Maelstrom by Debbie Boek – Book Review

Maelstrom: A Victorian-era Tale of Revenge Hidden Under the Guise of Justice by Debbie Boek
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Maelstrom: A Victorian-era Tale of Revenge hidden under the Guise of Justice by Debbie Boek

How much injustice must one endure before being able to disregard their own actions, regardless of how heinous they may be?

In the last decade of the 19th century, young Olivia Rose is unjustly committed to a lunatic asylum and only her desire for revenge sees her through until she can escape.

Traveling through upstate New York, Olivia Rose plots to bring justice to those that harmed her and the ones that she loves, setting the stage, creating her plans and reeling in others to help her put them into motion.
It isn’t until one of her victims turns the tables and retaliates that Olivia Rose learns the true cost of her desire for retribution.

With a dark heart and blunted emotions, Olivia Rose must decide how much she is willing to risk in order to punish those that took everything from her. Will she put an end to her quest or disregard the danger and learn too late that the price of vengeance is simply too high?

Chick Lit Café Book Review:

Driven by anger and a destructive hunger for retribution, a young woman revisits her past, punishing the main culprits involved in her suffering and that of her mother’s and close friends in Debbie Boek’s suspenseful historical thrillerMaelstrom: A Victorian-era Tale of Revenge hidden under the Guise of Justice.

The baseless accusations of a wealthy man lead to Olivia and her mother’s confinement in a lunatic asylum. While there, the two go through horrific experiences. Her mother, Ada, is subjected to primitive, fatal treatments that drain her and exacerbate her worsening condition. Olivia is put through inhumane, demeaning punishments and experiences. She is also forced to conceal her true feelings to survive the traumatizing environment. After carefully plotting her revenge, she begins to execute her risky plans later in her life. But revenge comes at an unexpected and costly price.

The story’s backdrop, which is a critical element in the story, is described in skillful detail.  It expands the story, establishing the social barriers prevalent during the turn of the twentieth century, which has severe effects on the characters’ fate. Unable to defend themselves against Ada’s powerful employer, Olivia and Ada are forced to endure mistreatment in the asylum. The asylums back then were rife with all sorts of horrible mistreatments and abuse perpetrated on the suffering patients, poor living conditions and inadequate and crude twisted psychiatric treatments. Vivid, moving descriptions of the patients’ experiences are included. Frigid showers are used on the patients as common punishments by the head nurse. Patients also suffer psychological torture, sexual and physical violence. Olivia’s earlier experiences evoke intense emotions. Through unspoken thoughts, body language, and specific word choices, her strong emotions and the impact of her past trauma are brought out. Her well-thought-out revenge plans that are executed on each person responsible conclude in thrilling and sometimes surprising scenes when things do not end as expected.

Maelstrom is a tragic mystery thriller centered on a decades-long revenge plan and its unpredictable outcomes.   It is well-written, clever, imaginative and intelligent, stirring and touching. The characters are well developed and the various themes the author conveys are clear, relatable and intensely thrilling. Maelstrom: A Victorian-era Tale of Revenge hidden under the Guise of Justice by Debbie Boek is a very engrossing, suspenseful and captivating novel. Book reviewed by Edith Emunah for Chick Lit Café Book reviews.

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