The Madness, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


A thrilling Victorian tale of dangerous obsession and betrayal Sixteen-year-old Marnie lives in the idyllic coastal village of Clevedon.

Despite being crippled by a childhood exposure to polio, she seems set to follow in her mother's footsteps, and become a 'dipper', escorting fragile female bathers into the sea.

Her life is simple and safe. But then she meets Noah. Charming, handsome, son-of-the-local-Lord, Noah. She quickly develops a passion for him - a passion which consumes her.

As Marnie's infatuation turns to fixation she starts to lose her grip on reality, and a harrowing and dangerous obsession develops that seems certain to end in tragedy.

Set in the early Victorian era when propriety, modesty and repression were the rule, this is a taut psychological drama in which the breakdown of a young woman's emotional state will have a devastating impact on all those around her.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hot Key Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Thrillers (Children's/YA)
  • ISBN: 9781471401039



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An interesting and sad tale about obsession set in Clevedon, a small seaside resort in Somerset. Marnie, a young local girl, meets Noah, the son of a prominent and prosperous business man, and finds herself feeling a dangerous attraction for him which leads to the madness of the title.I found the Victorian setting and the historical information with regard to bathing huts and 'dippers' fascinating. A 'dipper' is someone who helps wealthy ladies submerge themselves in the sea mostly for health reasons. I also enjoyed reading about the building of Clevedon Pier. Such was my curiosity that I decided to find out more via the internet. Reading fiction can definitely be educational.As to the story, I found it a dark and tragic one. I did not particularly like either of the main characters - I wanted to shake some sense into them both. The latter part of the book had a feeling of 'Fatal Attraction' about it; Marnie was somewhat of a 'bunny boiler'! It portrayed Marnie's fixation very well and at times I was actually cringing to find out what happened next.The descriptions of the sea and the town itself were very realistic. The whole story was atmospherically and vividly told, so much so that I could picture it perfectly in my mind. An intriguing and thought provoking read which had me anxiously turning the pages!Read and reviewed for