After phosphorus contamination leaves her face severely disfigured, Evelyn has been scrambling to survive the streets of London. She applies to be a nurse in the London Hospital, but even there they say her face is too disturbing. Instead, she obtains work as an attendant for Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man. They build a strong friendship based on their desires to hide from the world. However, Evelyn and Joseph’s peace is shattered when the infamous Jack the Ripper begins his murders. The ghosts of murder victims begin to haunt the two at night and the shock is harmful to Joseph’s health.
A Taste for Monsters is an interesting historical fiction story with echoes of gothic novels. Readers interested in Victorian London who also enjoy a good ghost story will find a perfect fit. Kirby does a great job with characterization and stays remarkably close to what is known about Joseph Merrick’s life. This is a chilling, but educational read.
Recommended ages--12 and up