Book Drunkard

“I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.” L.M. Montgomery

The Determined Heart by Antoinette May, review

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The daughter of political philosopher William Godwin and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley had an unconventional childhood populated with the most talented and eccentric personalities of the time. After losing her mother at an early age, she finds herself in constant conflict with a resentful stepmother and a jealous stepsister. When she meets the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, she falls deeply in love, and they elope with disastrous consequences. Soon she finds herself destitute and embroiled in a torturous love triangle as Percy takes Mary’s stepsister as a lover. Over the next several years, Mary struggles to write while she and Percy face ostracism, constant debt, and the heartbreaking deaths of three children. Ultimately, she achieves great acclaim for Frankenstein, but at what cost?


THE DETERMINED HEART by Antoinette May is the story of Mary (Wollstonecraft) Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, and her fascinating life.  I knew nothing of Mary before reading this book, but that’s what I love best about Historical Fiction.  I was constantly going back and forth between reading and Googling pictures and facts about her, Bysshe, Claire, Lord Byron, and the rest of her circle.

I really enjoyed the book.  The author writes with a lot of detail which I always appreciate.  The characters are developed well – even though I didn’t not care for most of them!  Most of them were selfish and detestable and if I were Mary, I’m not sure I would have stuck with them for so long.  But, that didn’t take away from the pleasure I received from reading their stories.  I was particularly fascinated with how the story of her monster began in her mind and reading about its evolution.  For the most part, it seems like Mary was surrounded by horrible people which, in my eyes, makes her life all the more interesting and Frankenstein that much more of a triumph.

With an easy to read tale that perhaps ended a bit too abruptly for my taste, I give THE DETERMINED HEART 4 stars ****.

I received an ebook copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review


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