all. Rather, it added another dimension to the tale, making it incapable for the reader to put it down. ” – Erika SoroccoAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

A Spy In the House by Y.S. Lee

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Mary Quinn is a young orphan living in 19th century London.When she is rescued from the gallows, she is surprised to be given the opportunity to study at Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls – and ultimately landing a job with the Agency, where her unusual training in the Academy will be put to the test. She disguises herself as a lady’s companion, and infiltrates the home of a rich merchant in an attempt to trace his missing cargo ships. But what she discovers is far greater, as dangerous deceptions are thick in the household and it appears as if no one can be trusted.

What do the readers say?

  • “Overall I’d say that this is an excellent read, and a great kickoff to the trilogy. Though really, why stop there? For a person unconvinced that he’d enjoy reading this novel beforehand, I must admit that I’m looking forward to reading the next two.” – K. LeeAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

something-strange-and-deadly-susan-dennard

Things aren’t going well for sixteen-year-old Eleanor Pitt. Her brother is missing, the Deads are rising in Philadelphia, and somehow she knows her brother is involved. Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces and are after the necromancer who’s reanimating the corpses. But the situation becomes worse as Eleanor Spends time with them and their handsome inventor, Daniel. Her reputation is not the only thing at risk, as Eleanor’s very existence hangs in the balance.

What do the readers say?

  • “This is a wonderful read, with humor, suspense, romance, and a dash of adventure. I look forward to reading more about Eleanor and the Spirit Hunters.” – CharleneAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

 

The Girl In the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

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Finley Jane has something inside her, and it’s the one thing that helps her fight back when a man tries to take advantage of her. She’s not normal, she knows, and the only one who can help her is Griffin King, who can see the magical darkness within her. Taking her away from the gaslit streets of Victorian England, Finley starts to believe that she’s finally part of something. But then the criminal mastermind called the Machinist comes to threaten her group apart.

What do the readers say?

  • “The Girl in the Steel Corset is an exciting new series to watch for, and one that will appeal not only to fans of steampunk, but readers who enjoy characters with enhanced abilities, a female main character with a feisty personality and the strength to back it up, a story that has action and mystery and some seriously creepy inventions, and not just one, but two love triangles.”  Fiktshun, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

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Violet Willoughby is being haunted by the ghost of a young woman, and now it’s up to Violet to solve the mystery of this girl’s violent death and prevent the ghost’s twin sister from suffering the same fate.

What do the readers say?

  • “Full of adventure, mystery, and romance, Haunting Violet is the perfect summer read. Best of all, it contains a solid, standalone ending, and what’s not to love about that?” – LaurenAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

 

 

 

Tethers by Jack Croxall

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Karl Scheffer and Esther Emerson discover an anonymous journal with strange passages and scribblings, which soon draw them into a conspiracy surrounding an otherworldly artifact. Now their uneventful lives in the market town of Shraye are taking a turn, as the allure of the journal begins to take them on a journey towards the coast and away from home, where a dark chain of events is waiting to happen.

What do the readers say?

  • “Jack draws you in with the characters and the story, both original and well thought out. I particularly liked feisty Esther and it was fabulous to see a strong female teenager who refused to hide behind her male companion, Karl. Harland and Mr Cauldwell, the main adults of the story, treat Karl and Esther with trust and respect which was refreshing to see as I have lost count of the number of stories I have read where the adults never believe the children and put things down to their ‘vivid imaginations’.” – BodiciaAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Innocent Darkness by Suzanne Lazear

innocent-darkness-suzanne-lazear

Noli Braddock and her best friend Vs are in trouble, when the Los Angeles Air Patrol catch them in their flying auto. Noli is sent to a reform school in San Francisco, and is sure that her life of adventure is over. Kevighn Silver, meanwhile, is tasked by the Faerie Queen to bring a mortal girl back to the Otherworld, whose blood is needed to keep the Otherworld from getting destroyed. And this girl, it turns out, just happens to be Noli – who manages on her own to stumble into the Otherworld, more homesick than ever.

What do the readers say?

  • “Innocent Darkness was more innocent than dark for sure, which I definitely enjoyed. I love my share of dark books, but something a less heavier was a relief. Not that it’s completely light. But I loved the steampunk elements that were thrown in along with the faery aspects! It’s incredibly contradicting actually, but I loved the way Suzanne Lazear wrote it!” – Nikki WangAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan

the-beautiful-and-the-cursed-page-morgan

After an accident, Ingrid Waverly, her sister Gabby, and her mother, all have to leave London for the unfamiliar world of Paris. There, there are no balls or glittering gowns, and the house that her brother Grayson managed to secure doesn’t seem to be a house at all but an abandoned abbey, with gargoyles lining the roof. And Grayson is missing. No one knows where he is except for their handsome servant Luc. Ingrid knows her brother isn’t dead, but the path to discovering his whereabouts is treacherous. Ingrid knows that her brother is in danger, and it’s up to her and Gabby to find him before all hope is lost.

What do the readers say?

  • “Overall, THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED was everything I hoped for and more. I loved the quick-witted writing, the enchanting world setting, the deadly creatures out for blood, the demon hunters cutting them down in the blink of an eye, the fierce character development, and the heart-breaking romance. If you like thrilling paranormal, with deadly creatures, set in the historical world in the dazzling City of Paris, with addicting characters and bitter sweet romances, then THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED is DEFINITELY one book you DON’T wanna miss!” – Alicia, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

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Will Henry is an orphan, and the assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a man fascinated by monsters. Will has long adjusted to the kind of lifestyle Dr. Warthrop leads, and isn’t surprised by a lot of things anymore. But then one day a visitor comes to their doorstep, carrying the body of a young girl, along with a monster that’s eating her: an Anthropophagus, a threat Will and Dr. Warthrop never thought they’d ever face. Now Anthropophagi are appearing all around them, and it’s up to the both of them to stop the threat before it’s too late.

What do the readers say?

  • “Overall, it’s a singularly well-written book, a riveting display of the horror genre, and, for young Will Henry, a nightmarish coming-of-age tale. Best of all? It’s the first of a series. If we are to vicariously hunt more creatures and things that go bump in the night, then, count me in. I haven’t had this much fun in a long time.” – KCAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo

stalking-jack-the-ripper-kerri-mansicaloAudrey Rose Wadsworth is a lord’s daughter, and is no stranger to wealth and well-fitting dresses. But beyond that life of privilege, she leads a secret existence: the study of forensic medicine. Her work leads her to a case involving a string of savage, brutal murders, and her attempt to find answers brings her closer to the most unexpected place: her own world of privilege and wealth.

What do the readers say?

  • “Intriguing characters and story! The right amount of suspense, mystery, friendship, science and curiosity! I truly enjoyed the book and can’t wait to read more about Audrey Rose and Thomas!” – Gilberta SantanaAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

 

Dark Mirror by Mary Jo Putney

dark-mirror-mary-jo-putney

Victoria Mansfield is the youngest daughter of the Earl of Fairmount, and is being prepared for her debut in London society, to find a mate worthy of her standing. But Tory has a dark secret: her blood is tainted by magic, and this threatens to destroy her standing in society. When her skill is exposed, she is exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school where she’s supposed to learn how to suppress her talents. After that, if she’s lucky, she can reenter society again. But Tory’s world has been shaken forever, and ever known continues to be challenged.

What do the readers say?

  • “This book has a great adventure, time travel, history and a group of young people who sincerely believe that they can help their country. Tory is a wonderful caring girl who is no push over but who wants to help others and learn as much about herself as she can. The characters are well developed and funny. The plot is well crafted and I found myself rooting for the young people to pull off their plan to help. I’ve already started Dark Passage, I can’t wait to see what happens next.” – chb-book addictAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

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Mary Shelley Black’s world is filled with people wearing masks to ward off the Spanish influenza, and young men being shipped off to fight in the war. In a world that’s intimately entwined with death, people flock to seances to talk to spirits. Mary herself has never believed in ghosts, but a moment in her life starts to make her rethink all that she’s believed in, when she meets the ghost of a boy who died in battle. But Mary has to know first what he wants from her.

What do the readers say?

  • “In the Shadow of Blackbirds is more of an experience than it is a book. It’s haunting, emotional and wonderfully written, but it’s also educational and thought-provoking. Some striking photographs from this historical period feature throughout, adding an extra special touch to this remarkable debut novel.” – SamAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Night of Elisa by Isis Sousa

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Elisa is taken by the devil as his wife, taking away from her everything she holds dear. Now Elisa is trapped between living and the world beyond-living, and struggling to live for a better tomorrow. Elisa’s health is deteriorating, but she’s determined to stand her ground.

What do the readers say?

  • “The Night of Elisa is such a fun book. Not in a sense that it’s a cutesey read. But it’s so fun to immerse yourself in the world of Duskland. This is a novel heavy on the Gothic side, and it’s all done perfectly right. I honestly feel like Isis Sousa has transcended the confines of genres with The Night of Elisa. If you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?!” – Kristen @ Pretty Little PagesAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall by Mary Downing Hahn

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Florence’s new life begins at Crutchfield Hall, an old manor house in the English countryside where her aunt and her uncle live. Looking forward to a life far different from the orphanage she grew up in, Florence expects that things will be better. But there’s a surprise waiting for her at Crutchfield Hall – the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who haunts the empty halls and chambers of the manor. And what’s worse, she wants to use Florence to fulfill her murderous goals. Now Florence has to convince the other members of the household and stop Sophia’s plans from happening, before it’s too late.

What do the readers say?

  • “This is a book that I would highly recommend for any child who is fond of ghost stories. The writing is wonderful, the characters are nicely drawn, and the story has some very eerie, scary moments. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.” – BookphileAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Boneseeker by Brynn Chapman

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Arabella Holmes, with the help of her father Sherlock, lands a position at Mutter Museum, where she can become what she’s always wanted to be: a purveyor of abnormal science. A Boneseeker. But there’s a catch: teenage Henry Watson is assigned to watch over her. Arabella isn’t much fond of Henry, but the two teenagers must set their differences aside when the hand of a Nephilim is unearthed in New York. The discovery sets the scientific world, and Henry and Arabella’s own world, into frenzy, as speculations surrounding the existence of angels from a time before fill the air, and that their lives are in danger in the frenzied search for the truth.

What do the readers say?

  • “The premise of the story deals with bones thought to be those of fallen angels or neanderthals. It is very exciting and the plot moves very quickly! The settings are intriguing and the way they are described make you feel as if you are immersed in the story. I could feel the gloom and damp. That is rare in so many books! Boneseeker is a book I highly recommend, and I give it 5 stars!” – Christy M., Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Ministry of Pandemonium by Chris Westwood

ministry-of-pandemonium-chris-westwood

Ben Harvester’s life changes when he meets a certain Mr. October in Highgate Cemetery. He is introduced to the Ministry of Pandemonium, where he helps guide the dead to the afterlife. But in the darkness are forces that threaten to topple the Ministry and lead the newly-dead astray. And then Ben’s mother becomes ill, and now Ben begins to wonder whether or not he can still continue his work for the Ministry.

What do the readers say?

  • “Chris Westwood is a skilled story teller and I found myself very invested in the adventures of Ben Harvester and friends. It is a clever concept executed very well. While I am not a younger reader myself, I’ve already bought a copy for my nephew (couldn’t bear to part with my own) as I’m sure he will be as entertained by the Ministry of Pandemonium as I was.”  thelastressort, Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier

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Blackthorn, a magical healer, sets aside all thoughts of vengeance against the man who destroyed all she held dear, when he helps her escape imprisonment. Now free, she travels to Dalriada with her former prison mate Grim, to live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, prepared to help anyone who needs her help. And it just so happens that the prince of Dalriada, Oran, needs her help. He is to be married to the Lady Flidais, a woman from nightmares. Now Blackthorn and Grim must do all that they can to save Oran from the deadly marriage.

What do the readers say?

  • “I really enjoyed this book. The viewpoint characters all have distinct, interesting voices. The setting is interesting, and the plot is well-paced. If you’ve read any of Mette Ives Harrison’s books you may see the twist coming, but Marillier puts her own spin on it.” – LeighAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Dissever by Tracy Ward

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Anna is her father’s pawn. Roarke is an outsider who belongs to a clan living in a distant wood. Roarke is prepared to do anything for Anna, whom he has loved all his life. But Anna is to be married to the man her father wants her to marry, and her fate seems inevitable. But Roarke and Anna discover that everything is not what it seems, and that the lies that they’re starting to unravel might be the key to bringing the two of them together.

What do the readers say?

  • “Anna and Ro made me swoon. Their story was not the usual cookie cutter romance. It was tragic from the first day they met, and I adored it. Whenever I reached the tattoo scene, I had to stop and weep. It was so beautiful. Tracey did a wonderful job at writing a romance that stands out against so many others in this genre.” – Kristen @ Pretty Little PagesAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Ruby In the Smoke by Phillip Pullman

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Sally Lockhart must journey through the darkness of Victorian London, in an attempt to search for clues that she hopes will lead her to unravel the mystery of her father’s death.

What do the readers say?

  • “Its a very entertaining story! I couldnt stop reading until the end.
    It’s for everybody not just kids. The characters are very different and attracting.”  – 
    Claudia SchneiderAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

 

 

 

Velvet by Mary Hooper

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Velvet works as a laundress in a Victorian steam laundry. With no one to rely on but herself, Velvet has to work hard to create a better life for herself. And this better life seems to come when she is noticed by the medium Madame Savoya, who wants to employ her. Velvet agrees, and finds herself dazzled by Madame Savoya, but then realizes soon that the woman is not what she seems. And then suddenly, Velvet’s life is in danger.

What do the readers say?

  • “The book is based on sound fact as it is widely known that many Victorians, including such famous figures as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, regularly attended séances and visited mediums, and also it is well documented that many of the women who claimed to have psychic powers ended up being prosecuted for fraud. The picture of the life of the girls in the steam laundry and also the glimpse of the terrible baby farm are also convincing. Ms Hooper has done her research well and includes some excellent historical notes and even a bibliography at the end of the book. A great read for young teenage readers.” – JanAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

The Mirk and the Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson

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Violet Dancey lives in Mississippi with her laudanum-addicted stepmother and lovesick stepsister, while her father is fighting a war that has already claimed her brother. When she discovers an injured Union soldier in an abandoned lodge in the woods, her life begins to change. Thomas is one of the enemy, the people who killed her brother, but she can’t help but feel drawn to him. But Violet discovers that Thomas isn’t the only visitor in the area. Someone has been taking care of him and tending to his wounds, and it becomes clear to her that it’s not care done out of compassion. Now Violet has to fight to protect her home and her family, and to protect the man she’s falling in love with.

What do the readers say?

  • “Overall, this novel was thoughtful, interesting, romantic, dramatic, and just simply amazing. I loved the topic of the Civil War, especially the southern viewpoint and setting of the novel. I also loved the insightful characters, the interesting plot, perfect dialogue, and true writing. Put all of those things together and you have an amazing novel sure to delight readers of all kinds. I definitely recommend this novel to everyone.” – Mckenzie T., Amazon user. [Review from Amazon]

Of Monsters and Madness by Jessica Verday

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Annabel Lee moves from Siam to Philadelphia, after her father summons her not long after her mother’s death. But her father isn’t pleased with her, repulsed as he is by her and her different upbringing. Annabel finds solace in her father’s assistant, Allan, however, who writes when he’s not helping with medical advancements. And then there’s Edgar, another assistant, a devilish young man who strangely looks like Allan, and whose existence is denied by everyone she knows. When a string of murders occurs across Philadelphia and her father starts behaving more and more strangely, Annabel starts to look for the truth. What she discovers is the terrible truth: Edgar and Allan are two sides of the same person, and they’re about to realize the crimes that Allan has written in his stories.

What do the readers say?

  • “I have never read any book by Jessica Verday, but after reading this book, I am a fan. The characters were unique, as was the story. Although I thought that I might have had it figured out half way through, I was wrong. It wasn’t until I started to near the last quarter of the book where I started to figure things out.” – Jump Into BooksAmazon user. [Review from Amazon]

And again, there you go! We’ve arrived at the end of our list, and what a pretty long list it is. There’s certainly a whole lot more great YA books set during the Victorian era, so if we’ve missed listing down a few good ones, do let us know!

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