Wednesday 8 November 2023

Mary or the Birth of Frankenstein by Anne Eekhout Blog Tour

 Tis the season for gothically mysterious novels so what better to read than Anne Eekhout's moody tale Mary or the Birth of Frankenstein.

There is a beast inside her, a monster. It wants to scream, it wants to tear things apart.


Scotland, 1812.

When Mary is sent to the countryside for her health, she soon finds herself falling for Isabella, the brooding, grief-stricken eldest daughter of the Baxter family. While the girls explore the local countryside that has harboured stories of witches, ghosts and monsters for centuries, they come across a creature unlike anything they’ve seen before…

Switzerland, 1816.

In the famous year without a summer, Mary is caught between her husband’s ideals of free love, her stepsister’s narcissism and the immense anguish she feels for her recently lost child. While her days are filled with strife, she spends the intoxicated, laudanum-filled nights sharing ghost stories. As Mary grapples with the inspiration for her famous novel amid the mists of oblivion, a flash of memory takes her back to her time in Scotland, and also to David Booth, the ominous man who took a sinister interest in Mary and Isabella…

This is the story of Mary Shelley. 

But not the woman as we have come to know her as. No, this looks at her teenage years and what shaped her early life.

Told via two differing time lines, four years apart. Straight away I found this intriguing as it wasn't like many stories where it is more past and present, instead these are two clearly significant years in Mary's life.

From the beginning, this book exudes an unsettling atmosphere.

As though there's something waiting around the corner to surprise you.

However, it's also strangely beautiful.

Reads like some sort of vivid dream.

During 1812 we see Mary both as a more innocent and teenager, unsure of the world and more easily swayed into thinking certain things and acting in ways that she feels will please others. And then  as we reach 1816, there's Mary, more grown. A mother, more self aware, displaying a confidence previously unseen.

A compelling read. 

Imaginative and quietly passionate.

I have to say for a piece of fantasy/historical fiction, it felt quite real. I got a the sense that it was all thoroughly researched, like we were getting a good glimpse into Mary's inner thoughts and feelings.

Made even more impressive by the fact that this was a translated story. Laura Watkinson has done a superb job as it flowed brilliantly.

Mary or the Birth of Frankenstein is bold and brooding, truly bringing Mary Shelley back to life.

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