Her Lost Words – by Stephanie Marie Thornton – independent book review – Historical Fiction (England, France, Scandanavia)

For fans of LOVE AND FURY by Samantha Silva and MONSTER: THE STORY OF YOUNG MARY SHELLEY by M.R. Arnold AND for those enamored by EITHER the early feminist philosopher and writer, Mary Wollstonecraft OR her even more famous daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (the author of the wonderful novel Frankenstein and much more) — this is an emotional and engrossing retelling of the lives of two brilliant women you won’t want to miss. Awarded four stars on Goodreads.

I’m convinced that if these two Marys had been born men, everyone would known all about them. Author Stephanie Marie Thornton recounts the lives of these two accomplished women in alternating chapters. Both were surrounded by some of the most prominent thinkers of their day. And their stories couldn’t contain more drama if they had been made up.

Let’s start with Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797). A thinker way ahead of her time. Unfortunately, her unconventional personal choices shocked society and overshadowed her writings for decades. Against all expectations for women of her day, Mary W. promoted equal rights for women, believed in free love, argued against the legal “bondage” of married women, had love affairs, and gave birth to an illegitimate child. She ignored the very real threats of imprisonment and execution when she traveled alone to Paris to write a first-hand account of the French Revolution (1789-1799). Eventually Mary W. found her soulmate in philosopher William Godwin (1756-1836).

Her daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (1797-1851), also scandalized society by running away with the already married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) when she was just seventeen years old. Only two years later, as part of a competition with Shelley and the flamboyant poet Lord Byron, the younger Mary wrote FRANKENSTEIN; OR, THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. Her book was first published under a pseudonym because publishers at the time did not think readers would believe a young woman could write such a dark, Gothic tale. Of course now her novel is considered a classic and a trendsetter, one of the earliest examples of the genre of science fiction.

I have outlined only the basics of these two remarkable women. The book provides much more detail. Including more tragedy than anyone deserves — savage gossip, poverty, physical abuse, depression, suicide, ostracism, illness, and many deaths.

It’s a fast, compelling read about two truly fascinating women from history. And if you haven’t read the original FRANKENSTEIN novel, I recommend you do. You probably won’t even recognize the story, after all the movies that have been made. But it’s a sad, touching, and tender page-turner where, I promise, it’s the monster you will love.

More about the author, Stephanie Marie Thornton.

You may be interested in my reviews of other books by Thornton:



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