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Mary Reilly

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  1,569 ratings  ·  130 reviews
In this brilliant retelling of the classic horror story Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mary Reilly presents a new twist on a timeless story and addresses Robert Lewis Stevenson's explanation of identity, of good and evil, for today's readers.
Hardcover, 263 pages
Published January 1st 1990 by DoubleDay
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Jeffrey Keeten
”Are you afraid of yourself, Mary?” Master said.

The room was silent about us, but for the clock ticking, which seemed to me loud of a sudden. I thought a long time might pass before I answered but Master and I would not know it, for we was both of us waiting to hear what I would say. At first I thought I would say no, for it seemed a strange thing to be afraid of myself, but then I thought he must mean afraid of what I might do, or might say, rather than what I am and what I see in the mirror. A
Linda Palmer
I read this book because I liked the movie so much and figured there would be details not revealed on the screen. The movie is fairly faithful, so there weren't that many surprises, but I still recommend the book for a lot of reasons.

First, it paints such a rich picture of the times. I could tell that Ms. Martin had done her research. Particularly fascinating to me were the details of a life in service to others. Mary, a maid in Dr. Jekyl's house (yes, that Dr. Jekyl) stays busy from dawn until
The classic story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is retold through the journal writings of the housemaid, Mary Reilly. Mary was physically and emotionally abused by her father as a child, which has left scars on both her person and her psyche. She appreciates that she is very lucky to have her position in the Jekyll household and is a very loyal and hard-working servant who understands her station in life. If she should forget, the butler, Mr Poole, is always there to remind her.
She is therefore rath
I loved the chances Martin took with this plot and the characters. Most don't realize she's one of the writers who sparked the trend to write about fringe characters in famous novels.
Peter Vicaire
I recently read this one back-to-back with the original "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". I was halfway through "Jekyll" when the Boston Marathon bombings took place so until I finished the book, it carried with it for me a heavier internalization of the good/evil duality of man - especially when interviews of friends on the news played the same stories over and over about how they were "nice guys" and everyone was so surprised that they could do such a thing. "Mary Reilly" ended up bei ...more
Tiffany Hall
In a world of simplicity, Dr. Jekyll pushes the boundaries of society and one woman has a front row seat to the tantalizing mystery that surrounds the good doctor. Mary Reilly works for well-to-do doctor who is obsessed with the secret work he does in his laboratory. He becomes fascinated with Mary's life and views of the world. They soon grow to have a deep bond of trust through meaningful, secret conversations. Mary begins to feel admiration, and maybe something more, for the good doctor but s ...more

Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is perhaps one of the most celebrated novellas of the 19th century. It is a classic archetypal tale of the battle between good and evil; what would happen if a human being could separate his good and evil sides? Based upon the moral of this story, the result is undesirable… as many know (and as the story aptly and dramatically portrays), when evil is consistently chosen over good, demise is imminent.
Thus, the story of Dr. Jek
I read this book because I enjoyed Valerie Martin's "The Confessions of Edward Day" and I wanted to read another book by this author. This story is the retelling of Robert Louis Stevensen's "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" from the perspective of Mary Reilly, a very perceptive housemaid in the house of Dr. Jekyll. I especially liked this bool after having read "The Confessions of Edward Day." In "The Confessions," the narrator may or may not be reliable. He has a doppleganger, who is is clearly a sourc ...more
"Mary Reilly" approaches the hoary tale of "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde" from a different angle: the story is told from behind the scenes, as it were, through the eyes of Henry Jeckyll's intelligent, devoted servant girl.

This novel is a fascinating mixture of historical fiction and literary extrapolation, and it works far better than any book of it's type that I have ever read (Including Geraldine Brooks' "March", which was a Pulitzer Prize winner"). From the beginning, Martin drew me in with her s
Io mi sono intrattenuta bene, ma riconosco che questo libro equivarrebbe ai filmetti in tv che si beccano così, per caso, e intrippano ma si capisce perché non sia passato per i cinema e sia stato relegato alle tv. Non per fare quella sempre in linea con l'atmosfera utiliritastica del commercio, ma ci sono certi film pensati per la tv che consistono in una storia dalle "aspirazioni" abbastanza basse, da personaggi gradevoli ma non memorabili, e una storyline senza grandi piani. Il filmetto da tv ...more
Kristina A
Jan 12, 2009 Kristina A rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kristina by: Amy Woodbury Tease
Shelves: neo-victorian
I liked this slim novel told from the perspective of the maid in Dr. Jekyll's house. I loved the descriptions of Mary's work (for some reason I enjoy descriptions of housework -- which is funny because I certainly don't like doing it) and Mary's voice was very distinct -- I feel as if I can still hear it in my head (part of the reason I plan to avoid the movie). The period details were really interesting, especially about funerals (my only complaint historically is that at one point, Jekyll asks ...more
Though they're worlds apart stylistically, it's helpful to think of Mary Reilly standing in relation to Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea does to Bronte's Jane Eyre, in that they're both unexpected and compelling retellings of famous work that depend very little on their source material but manage to kick ass firmly on their own merits. I almost wonder if Martin didn't have Bronte a bit in mind when she wrote this, as Mary very much is Jane Eyre, dow ...more
Mary Reilly is a maid in the home of Dr. Henry Jekyll. (Yeah, that Dr. Jekyll.) The novel is Mary's journals and covers the years she spent working in his house. Mary's father was cruel and abusive. She's not quite withdrawn, but she knows her "place" and staying in her place gives her a sense of security. Dr. Jekyll makes her feel secure as well. He's kind to her and recognizes her intelligence.

My only complaint about the book is that it stopped when the story of Dr. Jekyll stopped. I came to k
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I watched the movie a million times before I knew there was a book… If you've never seen it, Julia Roberts and John Malkovich are fantastic. That being said, the book and the movie are very close parallels.

It takes a very imaginative and creative author to spin an entire tale from the point of view of a secondary (or even unnamed) character in a classic. When it's well done, as it is here, it makes for an excellent read.

Mary Reilly is a maid in the house of Dr. Henry Jekyll. Loyalty to her Mas
Ebster Davis
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Meets Downton Abbey" is what this story basically is. There's a bit about good and evil and a bit about social class.

I bought this book (for one dollar at the senior citizen's thrift store :)) because I'd heard of it as a J/H adaption but I ended up liking it for Mary.

Mary reminded me a lot of some of the other female characters I like in literature: they're doers, and they have feelings, but they don't focus on their feelings all of the time because they've got importa
Octavia Cade
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, from the point of view of his young household servant, Mary Reilly. Mary herself is the high point of the book - cool, collected, most deliberately not a whiner even though her life is a harsh one. (Martin doesn't glamourise servant life as anything but hard labour and long hours.) It's very easy to feel for her, to get caught up in her confusion even though, being familiar with the originating story, I knew what was happening and how it would end.

It's one of those books
Austen to Zafón
Enjoyable re-hash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, from the point of view of Jekyll's maid, a sensible girl with a bright outlook and a keen interest in what goes on around her. I know some found the domestic details boring, but I liked that aspect, as Martin did her research on what it was like to be a maid at the time and I'm interested in domestic history. Well-written and compelling.
Kate North
It wasn't until I googled this for a cover image that I realised that this had been made into a film with Julia Roberts (which I haven't seen). I had read Property some time ago so when I found Mary Reilly in the charity shop, it seemed a good choice. I enjoy books which either fictionalise historical situations, or, as is the case here, take one bit of fiction and weave a story around a character or event in it - not so much a pastiche as a digression, perhaps. This one tells the Dr Jekyll/Mr H ...more
Leigh Denton
A story told with great attention to detail of someone who would normally be invisible in her time due to her place in society. An underling - barely educated, abused in her early life and grateful to be living in a grand house and situation, Mary Reilly nevertheless has a great sense of her surroundings and is a fiercely loyal and dutiful young woman. She refuses to compromise her views and slowly, her part in the tale of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde is revealed. A novel of suspense and imagination ...more
A really outstanding tribute to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and a wonderful book in its own right. Mary Reilly is told in the form of journals written by a maid to Dr. Jekyll, it begins with her recounting a harrowing event from her childhood--written down at the request of Jekyll--and then continues through Hyde/Jekyll's death. At first the links the book are very opaque, you might now have even known, but eventually most of the major incidents show through. Unlike "Hyde" it does not offer any new ...more
Morbid and filled with dread in a good, good way. Julia Roberts gets it spot-on in the movie adaptation.
I found the language a little awkward at times, nevertheless this was a fairly engrossing read.
Suzanne Fox
A bit hampered in terms of suspense by its nature as a variation on an existing text, but a compelling book nonetheless. I re-read recently (looking forward to Martin's January release of a novel about the doomed ship Mary Celeste) and enjoyed it even more the second time around.

Most powerful of Martin's novel's many strengths is its voice, which is compelling, consistent and convincing. It can be tricky to narrate a book through the "journals," which can be hard to make at once novelistically e
I treasure books that offer a fresh twist on classic tales, elevating those characters that were given little voice in the original telling. Often these individuals are the overlooked of society, those so easily forgotten by history. It does not matter if the characters are made of fiction or if they truly lived. These new stories give them, mostly women of ages past, the agency each of our lives deserves.
This novel offers up the seminal Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story from a unique and intrigui
Pamela Huxtable
Very seldom have I ever read a novel with a narrator as compelling and honest as Mary Reilly. Mary holds nothing back in her storytelling, and her voice is fresh and bright, full of interesting descriptions and characterizations of her fellow servants and her master, Dr. Henry Jekyll.

Sadly, my interest started to flag about two thirds into the book. Mary is dr. Jekyll's housemaid; as compelling as she is, the recounting of a housemaid's duties starts to become tedious. Cleaning the carpets, wash
Review on Mary Reilly

The most important fact of this review to start with is that Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin is a remix of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Even if you know this, it is likely you will forget it as the story progresses, but beware. The ending and the plot will remain the same. As a remix, it keeps the same aspects of its original. It has the horror sort-of feel and the gothic stylings of Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s Victorian in context and, though the main charact
Ethan Shepley
I realize how hard it is to write a good story. Stressing over every syllable until the mind goes numb over exhaustion. Rearranging sentences structures a seemingly amount of times. Pouring over the memory banks for the phrase that will capture the essence of the story. In the end, the writer pulls these elements together to create a style unique to them. One might assume such diligence would shield the author from criticism, but it is the exact opposite. The reader expects more terms in style ...more
As novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Jane Slayre hit the bookshelves, one may begin to stereotype this relatively new genre of remixing as one that simply adds horror and comedy to classic novels. While these renditions may be entertaining for some, they also cause many to believe that this style of writing will one day be laughed at and most likely only be a passing fad. However, stories like Mary Reilly may quite possibly change that opinion, proving that remixes can in fact ...more
Richelle Dodaro
If you’re a Jane Eyre fan, but thought Jane needed to tone things down a notch then Valerie Martin’s Mary Reilly is definitely a recommended read. Jane Eyre had its own remix in Jane Slayre, so, Mary Reilly, as a remix of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it does succeed in maintaining the creepy, mysterious elements of the original on many different levels.
The setting itself was mysterious because of the dark images it portrayed, therefore also sharing sim
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Valerie Martin is the author of nine novels, including Trespass, Mary Reilly, Italian Fever, and Property, three collections of short fiction, and a biography of St. Francis of Assisi, titled Salvation. She has been awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as the Kafka Prize (for Mary Reilly) and Britain’s Orange Prize (for Property).
More about Valerie Martin...

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“I see I have this patience to wait it out, and the truth is no matter how dark I feel I would never take my own life, because when the darkness is over, then what a blessing is the feeblest ray of light!” 4 likes
“But you said you no longer care for the world's opinion," I said to him, "nor will I.” 1 likes
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