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Monsters: The passion and loss that created Frankenstein

Monsters: The passion and loss that created Frankenstein

Sharon Dogar
Andersen Press Ltd
ISBN: 9781783449033

This book was wonderful, I found myself completely absorbed into the tale of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Woolstonecraft Godwin and Claire Clairmont and their fight against the conventions of a society that rigidly rejected their way of life.

Percy, or Bysshe as he was known, infatuated all three daughters in the household of William Godwin but he only had eyes for Mary. He, however, was married and had deserted his pregnant wife and young child. When Mary and her step sister Jane, later known as Claire, ran away with Bysshe, there was uproar and they were ostracised from society, which worsened when Mary became pregnant.

The three of them moved regularly from place to place, at home and abroad, to evade creditors and to move from the hostility towards them. They eventually became associates of Lord Byron, who had also gotten himself embroiled in many scandals.

One evening the group of friends challenged each other to write a ghost story. Although initially stuck for ideas, Mary started to write the classic Frankenstein, subconsciously inspired by events that had happened to her and her family. She became obsessed with the writing of it while tragedies and losses continued to happen around her.

This was such a tragic and sad book. Mary and Bysshe lost so many children and Bysshe tragically died in a boating accident at the age of 29. I had not been aware of much of their background and it was engrossing to learn about them. Recommended for age 14+.

464 pages / Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Amanda Hamilton, school librarian


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