Mary Shelley was born on this day in 1797 so it seems the perfect day to look at this book: Monsters by Sharon Dogar. It is a powerful retelling of the complex life of this remarkable woman and her relationship with the poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Mary’s story is as compelling and heart-breaking as that of the monster she created in her novel, ‘Frankenstein’. Her all encompassing passion for Shelley and the courage she showed in defying the social conventions of the day are vividly portrayed. The reader is amazed by her maturity, the courage of her convictions and filled with compassion as she is brutally rejected by her father- although he continues to expect Shelley’s support. There is certainly more than one ‘monster’ in this book.
Each character is carefully developed, allowing to reader to empathise- or not- as the drama unfolds. Mary is painfully aware of how her actions affect others whereas Shelley is largely focused on his own needs and ideals. Mary’s step-sister, Claire, is determined to follow the ideals she believes in, yet ultimately pays a high price for being a woman who does not conform. In her notes at the end, Sharon Dogar quotes Claire’s own words, claiming Shelley and Byron were ‘monsters of lying, meanness, cruelty and treachery…’ leading to the title of the book.
Absolutely compelling. ‘Monsters’ is a real masterpiece.
Monsters Sharon Dogar
Andersen Press ISBN: 978-1783448029