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Monsters by Sharon Dogar


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"1814: Mary Godwin, the 16-year-old daughter of radical socialist and feminist writers, runs away with a dangerously charming young poet - Percy Bysshe Shelley. From there, the two young lovers travel a Europe in the throes of revolutionary change, through high and low society, tragedy and passion, where they will be drawn into the orbit of the mad and bad Lord Byron. But Mary and Percy are not alone: they bring Jane, Mary's young step-sister. And she knows the biggest secrets of them all.

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication of Frankenstein, Sharon Dogar tells the tale of its enigmatic, rebellious and fascinating author.

I'm just going to pause here to say that I love Frankenstein. I read it when I was about 11 and cried at the ending. It's why I went to Keele University - they had a Gothic literature module and Frankenstein and Dracula (another firm favourite) were on the set text list - and I was beyond excited to be asked to read and review this book. It will be no surprise to anyone that I loved it.

Dogar weaves a compelling narrative of the young Mary Shelley's life; the loss of her radical and infamous mother, her difficult relationship with her stepmother, her first meeting with Percy Bysshe Shelley, the coup de foudre that ignited their relationship, and the all-consuming passion of both their relationship and the creation of her most famous work.

Funny, moving, tragic and heartbreaking at times, I could not put this down. For me, as a huge Mary Shelley fan, I really felt that Dogar conveyed the conflicts within her and how she was almost a woman out of her time. Read this, and then go and read Frankenstein, The Last Man and Transformation.