Review: Marionette by Antonia Rachel Ward

This cover is so beautiful!

Marionette by Antonia Rachel Ward

Released August 2022

Source: Received for Review Consideration from Netgalley

Dark Fiction  |  Goodreads  | Bookshop

On the run from a life of prostitution and poverty, exotic dancer Cece Dulac agrees to become the main attraction at an erotic séance hosted by an enigmatic mesmerist, Monsieur Rossignol. As the séance descends into depravity, Cece falls prey to Rossignol’s hypnotic power and becomes possessed by a malevolent spirit.

George Dashwood, an aspiring artist, witnesses the séance and fears for Cece. He seeks her out and she seduces him, but she is no longer herself. The spirit controlling her forces her to commit increasingly depraved acts. When the spirit’s desire for revenge escalates to murder, George and Cece must find a way to break Rossignol’s spell before Cece’s soul is condemned forever.

Marionette is an erotic horror novella inspired by traditional folk tales and set in fin de siècle Paris.

My 2 Cents for Free!

Marionette is a horror novella with a little side of erotica and a whole lot of insta-love.

George is a young man, freshly arrived in Paris to work on his art. His dad instructs him to stay away from women. Focus on your work! Women are nothing but a seductive distraction! So what does George go and do? He falls head over heels in LOVE with the first beautiful woman he sees and finds himself embroiled in an unimaginable scenario and spends the rest of the story wanting to save his true love. Oh George you poor besotted fool. You really should’ve listened to dad on this one, lol.

If you’ve read a few of my reviews you might know that the insta-love trope drives me a bit ahhh! but it’s only because I’ve read a million romances that use this instant connection in lieu of a well-developed relationship. It bugs the hell out of me (usually) in a romance because the developing romance is the entire reason I’m there. Anyhow, it’s here but because this is a horror novella I was able to let George and his intense feelings slide a bit even though I can’t deny that every one of his declarations of love made me cringe down to my very toes.

His love is dancer Cece but alas Rossignol, the Prince of Debauchery, takes an interest in her as well and no one can say no to the Prince of Debauchery (and why would you?) so George is immediately in way over his head but wait because it gets worse for George and for Cece! During a dark and strange command performance at a party Rossignol hosts, something odd happens to Cece and I can’t tell you what it is without spoilers but it’s disturbing and leads to sexy times that are mostly dub/non-con so get ready to run if that’s not your thing.

I liked this book but it would’ve been even better had a few things been fleshed out a bit more. There isn’t a lot of room to get to know the characters or feel for their plight because things happen so quickly. With that said, I enjoyed reading it and there were some moments that I absolutely adored and one moment of violence that was such a pleasure to read. I’ll definitely check out future work written by this author.


  1. Bummer about the insta ove but otherwise glad this one turned out well!

  2. Even with the insta love, it sounds like a solid read.


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