A chilling historical mystery set against the gothic backdrop of Victorian London: The Small Museum by Jody Cooksley #TheSmallMuseum #NetGalley

London, 1873. Madeleine Brewster’s marriage to Dr Lucius Everley was meant to be the solution to her family’s sullied reputation. After all, Lucius is a well-respected collector of natural curiosities, his ‘Small Museum’ of bones and things in jars is his pride and joy, although kept under lock and key. His sister Grace’s philanthropic work with fallen women is also highly laudable. However, Maddie is confused by and excluded from what happens in what is meant to be her new home.
Maddie’s skill at drawing promises a role for her though when Lucius agrees to let her help him in making a breakthrough in evolutionary science, a discovery of the first ‘fish with feet’. But the more Maddie learns about both Lucius and Grace, the more she suspects that unimaginable horrors lie behind their polished reputations.
Framed for a crime that would take her to the gallows and leave the Everleys unencumbered, Maddie’s only hope is her friend Caroline Fairly. But will she be able to put the pieces together before the trial reaches its fatal conclusion?


Hi and welcome to my review of The Small Museum!

Honestly, they had me at the cover and the blurb just confirmed my hunch: The Small Museum was a book I had to read! As it turns out, my magpie eyes and spidey-senses did not lead me astray this time, The Small Museum was 100% up my street and I had a fantastic time with it.

Admittedly, I did not choose the best time to read The Small Museum, or come to think of it, maybe it was the best time, after all. After a devastating discovery and the consequent heartbreak and lack of sleep, I needed a book to take my mind off things, to offer me some respite. On days like that, it takes a special kind of book to capture my attention, and hold it. The Small Museum did that, and believe me, that’s no small feat. 

I do love Victorian London as a setting, the Victorian era is my favourite era, so many things in motion, so much curiosity and curios, so much research and so many discoveries, so many creepy things in jars. It’s the perfect era for an eerie mystery, and that eeriness does permeate the entire story. Besides the all but mandatory mansion, The Small Museum also takes its reader to the Marlborough Assizes, which was really interesting.

The Small Museum tells the story of Maddie. The trial storyline is told from the perspective of her friend Caroline, the before chapters are from Maddie’s own POV. I did see many a thing coming that Maddie did not, but I didn’t care because I was so wrapped up in her side of things, feeling sorry for her, and wondering how things came to a head, with her being on trial, and whether Caroline would manage to save her.

The Small Museum is a captivating gothic mystery with very dark edges. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to fans of the genre.

The Small Museum is out in hardcover and digital formats on 16 May.

Massive thanks to Allison & Busby and NetGalley for the DRC. All opinions are my own.

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