Paperback: 410 pages
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (September 29, 2015)
Frankenstein lives on as one of the most fascinating fictional creations of all time, but the true personal story of the women behind this work of genius is equally as compelling. In her new historical novel, The Determined Heart: The Tale of Mary Shelley and Her Frankenstein (Lake Union Publishing; September 29, 2015), New York Times bestselling author Antoinette May brings to life the tragic story of obsessive love, betrayal, and redemption that spawned an enduring classic. In a story more dramatic and tragic than anything a writer could invent, the lives of Mary Shelley, her great love, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and her complex web of family and friends entwine in a chronicle of strange behavior, bohemian attitudes, and unconventional acts as far ahead of their time as the amazing literary work that grew from them.
Mary Godwin Shelley was the daughter of two revolutionary thinkers—political philosopher William Godwin and philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. An unconventional childhood in an intellectual, if impecunious household would shape the young girl’s renegade spirit. When still a teenager, she ran off with the already-married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, an act of equal parts passion and defiance that led to a life of wandering destitution. Espousing free love, the couple would endure its share of tragedies, each of which would add to their romantic legacy. From the darkness that surrounded her life, though, the brilliant and talented Mary imagined a timeless work of fiction that secured her place in history, if not her happiness.
The Determined Heart is a masterful work of historical fiction that reanimates the timeless story of an iconic literary life.
“Epic in scope, this is a beautifully written novel about a woman whose story is every bit as extraordinary and gripping as that of the epic character she created, Frankenstein. May’s meticulous research and exquisite prose shine on every page.” —Erika Mailman, author of The Witch’s Trinity and Woman of Ill Fame
“May displays a deft flair for historical fiction…” –BookList on Pilate’s Wife, A Novel of the Roman Empire
It's remarkable to think how young Mary Shelley was when she wrote Frankenstein. Then again, she met Percy Bysshe Shelley when she was fourteen, run away with him when she was sixteen and bore him four children of which only one survived to grow up. What a fantastic and tragic life she lived.
Mary Wollstonecraft died in childbirth so Mary and her older sister Fanny grew up with their father William Godwin who later married Mary Jane Clairmont who already had a daughter called Claire Clairmont. She had a troubled relationship with her stepmother and stepsister. She burns all the bridges when she runs away with Bysshe. Bysshe is already married with a child and a baby on its way. But they are in love and that's all that matters. The problem is that Clair is running away with them and that is the start of a love triangle since Bysshe is all for free love and even encourage Mary to sleep with another man. Still they stay together and their love story will live on after they both are gone.
I read Passion by Jude Morgan a couple of years ago. Passion takes up the women who loved Shelley, Byron, and Keats. This book focus on the love story between Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelly, but Lord Byron is also a big part of the story since he had an affair with Claire Clairmont and he was a friend to both Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelly. It's an often tragic book to read because, despite the deep love between Mary and Bysshe couldn't he be truly faithful even though she was the woman he loved the most. Mary had to face a life with a man who truly believed that marriage wasn't necessary and they would probably never have married if he didn't want to gain custody of his children with Harriet, the wife he left behind. Also, Mary had to put up with Claire all through her marriage. But the hardest part in this book to read was the death of all the children. One after another died and it's really tragic to think that of all the children Mary gave birth to, only the youngest Percy survived.
I think this book was well written and interest to read. I already have some previous knowledge about the lives and fates of Bysshe and Lord Byron, but I didn't know that much about Mary Shelley and it was intriguing to learn more about her growing up and her life with Bysshe and after his death. Antoinette May has written a really good book and I felt enriched when I finished the book. Not only did I learn more about the characters in this book I learned more about the time they lived in and I really keen on reading more about Mary Wollstonecraft, a woman I have heard about, but not know so much about.
Antoinette May is the author of Pilate’s Wife and The Sacred Well and coauthor of the New York Timesbestseller Adventures of a Psychic. An award-winning travel writer specializing in Mexico, May divides her time between Palo Alto and the Sierra foothills.
Tuesday, September 29th: FictionZeal
Tuesday, September 29th: The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, September 30th: BookNAround
Thursday, October 1st: From L.A. to LA
Friday, October 2nd: Guiltless Reading
Monday, October 5th: It’s a Mad Mad World
Tuesday, October 6th: Books a la Mode – author guest post
Wednesday, October 7th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Thursday, October 8th: Outlandish Lit
Monday, October 12th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, October 13th: A Literary Vacation
Wednesday, Otcoter 14th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Thursday, October 15th: Just One More Chapter
Monday, October 19th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, October 20th: Mom’s Small Victories
Wednesday, October 22nd: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, October 27th: Bibliophilia, Please
Date TBD: Romantic Historical Reviews