Title: Hideous Love
Author: Stephanie Hemphill
Summary: An all-consuming love affair.
A family torn apart by scandal.
A young author on the brink of greatness.
Hideous Love is the fascinating story of Gothic novelist Mary Shelley, who as a teen girl fled her restrictive home only to find herself in the shadow of a brilliant but moody boyfriend, famed poet Percy Shelley. It is the story of the mastermind behind one of the most iconic figures in all of literature: a monster constructed out of dead bodies and brought to life by the tragic Dr. Frankenstein.
Mary wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen, but inspiration for the monster came from her life-the atmospheric European settings she visited, the dramas swirling around her, and the stimulating philosophical discussions with the greatest minds of the period, like her close friend, Lord Byron.
My Thoughts: I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by a fascinating book that I was able to read over the course of a day. The fact that it’s written in verse doesn’t hurt matters, of course, but I’ve had novels in verse take longer to read, too. (I hope that makes sense.) I won’t wax poetic about novels in verse this time, as by now you likely know I generally love them. This one was done just as well as all of the others I’ve read thus far.
So, why’d I read this? Well, I’ve been interested in Mary Shelley since college, where I majored in English. One of my courses was on the Romantics, and we studied Mary and her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley. I was very interested in her, and – of course – loved Frankenstein. So, this seemed something I just should NOT pass up. I’m glad I didn’t, because it’s very, very good.
I had forgotten about her famous friends including Lord Byron, one of my favorite poets. I didn’t realize what an ass he was. Now, I know this is historical fiction – meaning things might not have been quite as they’re represented. Still, what an ass! And I do remember learning about his possible incestuous relationship with his sister. Eew! Anyway, I think this book will shed new light more on Byron’s writing than it will on Mary Shelley’s – for me, at least.
As to Mary, I didn’t realize how much she suffered in her life. The poor woman – her mother died when she was 11 days old. She buried three children, one of which only lived 11 days. And then the tragic death of her husband (about which I knew, thanks again to my college courses). That poor woman. I am tentatively interested in reading some of her works other than Frankenstein (which I’ve read a few times at this point). I say tentatively simply because I rarely have time for stuff I want to read simply for my own enjoyment.
If you’re a fan of Mary Shelley and/or the other Romantics, I highly recommend Hideous Love by Stephanie Hemphill. While I can’t say for sure how much is true and how much is fiction, this still gives valuable insight to a remarkable woman who was truly gifted. Reading her story made me want to reach through the pages and hug her. As for the author, I will definitely be reading more by her. I think, in fact, I’ll be getting her book about the Salem Witch Trials next time I head to the library.
Source: Received through Around the World Tours for review.
Read It: Hideous Love is scheduled for release around October 1, 2013. You can pre-order your own copy HERE. (This is a Book Depository link, and purchase through this link will result in my receiving a small commission at no cost to you. Your support is appreciated!)
FTC Disclosure: All items reviewed were either obtained by me for my own enjoyment or sent (from the author, publisher, publicist, via tour sites, etc.) in exchange for an honest review. I receive no monetary compensation for my posts. All opinions expressed are my own. Any exceptions to this are clearly noted in the appropriate posts.
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