Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Turning the Pen On Ourselves

Inspired by the movies Becoming Jane and Miss Potter, here's a book that also reimagines the life of a luminous literary figure.

AngelMonster by Veronica Bennett, Candlewick, 2006 - Here's the review I wrote for Historical Novel Society.

Veronica Bennett’s vivid portrayal of Mary Shelley in AngelMonster guides readers through the inspiration that led to her masterpiece novel, Frankenstein. It is a rare treat to see the culmination of circumstances that become the impetus for an author’s work. Angelmonster does just that. It gives us the voyeuristic pleasure of divulging the life of author Mary Shelley. The child of free-thinkers and surrounded by death and guilt, Mary creates a life for herself with the poet, Percy Shelley causing her family much scandal. She proceeds to turn these events into her own creation, the novel Frankenstein, a novel about creating life from death. Bennett does a wonderful job of interweaving the period and historical facts of Shelley’s life into the novel. Her characters are rich and believable. Angelmonster is the first of Bennett’s novels to be published in the United States. She resides in England, where she saw a portrait of Mary Shelley and became inspired herself.

I'd love to start a list of similar books. Let me know if you have any to add.

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