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Summary

Mary Shelley was brought up by her father in a house filled with radical thinkers, poets, philosophers and writers of the day. 

Aged 16, she eloped with Percy Bysshe Shelley, embarking on a relationship that was lived on the move across Britain and Europe, as she coped with debt, infidelity and the deaths of three children before early widowhood changed her life forever. Most astonishingly, it was while she was still a teenager that Mary composed her canonical novel Frankenstein, creating two of our most enduring archetypes today. 

The life story is well known. But who was the woman who lived it? She's left plenty of evidence, and in this fascinating dialogue with the past, Fiona Sampson sifts through letters, diaries and records to find the real woman behind the story. She uncovers a complex, generous character - friend, intellectual, lover and mother - trying to fulfil her own passionate commitment to writing at a time when to be a woman writer was an extraordinary and costly anomaly.

©2018 Fiona Sampson (P)2018 W. F. Howes Ltd

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting book overall

Very interesting book about its subject and the times it covers but very poorly narrated by someone who seems to want to get to end as fast as possible with quite strange pronounciation at times.

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Baffling

I’m not exaggerating but being entirely literal, when I say I just had to stop listening to this (again), after only a few minutes; because I genuinely couldn’t stand to hear this reading any more. Hugely impressed by the fresh, erudite and engaging text, I found myself pinching my ears, at the alienating, repetitive singsong of the reader, brisk and soulless, and cringing as over and over again I heard how the author had phrased their work, and how it was being totally misread and ruined by her. Such a depressing experience. As someone with at least a modicum of familiarity with both writing and reading aloud, I find myself uncomprehending as to how this situation arises. Certainly it’s hard to imagine any kind of audition or even trial run process took place. Because I’d like to think at that point someone suitable would have been found instead. So - I really wanted to listen to this, but instead I’ll be buying the book, because it’s so obviously a wonderful and original piece of work. Shame it is so ill-served here.