Reviewed by Jennifer Joyce
It’s 1859 and Gwen Carrick is painting on the Cornish beach near her home when she meets Edward Scales. Gwen lives with her sister Euphemia, a spiritualist who holds séances in their home on a regular basis. Gwen isn’t a fan of the séances and finds her oddly behaved sister hard work, so when Edward offers to take her away from England and Euphemia, she accepts.
Fast forward seven years, Edward has been murdered in his own home and Gwen is being accused of the crime.
The Specimen switches between Gwen and Edward’s adventures and the newspaper reports of the murder trial. How did the couple go from passionate meetings to Gwen being accused of his murder?
On the surface, The Specimen seems like an intriguing read, but I’m afraid it failed to grab me in any way. Gwen and Edward are supposed to be conducting a passionate affair, but I didn’t feel much of a connection or heat between the pair and Gwen had more feelings of disdain towards Edward than love. I never warmed to any of the characters in the book and I found myself feeling more and more confused as the story moved along.