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A Treacherous Likeness by Lynn Shepherd

A Treacherous Likeness

Literary Fiction   Books of the Month   Crime / Mystery   Historical Fiction   eBook Favourites   
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Selected by Sarah Broadhurst

August 2013 Book of the Month.

The compelling follow-up to Tom-All-Alone’s. Lynn Shepherd once again uses rigorous research to explore and fictionalise the mysterious, apparent suicide of the first wife of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Perfect reading for fans of Sarah Waters and P.D. James’s Death Comes to Pemberley.

Click here to read the wonderful Lovereading Readers' Reviews for Tom-All-Alone's, the prequel to A Treacherous Likeness.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for A Treacherous Likeness, a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'I was immediately transported to a world full of intrigue and secrecy, where the lives of real heroes collide with imaginary ones...Beautifully written, this is an irresistible read.' Scroll down to read more reviews.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst


A Treacherous Likeness by Lynn Shepherd

In the dying days of 1850 the young detective Charles Maddox takes on a new case. His client? The only surviving son of the long-dead poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and his wife Mary, author of Frankenstein.

Charles soon finds himself being drawn into the bitter battle being waged over the poet's literary legacy, but then he makes a chance discovery that raises new doubts about the death of Shelley's first wife, Harriet, and he starts to question whether she did indeed kill herself, or whether what really happened was far more sinister than suicide. As he's drawn deeper into the tangled web of the past, Charles discovers darker and more disturbing secrets, until he comes face to face with the terrible possibility that his own great-uncle is implicated in a conspiracy to conceal the truth that stretches back more than thirty years. The story of the Shelleys is one of love and death, of loss and betrayal. In this follow-up to the acclaimed Tom-All-Alone's, Lynn Shepherd offers her own fictional version of that story, which suggests new and shocking answers to mysteries that still persist to this day, and have never yet been fully explained.


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review A Treacherous Likeness. You can read their reviews below.

Francesca Ashurst - 'Lynn Shepherd’s stunning new novel ‘A Treacherous Likeness’ is so gripping that I couldn’t put it down. I was immediately transported to a world full of intrigue and secrecy, where the lives of real heroes collide with imaginary ones...Beautifully written, this is an irresistible read.' Click here to read the full review.

Julie Bickerdyke - 'What a book! Lynn Shepherd has created a fabulous story that fits in well with known facts but has the reader shocked and horrified at times...The tale attempts to answer some of the many mysteries surrounding the Shelly’s and does so with very plausibly.' Click here to read the full review.

Sue Broom - 'Lynn Shepherd is such a talented author and is fast becoming one of my favourites...Her writing is a joy. Fluent, lively, fast-paced and enthralling.' Click here to read the full review.

Megan Olwen Williams - 'The twists and turns in the novel never failed to surprise and delight me and meant it was impossible to disengage from the story or lose interest.' Click here to read the full review.

Stephanie Harding - 'This book has a very gothic feel running through it, no doubt because the subject is The Shelleys...A great book to read on a cold, foggy evening curled up in front of the fire.' Click here to read the full review.

Helen Sidebottom
- 'This book tells a complex story of the blindness of love which leads to betrayal and acts of despair.' Click here to read the full review.

Magda North - 'The writing is faultless and the research exquisite. Lynn Shepherd totally nails her era... If you're a fan of the romantic period you would get much more from this book.' Click here to read the full review.

Clare Topping -
' Just when you think that you have figured out the underlying plot the author adds in another twist to prove you wrong and make you change your mind about them all over again. Definitely a worthy follow up to Tom-All-Alone’s.' Click here to read the full review.

Ray Orgill
- 'What caused the death of Harriet, the first wife of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, murder or suicide? This is the theme running through this immaculately researched novel.' Click here to read the full review.


Praise for Tom-All-Alone's:

"A brilliant and sinister remake of Bleak House, exposing the vicious underworld of Victorian London. Totally gripping." (John Carey)

"Dickens' world described with modern precision." (The Times)

"Beaitifully absorbing read". (Literary Review)

"A necessary eye for squalor, meticulous research and deft plotting make this a'll be guaranteed to enjoy." (Guardian)

About the Author

Lynn Shepherd

Lynn Shepherd lives near Oxford, with her husband. She studied English at Oxford in the 1980s, and went back to do a doctorate in 2003. In between she spent 15 years in business, first in the City, and later in PR and has been a professional copywriter for the last ten years. She published her first novel Murder at Mansfield Park in 2010. Find out more on

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Book Info

Publication date

1st August 2013


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Corsair an imprint of Constable and Robinson


416 pages


Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Crime / Mystery
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Crime & mystery



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