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Children's LiteratureMary is a rebellious sixteen-year-old who falls passionately in love with the poet Percy Shelley and runs away with him, regardless that he has a wife and two children. Mary comes from a family of free thinkers, however, and her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, was very liberal in the areas of religion and sexual relations. In this fictional rendition of Mary Shelley's life, the chronological facts are mostly accurate, but Mary's thoughts and emotions are fictionalized. All her life, Mary is plagued by death—her mother during childbirth, her older sister through suicide, three of her four children plus one miscarriage, and her niece. One death, Shelley's wife, was a mixed blessing as it allowed Mary and Shelley to marry and legalize their children. One of Mary's most famous novels, Frankenstein, was written as a ghost story for her friends and family. In it Victor Frankenstein defies the gods by creating life itself but is later punished by his creation. Was Mary thinking of how her mother created her only to die in the process? Did Mary write Frankenstein because of all the deaths and the fervent belief she could spark the body and return it to life? The story is plausible, but the affairs between Mary and Shelley; Mary's sister, Claire, and the poet, Lord Byron; and Claire and Shelley are for the mature reader. 2005, Candlewick Press, Ages 14 to 18.
—Janet L. Rose