The Medea Complex

A Novel

By Rachel Florence Roberts

ISBN: 9780451474148

Author Website:

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Caro


A deep and riveting psychological thriller inspired by true events of the Victorian era, The Medea Complex explores the nature of the human psyche: what possesses us, what drives us, and how love, passion, and hope for the future can drive us to insanity.

1885. Anne Stanbury wakes up in a strange bed, having been kidnapped from her home. As the panic settles in, she realizes she has been committed to a lunatic asylum, deemed insane and therefore unfit to stand trial for an unspeakable crime. But all is not as it seems….

Edgar Stanbury, her husband as well as a grieving father, is torn between helping his confined wife recover her sanity and seeking revenge for his ruined life. But Anne’s future rests wholly in the hands of Dr. George Savage, chief medical officer of Bethlem Royal Hospital.

The Medea Complex is the darkly compelling story of a lunatic, a lie, and a shocking revelation that elucidates the difference between madness and evil….


The Medea Complex tells us the story of Lady Stanbury, who has woken up to find herself trapped in the darkness of this small room she does not recognize. She immediately thinks she has been robbed and calls out for the servants. Later she comes to the conclusion that she has been kidnapped. Scared of the situation she has found herself in, she starts to wonder when her captors will ask for money and when her father will rescue her.

When her captors finally come to see her, they address her as Lady Stanbury, a name she doesn’t recognize. The strange thing is that her captors are all wearing nurse gowns or doctor coats. As Anne, gradually, recovers her memories she come to realize that she is in a mental institution for the terrible crime she has committed. Murder.

The Medea Complex is a fascinating book, from its description to its cover to its story, I was caught by it since the beginning. The characters are so alive and eager to tell you what’s going on that they hardly let the reader catch their breath. Anne, is the most mysterious character of the book. She doesn’t understand why she is at the hospital or why her family hasn’t rescued her. But as the story progresses, the reader is able to go more into Anne’s mind and personality. There were parts where her comments were just hilarious. Especially when she is trying to escape during the party. She is a character that you really have to understand to be able to judge.

“I hope for your sake that their hostage-taking skills are better than their musical talent.”

Another character that was a mystery, was Edgar, Anne’s husband. One could say that Edgar was Cinderella, and Anne the Prince. His motives might have been influenced by his father and their tragedies, but half way through the story he comes to realize his true self, even though he’s grieving.

“Men will forgive what women will not.”

There’s also Dr. Savage, Beatrix, Betty, the nurses, and even some of the other hospital patients that were characters I just wanted to read more about. But the most anticipating and thrilling moment was definitely the end where the reader finally learns what happened and why it led to those consequences.

This story is a book you definitely have to read to solve the mystery. I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you. You can also read an essay by the author, where she explains how she came to write The Medea Complex, which I think was the best idea to overcome postpartum depression: write a book.

OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*