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Mary Reilly

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  1,849 Ratings  ·  158 Reviews
From the acclaimed author of the bestselling Italian Fever comes a fresh twist on the classic Jekyll and Hyde story, a novel told from the perspective of Mary Reilly, Dr. Jekyll's dutiful and intelligent housemaid.

Faithfully weaving in details from Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, Martin introduces an original and captivating character: Mary is a survivor–scarred but stil
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 4th 1996 by Black Swan (first published January 1st 1990)
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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
Sep 16, 2012 Linda Palmer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Cathy (cathepsut)
It's been a while since I read this. I remember thinking that it was an interssting take on Jekyll and Hyde. It was pretty tragic, not only the original story as such, but also Mary's life in general. It was not the most gripping read, but a solid read at the time.
Aug 11, 2016 Emjy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Le récit intime et fascinant de Mary Reilly, la jeune domestique entrée au service de Mr Jekyll, un mystérieux et bienveillant scientifique (héros du roman de R. L. Stevenson).
Un très beau roman victorien, sobre, sombre et mené avec style.
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
As much as I love the story of Jekyll & Hyde, I've never actually read the source material. I've heard variations of the story for years, from the Wishbone version when I was a kid to the Wildhorn/Bricusse musical and now this retelling. Every version seems to fill in a new space and add something new to the whole mythos, and I love that.

Mary's voice is very distinct, not in the least thanks to her imperfect (and sometimes inconsistent) speech and writing patterns. Early on in the book she
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
Jan 18, 2009 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Peter Vicaire
Jun 10, 2013 Peter Vicaire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 16, 2012 Anastasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 0-2012
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 01, 2009 Kristina A rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jul 15, 2012 Autumn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Tiffany Hall
Jan 09, 2015 Tiffany Hall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dec 25, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 19, 2009 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rhiannon Hart
Dec 31, 2015 Rhiannon Hart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A retelling of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde from the housemaid's point of view. I was hunting for a historical film to watch when I was feeling unwell recently and came across the film. The reviews said it was awful, so I didn't bother, but that the book was wonderful.

Mary Reilly is an emotionally scarred, intelligent young woman who develops a bond with her 'master' through their interactions, and begins to fall in love with him. It's beautifully written and very faithful to the original. There a
Alison Miller-astor
Pretty disappointed in this book... if it hadn't been so short, I probably would have put it down. There was just so much potential in this "dramatic retelling of the classic horror story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" but it just missed out on all the drama and all the horror. Its only saving grace was the character development of Mary Reilly herself. Unless you're a hardcore fan of the Jekyll & Hyde legend, I'd skip this one...
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.
I do enjoy retellings and this, a retelling of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde from the point of view of the maid, Mary Reilly, was quite good. However, as this book was actually longer than the original story, I did feel that it dragged a little bit. I liked Mary and I liked how her opinion gave you a different view on the original story, but not enough happened to make this a truly great book.
Rob Cohen
May 13, 2014 Rob Cohen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ugh, I so badly wanted to enjoy this book but it really didn't go anywhere. Not enough Jekyll and Hyde and too much of her boring life. Nothing really dramatic to speak of and she sure cleaned a lot of fireplaces... too bad.
Jul 04, 2012 Jae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I found the language a little awkward at times, nevertheless this was a fairly engrossing read.
I was hoping this would be better. Great idea, average book.

Mar 16, 2011 Brigette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Morbid and filled with dread in a good, good way. Julia Roberts gets it spot-on in the movie adaptation.
Elora Mitchell
Mar 17, 2017 Elora Mitchell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

This was a new take on an old story, and it didn't disappoint. It was slow read, but not boring. The only thing that was off-putting was the "mun" thing. I assume the author added it to enhance the story, but it only seemed to pull me out of it.
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
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
May 02, 2011 Aja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 13, 2011 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin is a retelling of Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde. Vividly told from the point of view of Mary Reilly, a maid in Jekyll's house, we are given an inside look at how Jekyll's house was run and how his household viewed his behavior during those fateful months when Hyde was let loose. Her story is told in the form of journal entries made during her time in Jekyll's household..

Mary is a likeable character and, as the narrator, tells her story w
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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!” 5 likes
“But you said you no longer care for the world's opinion," I said to him, "nor will I.” 2 likes
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