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Mary Shelley
Cover of Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley
The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator
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On the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, comes a riveting biography of its author, Mary Shelley, whose life reads like a dark gothic novel, filled with scandal, death, drama, and one of the strangest love stories in literary history.

On the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, comes a riveting biography of its author, Mary Shelley, whose life reads like a dark gothic novel, filled with scandal, death, drama, and one of the strangest love stories in literary history.

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  • School Library Journal

    July 1, 2018

    Gr 7 Up-Reef traces the unconventional life of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, beginning with the somewhat gruesome discovery after her death of her husband's shriveled heart in a portable writing desk. Involved from age 16 in a relationship with the already married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, the teen wandered Europe for much of their time together, escaping disapproving families in England. Constantly short of funds, the couple often depended on the kindness of friends, including Lord Byron and editor/poet Leigh Hunt. At a gathering in a house rented by Bryon, the group challenged each other to write a ghost story, and Shelley produced the story of Victor Frankenstein and the being he brought to life. The bibliography is impressive; the author has mined primary and secondary sources to provide a detailed picture of Shelley's life. Nearly every page has images of people or places that help establish the social context of the early 1800s. Recounted chronologically, the narrative reads smoothly, spiced throughout with quotes from letters, journals, and poems. Reef manages to keep clear for readers the often complex tangle of Shelley's family relationships and friendships. Shelley comes solidly to life as a woman who, like her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, bucked the conventions of her time to follow her own star. VERDICT A strong source for research and simply a good read for biography fans.-Katherine Koenig, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    July 1, 2018
    "Every thing must have a beginning...and that beginning must be linked to something that went before."Mary Shelley's mother, the feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, died 11 days after her daughter was born. Reef (Victoria, 2017, etc.) describes Mary's upbringing at the hands of her "grave and severe" father, William Godwin, and her stepmother, Mary Jane Clairmont; and in the company of their children. Godwin was an atheist, a radical thinker, and a prolific author who believed in the importance of holistic education. His revolutionary views intrigued the precocious poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who frequented the Godwin home. Believing that Shelley was only interested in intellectual ideas, Godwin was shocked to discover that the charismatic poet and his 16-year-old daughter had fallen hopelessly in love. Hastily revising his liberal views, he forbade their union. Thus began a series of extraordinary adventures, from the flight of Mary and Percy to Europe, where they led a restless life, suffering the deaths of all but one of their children, culminating in Percy's tragic drowning off the Italian coast. Reef skillfully analyzes how Mary Shelley's terrible losses and her broad education and life experience influenced her extraordinary literary achievement, which included six novels in addition to the supremely influential Frankenstein.A thorough, sensitive portrayal of one of literature's most remarkable authors, illustrated with period portraits and engravings. (notes, bibliography, Mary Shelley's works, index) (Biography. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator
Catherine Reef
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