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Book Review : A Man of Genius by Lynn Rosen

12th July, 2016

A Man of Genius by Lynn Rosen

Samuel Garfton- Hall is an acclaimed architect who loves being praised and admired by everyone he is acquainted with. But at the heart of his fame lies a secret, a few murders and a question of moral judgement.


This is the story of a fictional famed architect named Samuel Grafton-Hall, and the relationships he had with numerous women throughout his life. Rosen focuses on each of the women his life – the first wife, Catherine Chardon, whose architectural talents were always belittled by him; Daphne Paul, who seduced him when she was just sixteen and his second wife, Elizabeth, who may or may not get a part of his wealth. There is a strange clause in Grafton-Hall’s will that requires his widow, Elizabeth, who currently resides at the magnificent Upana Rose, to go to the Hesperus Walk for an audience with its current occupant (whomever that might be) and also agree to provide for the person. And the job of convincing Elizabeth to do so is on the shoulders of a promising young lawyer, Carlyle Richards.


I liked the layers that added to the personality of Samuel Grafton-Hall. He is much admired for his vision and talent among his colleagues. But as we read how much he owes his wife Catherine for the brilliance of his work we feel disgusted. The truth was always concealed and the question remains who is the man of genius (or is it even a man?).

I loved comparing how different professional opportunities presented itself before women, especially Eizabeth and Catherine. Catherine was a brilliant architect, however she remained subdued under the thumb of her husband who took credit for her work without acknowledgement. Elizabeth, being a landscape designer, seemed to follow her true passions. Daphne seems to take the easy way out by seducing successful older men to get what she wants.

This book sounds like a murder mystery, but it is not. It is a story that unfolds about ripping off the mask of a man and in the process trying to understand the women in his life.


This book progressed pretty slow for me. I do not mind slow paced reads, but I found the story predictable. Also, Peter (I see I haven’t mentioned him yet, because he was not needed in the story) and Carlyle fall for each other. WHY? When they first met, he was trying to ruin her meeting with Elizabeth. Then in a few pages, he advises the housekeeper to make better meals for her and fixes up the meeting that he earlier ruined (WHY?). And later they fall in love. (WHY?). The romance felt out of place and deliberately put in just because there had to be one.


There is a nice story in there. It begins slow, and the pace picks up later. This wasn’t a book for me. But someone interested in books about secrets and mansions might enjoy this.

So maybe borrow a copy?

Disclaimer : Many thanks to Smith Publicity for a copy of the paperback. This review is no way influenced by this circumstance

Title : A Man of Genius
Author : Lynn Rosen
Publisher : Una Publications
Published : 2016
Language : English
Pages : 235
Rating : 2.5/5

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A Man of Genius

Let's discuss

Do you love books with Gothic undertones? Do you have any recommendations for me?

Why are all gothic stories set in huge mansions? (Now that is a question we need to talk LOTS about. Why? Can you think of any gothic themed stories not set in mansions?)

About the Author

Lynn Rosen was born and raised in New York City. She has lived in Japan, the Midwest, and the East Coast, and been published in The Texas Quarterly and Caprice. A longtime fan of Gothic fiction, Lynn Rosen wrote her first novel—A Man of Genius in 2016.

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This Post Has 18 Comments
    1. Thank you. If some parts (especially the romance. It did not fit in at all) were edited out and the the overall writing was made a bit more descriptive, it could have been a great read.

  1. This book doesn’t seem up my alley, but my sister loves reading about architects and landscape designers so maybe it’s something I could recommend to her to read on the plane this summer. I’m always frustrated with books that have contrived romances, and this seems like the issue you had with this book as well — isn’t that the worst?

    1. I hear you. Romance often feels like a formula that MUST be included in a book. I would not have minded if the romance progressed in a more convincing way. I mean how can you fall in love with someone who is a hurdle to your business meetings? Glad you think the same.

  2. I’m not sure it would be my kind of read, although it does sound interesting in many aspects. I love the honesty in your review though. Well done!

  3. Heh the mansion or Castle etc is the trope in Gothic lit! I love secrets and mansions in lit but probably this book is not for me. Maybe without that awful dude character. Great honest review though

  4. For books that are slow to start and ponderous, I need to be well-rested and not bothered by external anxieties. I need to be fully immersed to appreciate it and sometimes I can’t do that! In general, I read best when I’m not tired and well rested, so sometimes I try to nap for an hour after I get off work to wake up and read refreshed, but then I feel guilty about napping and not spending that time being productive! haha
    Anyway, this book doesn’t sound like it’s for me either, but at least it was short! I’m sure someone else would enjoy it.

  5. The premise of this remind me of that movie Big Eyes, from the perspective of a talented woman whose work is stolen by her husband while she stays stuck in the shadows. Mind you, I am not good with slow reads, I’m much too impatient. So thanks for letting us know

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