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Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.

Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#1 by Lisalovecraft
» 03 Jun 2015, 20:07

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics" by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Michael January.]

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4 out of 4 stars
Review by Lisalovecraft
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Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics. The Secret Memoirs of Mary Shelley by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Michael January sheds light into the Romantic era of the 1800’s. This historical fiction novel is recommended to anyone who is interested in the lives of the romantics Percy Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.

Mary Shelley is most famous for the classic horror novel Frankenstein. If you have not read it yet, I implore you to do so! No movie adaptation has done this book justice. There is much speculation on the inspiration of Mary Shelley’s tale. I was expecting this book to explore the actual writing of Frankenstein, which was written for a contest with Percy Shelley and Lord Byron on who could write the spookiest tale. This book is something far different but no less fascinating.

This journal describes the time when Mary, at age sixteen, eloped with poet Percy Shelley, and with her younger sister traveled across Europe. The events described take place about two years before the writing of Frankenstein. This journal provides a subtle but illuminating look into the lives and times of these writers.

This book is said to be recreated from secret letters found long after Mary Shelley’s death. I’m unsure where the true diary ends and the conjecture comes in. The voice remains consistent throughout and I applaud collaborator Michael January for that. I know the basics of the lives of these authors, and everything in the book sounds plausible.

The read was enjoyable and captures the feel of this time period. The inspiration for Frankenstein is interspersed throughout the book. From joining conversations on religion and philosophy with her father and his friends, to her stilted relationship with her stepmother and her grief over her own mother’s death, we can see the events that shaped Mary Shelley’s life and inspired her writing.

The story’s pacing is appropriate for a tale of a leisurely tour through the countryside. During the course of reading, I was able to feel the pleasures of exploring the beautiful European landscape interspersed with the discomforts of being short on money and dealing with rude people and poor housing. Character development is very fleshed out. The action is character-based, and explores the interpersonal drama between the characters, especially Mary and her little sister.

Percy Shelley’s ideals of “free love” are explored: what it means, its complications, and the shock it caused during this time period. Readers also get a glimpse at the political climate across Europe at the time. I was able to learn about Mary Shelley’s upbringing and the impact that her feminist mother made during this time when religion and social mores made things very oppressive for women.

I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed it. My one complaint is that I am unsure how much of the book was actually written by Mary Shelley. I was left confused by that. Otherwise, the book was amazing. I have more of an understanding of the inspiration for Frankenstein and more appreciation for Mary Shelley’s life and the Romantic Era in general after reading this book.

******
Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#2 by bookowlie
» 10 Jul 2015, 17:14

Wow, this book looks great! I like books like this, where you find out more about the "story behind the story". Nice review!
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#3 by Lisalovecraft
» 10 Jul 2015, 23:23

Thank you! I think a book like this has a fairly specialized audience, but those that want to read it will be impressed! It was way different than what I expected, but very fascinating!
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#4 by amybo82
» 11 Jul 2015, 09:41

This sounds so interesting! You mention that it's hard to tell where the historical part ends and the fiction part begins. I think it would be really interesting if the author had included a picture of one of the letters. I loved reading Frankenstein, and I think Mary Shelley's personal life was just as interesting as the fictional worlds she created! Great review!
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#5 by Jesska6029
» 12 Jul 2015, 13:47

I love Frankenstein and Mary Shelley. Your review has completely sold me on this book. Loved the review!
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#6 by Cee-Jay Aurinko
» 13 Jul 2015, 04:07

Good job on a review well done. In fact, I'm kinda jealous. Book sounds awesome.
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#7 by Lisalovecraft
» 13 Jul 2015, 10:17

Jesska6029 wrote:I love Frankenstein and Mary Shelley. Your review has completely sold me on this book. Loved the review!


Being in a diary format,it made everything seem more memorable than if it was just a dry history book. I really can't say enough good things about this book!!

-- 13 Jul 2015, 10:18 --

Leon Durham wrote:Good job on a review well done. In fact, I'm kinda jealous. Book sounds awesome.


Hah, I was so happy that I had the opportunity to read this, and even more so since the book exceeded my expectations!
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#8 by Levi
» 13 Jul 2015, 23:29

Fantastic job Lisa, what well written review. I also love hearing the story behind the story. I believe I will add this to my list now along with--please hold with the pitchforks, and don't pillage my village--the actual book Frankenstein. I'm ashamed I've never read it or Dracula. I think I will read both soon. Again, job well done!!
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#9 by Lisalovecraft
» 14 Jul 2015, 08:22

Escapeartist wrote:Fantastic job Lisa, what well written review. I also love hearing the story behind the story. I believe I will add this to my list now along with--please hold with the pitchforks, and don't pillage my village--the actual book Frankenstein. I'm ashamed I've never read it or Dracula. I think I will read both soon. Again, job well done!!


You know, it took forever for me to read Frankenstein. I can be a bit prejudiced against older books and just assume they will be stuffy or boring because they were written so long ago. Frankenstein is not like that at all! It is so good I was mad it took me so long to read! So I won't be coming after you with a pitchfork :lol: I totally get it! Dracula is a good book and worth reading, but IMO, Frankenstein is worlds better. Thanks for your feedback!
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#10 by Levi
» 14 Jul 2015, 08:57

You're welcome, I feel the same actually, so thanks for not pillaging my village. :)
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#11 by ananya92
» 14 Jul 2015, 09:16

The book sounds really interesting. Nice review!
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#12 by Lisalovecraft
» 14 Jul 2015, 09:48

Escapeartist wrote:You're welcome, I feel the same actually, so thanks for not pillaging my village. :)

Hah! No problem ;) I'm curious, is you avatar fromThe Neverending Story?

-- 14 Jul 2015, 09:48 --

ananya92 wrote:The book sounds really interesting. Nice review!

Thanks so much!
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#13 by Levi
» 14 Jul 2015, 09:52

Yes ma'am it is. I just love that picture.
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#14 by Lisalovecraft
» 14 Jul 2015, 09:57

I love that movie!! I need to watch it again sometime. It is a great picture. Quite fitting for this site too:)
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Re: Official Review: Frankenstein Diaries: The Romantics

Post Number:#15 by bluemel4
» 14 Jul 2015, 11:32

Wonderfully written review! I really enjoyed reading it. I know very little about Mery Shelley, but I do know that she is considered one of the most influential science fiction/ horror writers of her time. I am adding this to my to-read list.
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