"She is singularly bold, somewhat imperious, and active of mind. Her desire of knowledge is great, and her perseverance in everything else she undertakes, almost invincible."
Mary Shelley began Frankenstein in 1814, when she was eighteen. By then, she had been living for two years in a scandalous relationship with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was already married with children. The novel was conceived in a contest with him and Lord Byron to tell ghost stories.
When she eloped with Shelley, Mary had been quite prepared to suffer condemnation from society. It was much harder to cope with her jealousy of Claire, her step-sister, who had run away with them and was also in love with Shelley. During the nine turbulent years Mary and Shelley were together, Claire was the ever-present third, whose manipulative behaviour often drove Mary to despair. Shelley was little help - his unconventional attitudes to love strained her devotion to its limits.
They moved constantly throughout England, Switzerland and Italy, escaping creditors, censorious families and ill health. It was in Italy that they found their spiritual home, their 'paradise of exiles', but it was also there that the loss of her children nearly broke Mary's spirit.
Her writing became her grip on sanity, and Shelley never wavered from his belief in her creative genius - as she believed in his.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.76(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
After drawing her readers into each chapter with a literary quote, the author uses references from Greek mythology as well as devices such as alliteration, metaphors and similes which build each scene for her characters’ interactions to unfold. I particularly liked the anthropomorphism of ‘London stretching its early morning limbs’. We witness some of Mary’s experiences which subsequently influenced the plot in Frankenstein, as the bohemian family continue their nomadic life in Europe. Whilst they are plagued by a series of misfortunes, they find a measure of contentment among the expat community in Italy, along with some local and international intelligentsia. We sympathise with Mary as she continues to struggle with her nemesis. The altruistic, philanthropic and unworldly Shelley takes every cause to heart but appears unable to acknowledge the pain caused to Mary (now his wife) by the ever-present self-centred Claire. It is challenging to blend historical facts with fictional emotions but Ms Burdon manages it superbly. The pace of the novel is well-balanced and the author has clearly researched her subject thoroughly. She gives us glimpses of incidents of the time, including the Spa Field Riots of 1816, as well as the Peterloo Massacre and the Pentrich Rising of 1817. References to the couple’s work are cleverly interspersed throughout which also anchors this tale in its place in history. Ultimately, this is a love story with the underlying themes being the belief the couple have in each other’s talent as well as their independence of mind. I would recommend "Almost Invincible" to anyone with an interest in Mary Shelley or who likes historical family drama. I found this novel compelling and award it five stars. Reviewed by Julie at Whispering Stories Book Blog
The life and creativity of Mary Shelley continues to fascinate long after her death. In this version of her life, we are given a close glimpse into the people that helped shape her destiny - how the death of her writer mother impacted her, how her love for Percy Bysshe sucked her into a lower status and a bit of a debauched social life, her relationship with Lord Byron, and the responsibility she carried for her step-sister Claire Clairmont. Her loves, her sources for inspiration, and her talents are highlighted in wonderful detail. The book's pace is slow, but it is a biographical and is to be expected because of the research and details that have been included. Mary was not afraid to break with convention and face scandal. I think it is this that fascinates readers because she is of the Victorian era with strict morals and social norms. If you're looking for an accurate, rich, and descriptive biography about Shelley, then this is the book to read! Very well done! Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.