“A brilliant, deeply unsettling work.” Books + Publishing
Jeff is dying. Haunted by memories and grappling with shame, he runs away to a remote part of Scotland with a piece of beta tech that allows him to enter the mind of someone in the past. Instructed to only use it three times, Jeff – self-indulgent, isolated and deteriorating – ignores this advice.
In the late 1860s, Leonora lives in the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by nature. Contemplating the social conventions that bind her, her contented life and a secret romantic friendship with the local laird are interrupted when her father sends her to stay with her aunt in Edinburgh. But Leonora’s ability to embrace her new life is shadowed by a dark presence that begins to lurk behind her eyes, and strange visions.
A Superior Spectre is a novel about curiosity, entitlement and manipulation. It reminds us that the scariest ghosts aren’t the ones that go bump in the night, but those that are born and create a place for themselves in the human soul.
Jeff leaves his life behind in Melbourne, Australia to travel to Scotland with his Andserv robot helper and companion. He is dying, but has declined medical treatment.
He has, and uses tech that assigns you a hosts mind in the past, where you can see and feel what they feel, but they are unaware. He visits Leonora in the 1860’s…..in her mind …a time travelling parasite. I have to admit to disliking Jeff, as he was a self-indulgent, yet self pitying man whose desires control everything he does…with little thought for the effect he is having on Leonora’s mind.
Leonora is a simple kind soul, with a secret romance with the local laird, William. But her life is one of hard work and oppression as a woman in the 1860’s. The descriptive writing really brings this to life.
Jeff uses his invasion of Leonora’s mind to pass his own desires to her…..an abuse, of male domination and as a result she feels she is possessed. It also shows society’s double standards when it comes to female sexuality, and promiscuity is seen as a mental illness.
A beautifully written, almost poet mix of historical, gothic fiction and sci-fi with real atmosphere and both likeable and reprehensible characters. Thought provoking and something rather special. I’m sure this will be a favourite amongst Book clubs everywhere. A definite must read.
Thank you to Ruth Killick Publicity for the opportunity to read this marvellous book for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here
About the author:
Angela Meyer’s Joan Smokes won the inaugural Mslexia Novella Competition in 2019. Her short fiction has been widely published, including in Best Australian Stories, Island, The Big Issue, The Australian, The Lifted Brow and Killings. By day she works as a publisher for Echo Publishing, an Australian imprint of Bonnier Books UK, and in this role has discovered and developed a range of award-winning, globally published and bestselling talent, including global number one bestselling author Heather Morris. A Superior Spectre, Angela’s debut novel, is already shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards.
Angela Meyer is @literaryminded on Twitter and Insta. @literarymindedblog on Facebook. You can find her online at literaryminded.com.au where there are also some book club questions for A Superior Spectre.
Saraband is @SarabandBooks