Thursday 21 September 2023

Once a Monster by Robert Dinsdale Blog Tour

 My love for historical fiction has grown immensely over the past couple of years and there have been some wonderful novels released within that time.

One such book is Robert Dinsdale's latest release, Once A Monster. It only too me reading the blurb for
me to know that this story was going to be something quite special.

Now I assume you've joined this blog tour to find out more about this magical tale and I feel I've got an important job being the first stop to make you want to buy a copy ASAP.


London, 1861: Ten-year-old Nell belongs to a crew of mudlarks who work a stretch of the Thames along the Ratcliffe Highway. An orphan since her mother died four years past, leaving Nell with only broken dreams and a pair of satin slippers in her possession, she spends her days dredging up coals, copper and pieces of iron spilled by the river barges – searching for treasure in the mud in order to appease her master, Benjamin Murdstone.

But one day, Nell discovers a body on the shore. It’s not the first corpse she’s encountered, but by far the strangest. Nearly seven feet tall, the creature has matted hair covering his legs, and on his head are the suggestion of horns. Nell’s fellow mudlarks urge her to steal his boots and rifle his pockets, but as she ventures closer the figure draws breath and Nell is forced to make a decision which will change her life forever . . .

Set in a darker side of London during the year 1861, this isn't your typical Greek myth re-telling. Based on the ideas of Minos (the minotaur), Dinsdale takes us on a true journey of discovery.

We follow ten year old, feisty Nell as she tries to make it away from the dirty rivers and her fellow Mudlarks and instead follow her dreams to become a dancer, a talent that her now deceased mother had recognised in her.

But the realities of Nell's life aren't making this quest an easy one because of the man who was chosen to care for this unfortunate child after her mum's passing. 

Benjamin Murdstone. 

He is one truly unlikable character!

However, one night fate seems to set in, when Nell makes a shocking discovery along the shore line. Creature or human? It's hard to tell but what becomes clear is that an unlikely friendship is about to be formed and the decisions that Nell makes from this point onwards will change her life in ways that she could never have imagined.

For me, this story was both beautiful and sad.

All consuming at times.

The relationship between Nell and Minos is remarkable. It really warmed my heart seeing how much they cared for one another. They didn't see what others saw from the outside, no they looked past those imperfections and reached further within.


There was a real good versus evil vibe, Exploitation, the complexities of right from wrong, it's hard to judge some of the decisions made as I'm not sure how I'd react if faced with the same choices.

Truly thought provoking.

What I found most fascinating was the almost blending of genres. The use of Greek mythology alongside the ruins of 1860s London was brilliant. They somehow ran parallel with each other like they were meant to be together.

Slow in pace, the author held my attention with intriguing details and distinct, descriptive language. Every character made me curious, my concentration levels were high throughout.

Over all Once a Monster provides us with a story that is atmospheric and quietly thrilling. An excellent piece of literature, one that I would happily re-read.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love hearing from my readers so please feel free to leave comment.