"The Daughter of Doctor Moreau”| Reviewed by Pat Sainz
“The Daughter of Doctor Moreau” takes place in the 1870’s amidst a beautiful, garden-of-Eden-like paradise in what is now known as the Yucatan peninsula. The reader is slowly made aware of the horror that lurks in this idyllic setting among loving inhabitants of a lovely, but worn, isolated hacienda.
Carlota is the beautiful, obedient daughter of Doctor Moreau, a physician who exudes affection for his daughter whose mother died at her birth. Carlota’s friends are Lupe and Cachito who have lived with Carlota since she was a young child. They were her playmates, and now as they all near adulthood take care of Carlota’s
every need, acting as confidants and servants.
Doctor Moreau is beholden to an absent patron who provides the doctor and his daughter with everything they need to live comfortably. This includes a fully stocked laboratory in which Doctor Moreau can carry out experiments that are destined to make his patron wealthier. When his experiments prove unsatisfactory, his funding is in jeopardy.
Doctor Moreau’s assistant, in addition to Carolota, is a downtrodden man named Montgomery who, in spite of the horrors he witnesses, is grateful for the peace of the hidden home and its lush surroundings. His kindness to other inhabitants of the hacienda makes him seem like a friend more than an employee and, ultimately, an accomplice to evil.
Montgomery’s love for Carlota is restrained, and he is a protector of Carlota as her real nature is uncovered. He grapples with moral responsibility in his efforts to understand the imbalance of nature. He is a casual observer, for a time, of Doctor Moreau’s casual disregard for inflicting pain to advance progress.
I could not put this book down although I read it with apprehension. It is a struggle to not give away the plot and events that occur in “The Daughter of Doctor Moreau.”
It is a credit to the author that she has written a riveting novel that blends love with horror, science fiction and even the history of the Mayans in Mexico.
Those familiar with H. G. Wells’ story “The Island of Dr. Moreau” may understand where the narrative is headed. Even if that isn’t the case, this book remains a memorable story for all readers.