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The Nature of Monsters

Narrated by: Julia Barrie
Length: 15 hrs and 14 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical

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Publisher's Summary

It is 1718 and, in a small parish near Newcastle, Eliza Tally, a headstrong girl of 16, embarks on a reckless love affair that will prove her undoing. When her lover casts her off, denying their union, she is forced to travel to London, a city that attracts and alarms her in equal measure. There, she takes up a position in the house of an apothecary, Grayson Black, whom she trusts to salvage what remains of her reputation.
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©2007 Clare Clark (P)2007 W F Howes Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"A sublime evocation of the 18th century...there was no way I was ever going to put this down." (Telegraph)

What listeners say about The Nature of Monsters

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Gaither
  • 07-10-2008

Exotic Blend

Part of what is interesting to me about this novel are the many historical details which are often quite obscure, but, from what I've read about the period, are based in fact. Nonetheless, some details are so fantastic it's hard to believe they are not made up.
Also, as you begin the novel you may think you've stumbled onto something from the erotica category, but this is short-lived. Quickly, the atmosphere turns from eros to human cruelty. The latter will be your companion throughout the rest of the novel with little redemption for the most part. It's a strange story that I would liken in style to a sort of hybrid mixture of Bronte, Dickens, maybe Camus, and, at times, de Sade. And I have to say I really enjoyed it, (although at times I found myself slightly ashamed for enjoying it -- but good books can be that way, can't they?) Probably, it's not for everyone, but it's guaranteed you'll remember it whether you liked it or not.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Meg
  • 10-04-2010

The Nature of Humans

I very much enjoyed this audiobook. The story isn't fast paced, but it is convincing. 'The Nature of Monsters' is part historical novel, part phychological thriller, and does feature a few sexually explicit scenes early on which may put off some listeners. It also centres around the old wives tales that suggest that an unborn child can mutate based upon the mother's visual experiences.

This book could have just as easily have been called 'The Nature of Humans' for it's foray into the psychological states of the characters within it. It is certainly worth listening to.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kimberly
  • 22-05-2008

Good historical fiction

I had never read this author before and purchased this on the basis of the description of the story. I became almost immediately engrossed and kept listening to find out what happens next. There is a segment in the middle of the book that could have used some editing, but on the whole, I found myself carried along by the suspense and the story. The narrator was very good on the girls parts, but lacked a bit in her characterization of some of the men. A few came off sounding more like charicatures than characters. OH - and if you get grossed out easily, be warned. There are some icky parts.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jen Terry
  • 12-01-2009

A good read

I found this book a fairly good read. I enjoy both historical fiction and studies on human psychology and this delivers both. Yes, there are disturbing passages, but, after all- it isn't called "The Nature Of Fuzzie Little Kittens"!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • nancy campione
  • 28-09-2008

Dark Historical Fiction

This is not for the fainthearted. Dark and graphic historical fiction. If you're up for a very good but uncomfortable read, this is a fascinating, if macabre, Victorian suspense.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Wyonia
  • 17-10-2008

a little gem

this is a really excellent little novel. the narration is very good, and the story is intriguing, well-paced, and has some real depth. i would highly recommend this one.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Taryn
  • 27-03-2008


This is positively the most vile book I have ever listened to. I generally like the milder Stephen King and Dean Koontz books and figured this would be the same genre. However, there was nothing redeamable in this book. I listened to 4 hrs of depressing dreariness that gave me nightmares and then had to stop. I do not recommend you wasting your time on this awful tale.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Randi
  • 04-09-2008

Hard to review

I had mixed feelings on this book. It was a totally different book than I expected. I am not sure I recommend it other than because of the twists, turns, and shock value.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bett
  • 02-12-2008

A grusome tale with a heart!

This is a compulsive story and really lifts the lid on the dirty, gritty and unwashed London of the 18th Century. It's shocking premise of "monster" children being borne to women who were exposed to excesses of emotion and imagination is hard to credit in this day and age. Unbelievably it was thought feasable in 1720 when the novel is set. The feisty heroine seemed completely of her time, so often in historical novels the characters seem to think, speak and act in a very 21st century manner. Eliza is trapped by the constraints of both poverty and loss of reputation that kept women completely controlled. Lives are bought and sold with callous indifference that makes us happy to be living when we do! I thought the novel was read beautifully, you couldn't fail to be moved by the plight of the characters as they felt completely real. If you want to immerse yourself in historical London that you can almost smell and gasp at unimaginable horrors lurking in it's dank and closed courtyards, I think you will enjoy this as much as I did!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Muppet
  • 22-08-2008

Not too shabby

I bought this book as I was trying to go for something I wouldn't normally buy. It is a good story and found that I could not put it down! Really wanted to know how it worked out, even though it is fairly predictable. Still a good story, ideal for holiday reading material, not too taxing!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Janice
  • 29-06-2013

Not what I expected.

Took a while to get into it, got better as the story progressed but nothing special.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs. REP
  • 31-07-2012

An intriguing story.

This was a fascinating story, although it did take me a while to get into and Clare Clark over does the description at times. It is a gruesome listen in parts and it's hard to believe that people were ever treated in this way, but they undoubtedly were and there are plenty of monsters in various guises throughout the book.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Elizabeth Davies
  • 01-07-2010

Not my "cup of tea"

I do not dispute that this author writes beautifully but the story was 'gross' and offensive to me. I could not listen beyond a few chapters .... sorry !!!