SYNOPSIS: A telling of the life of Mary Shelley and the creation of Frankenstein.
Mary Shelley was a fascinating woman and I’m glad that there is a historical fiction novel about her! Unfortunately, I feel like there were too many moments told from other people’s points of view to truly consider this book to be solely about Mary Shelley. If anything, I would argue that this is about Mary Shelley, her sister Fanny, and her step-sister Claire. Although the majority of the book is from Mary’s point of view, Fanny and Claire each have an equal share in taking the story on little side steps in order to give a complete picture about what was going on in life. The only other thing that I had a problem with was how little build up there was for the start of Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley’s relationship. I felt like in how the book was set up they met and then all of a sudden were in a relationship. I would have liked to see more of how their relationship bloomed, but it is hard to give things time when you’re trying to encompass an entire life in the pages of a book. One of the things that Antoinette May does really well is the set up for when Mary eventually writes Frankenstein. Every so often we are given musings from Mary that really help lay out the groundwork for the novel that she will write when challenged by Lord Byron. Another thing that is done well is the showcasing of how imperfect Mary and Percy’s relationship was, but for all the imperfections they still loved each other. I didn’t feel like Percy Bysshe Shelley was being villainized for his ideals of free love nor do I feel like Mary was shown as being a shrew of a wife for being a little hurt at his wandering eye even though she too understood his ideals. I also loved how each section of the novel featured a quote from both Shelleys and even some from Lord Byron. I think that if you are looking for a book solely about Mary Shelley then this isn’t quite what you are looking for, but it is very well written. Any historical fiction fan will be pleased with this book.
Thanks Lake Union Publishing for allowing me to read this book! Buy it here!