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Mary Shelley
Cover of Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley
The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator
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This YA biography offers "a thorough, sensitive portrayal of one of literature's most remarkable authors, illustrated with period portraits and engravings" (Kirkus). Most famous for her iconic tale of...
This YA biography offers "a thorough, sensitive portrayal of one of literature's most remarkable authors, illustrated with period portraits and engravings" (Kirkus). Most famous for her iconic tale of...
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Description-

  • This YA biography offers "a thorough, sensitive portrayal of one of literature's most remarkable authors, illustrated with period portraits and engravings" (Kirkus).

    Most famous for her iconic tale of gothic horror, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley led a life that could itself have been a gothic novel. This "fascinating, scandal-rich" biography recounts a story full of drama, death, and one of the strangest romances in literary history (Booklist).

    Raised by her father, the political philosopher William Godwin, Shelley ran away to Lake Geneva with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley when she was only sixteen years old. 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.

    In Mary Shelley, 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 immortal masterpiece.

About the Author-

  • Catherine Reef is the award-winning author of more than forty nonfiction books for young people and adults, many of them biographies about influential women in history, including the highly praised Florence Nightingale. She lives in College Park, Maryland. www.catherinereef.com

Reviews-

  • 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.

  • Booklist

    June 1, 2018
    Grades 7-10 Veteran biographer Reef adds yet another book to the growing stack of Mary Shelley biographies with this cogent account, which outlines key moments from Mary Shelley's unusual life, including her childhood, grief over her mother, unconventional education, heartbreak over losing her children, and her scandalous relationship with Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was married when he first met Mary. Her atypical lifestyle (she was routinely lambasted by the public and shunned by her family) plays a significant role here, but her writing career is undeniably fascinating: Frankenstein, hailed as the first sci-fi novel, was only the first of many books Mary Shelley wrote, and her subsequent volumes, spanning a variety of genres, were largely forgotten until relatively recently. Quotes from letters, diaries, and poems, as well as photos and illustrations, enliven the text, and Reef does an excellent job of putting Mary Shelley's life and work in context. Teen fans of Frankenstein will be doubly rewarded by both an account of the inspiration for the novel and the fascinating, scandal-rich life of its author.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

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    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator
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