Mary: or, The Birth of Frankenstein
by Anne Eekhout
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Pub Date 2 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 14 Nov 2023
There is a beast inside her, a monster. It wants to scream, it wants to tear things apart.
1816. Mary, eighteen years old, is staying in a villa on Lake Geneva with her lover Percy Shelley. She is tormented by his infidelities; haunted by the loss of her baby daughter.
Then one evening with friends, as storms rage outside and laudanum stirs their imaginations, Lord Byron challenges everyone to write a ghost story, and something fierce and wild awakens in Mary.
Memories surface of the long, strange summer she once spent with a family in Scotland, where she found herself falling in love with the enigmatic Isabella Baxter. She learned tales of mythical beasts, witches and spirits. And she encountered real monsters - both in the rocky wilds, and far, far closer to home...
Illuminating the past like a flash of lightning, this brilliant reimagining of the birth of Frankenstein takes us into a feverish world of waking dreams-where grief mingles with desire, and the veil between beauty and horror grows thin.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 38 members
This brings to life very nicely the famous five, and the challenge that lead to the birth of Frankenstein.
The part set a few years earlier , weaves in parts of the now so very well known book, that I couldn't help but go "ah, I see" to myself a few times. 😄
It also brought home how very young Mary was, how annoying Clare was, and really how self indulgent they all were.
A most enjoyable few hours.
Frankenstein is one of my favourite novels. I was quite skeptical to read a reimagination of it but I really enjoyed it and felt immersed in the dark world that it created.
The dark atmosphere was a stand out for me in this book, which brings back the tale of one of the most famous literary characters I'd all time. A compelling read.
I have read several non fiction and fictional accounts about the Romantic poets and the "Famous Five" challenge in the past and also books about Mary Wollstonecraft and her equally famous daughter, Mary, which this story is about. So, for me, some of this story tread pretty familiar ground. I still enjoyed this book. The story it tells is very engaging. I love the dark, foreboding atmosphere and how the narrative highlights the ways in which the women in the group are treated as sex objects and goaded into competitive behaviour by the men who undermine and dismiss the talents of the women, especially Mary who is only 19. The book is a great, fresh retelling of a still interesting and relevant story.