2015 Book #120 – Almost Invincible by Suzanne Burdon

81dZAAdzscLTitle: Almost Invincible
Author: Suzanne Burdon
Date finished: 11/29/15
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Criteria Publishing
Publication Date: May 1, 2014
Pages in book: 328
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Author/publisher NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

“She is singularly bold, somewhat imperious, and active of mind. Her desire of knowledge is great, and her perseverance in everything else she undertakes, almost invincible.” Mary Shelley began Frankenstein in 1814, when she was eighteen. By then, she had been living for two years in a scandalous relationship with the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was already married with children. The novel was conceived in a contest with him and Lord Byron to tell ghost stories. When she eloped with Shelley, Mary had been quite prepared to suffer condemnation from society. It was much harder to cope with her jealousy of Claire, her step-sister, who had run away with them and was also in love with Shelley. During the nine turbulent years Mary and Shelley were together, Claire was the ever-present third, whose manipulative behaviour often drove Mary to despair. Shelley was little help – his unconventional attitudes to love strained her devotion to its limits. They moved constantly throughout England, Switzerland and Italy, escaping creditors, censorious families and ill health. It was in Italy that they found their spiritual home, their ‘paradise of exiles’, but it was also there that the loss of her children nearly broke Mary’s spirit. Her writing became her grip on sanity, and Shelley never wavered from his belief in her creative genius – as she believed in his.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is a fictional telling of Mary Shelley‘s life from about the time when she met Percy Shelley in 1814 until he died in 1822. This book is a fiction novel but is based upon their true story of true love that stood the test of my obstacles. From the loss of 4 children to the unending interference of Mary’s step-sister Claire to the fact that Percy was already married when they met, Mary and Percy’s love was not easily formed or maintained but it was true and deep. I thought this ended up being a wonderful love story wrapped up in a mini-drama.
The book chronicles different periods of time in the Shelley’s lives during which they traveled to Switzerland, France, and Italy. Mary’s step-sister Claire tags along from the beginning, mostly because she thinks she is also in love with Shelley but also because she can’t stand to let Mary have any fun/happiness. Claire as a character was just so easy to hate and, at very few times, also to pity. Mary and Shelley’s story was also full of other well-known and not-so well-known people of the time, including Lord Byron, Leigh Hunt, and Edward Williams. Shelley always felt best when surrounded by people who sympathized with his plights and his tribulations.
Overall I enjoyed this book a lot, it was packed full of interesting characters. It became a little frustrating that Mary could never seem to catch a break and honestly Shelley was a bit too naive for my tastes. He kept thinking that his first wife Harriet would come live with him and Mary as friends and bring his children to live with them all and they would just be one big happy family. He couldn’t understand why that was not only illogical but completely unreasonable. His naivete became almost charming by the end though, mostly because in reality he is just an endless optimist who only wanted to make every one around him happy. And while at times he could be insensitive to Mary’s feeling son certain subjects, his deep esteem and affection for her was obvious and touching. The plot line of the story was well paced and honestly I didn’t want to put it down. I thought this was a great story and I would recommend it!

The bottom line: I thought this book was really interesting! There was drama and despair and also happiness and a very true love. Definitely a great read!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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