The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator Mary Shelley

The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator Mary Shelley
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Release Date
September 18, 2018
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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.

The story of Frankenstein’s creator is a strange, romantic, and tragic one, as deeply compelling as the novel itself. Mary ran away to Lake Geneva with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley when she was just sixteen. It was there, during a cold and wet summer, that she first imagined her story about a mad scientist who brought a corpse back to life. Success soon followed for Mary, but also great tragedy and misfortune.
Catherine Reef brings this passionate woman, brilliant writer, and forgotten feminist into crisp focus, detailing a life that was remarkable both before and after the publication of her iconic masterpiece. Includes index.

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The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator Mary Shelley
(Updated: September 11, 2018)
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What worked: This is a fascinating insight into the life of the author of Frankenstein. The beginning paragraph, when Mary Shelley's son finds the heart of his dead father in his mother's portal desk, introduces readers to the strangeness that was a part of Shelley's life.

One word sums up Mary Shelley's life: drama. Though she lived in the early 1800s, her life wasn't dull. The daughter of a feminist and known author, Mary ran away from home at age 16 with poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. He was the love of her life, but also the cause of heartache and much drama.

Readers find out more about Shelley's life. She was shunned by her family when she ran away. She also suffered miscarriages, deaths of children, smallpox, and being a widow at the age of 25. Her life is the stuff of tragedies, but she never gave up hope.

There's also references of how ruthless society at this time was to those who committed suicide and to unmarried women who had children. Mary had the brunt of society disapproval when she ran off with the poet Shelley, who was married and had one small child at the time.

The illustrations are equally fascinating. There's photos of Mary and Percy Shelley when young. Also photos of their children and friends like Lord Bryon.

Everyone knows the story of how the young friends met together and dared each other to write a horror story. This would be the backdrop to what inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein. There's a photo of the now crumbing ancient castle that might have been the inspiration of the Frankenstein's castle. We also see a picture of the handwriting of a page of the novel. There's also mention of Mary Shelley's other works.

Engaging story of the creator of Frankenstein and her strange but very true life that was filled with love, drama, and heartache.
Good Points
1. Fascinating insight into the life of the author of Frankenstein
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