I was provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my rating. Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the advanced copy!
When I saw this book on NetGalley, I basically jumped at the chance to read it because I, admittedly, really enjoy Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I wasn’t raised watching the original Boris Karloff movie, but I loved Young Frankenstein and anything horror related. I was in high school by the time I read the book and was very impressed by how much I could still feel the impact of it.
In short, I love Frankenstein. So I had to read this once I saw this book was a thing.
The title, in a way, is a little misleading. It’s not just about the science that was going on at the time Frankenstein was written. That is a huge part of the book, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also focused on Mary Shelley’s upbringing, her affair and later marriage to Percy Shelley, her miscarriages, the political upheaval going on around her, and, of course, Enlightenment ideals with personhood and the advancement of the sciences. It’s quite a dense book, one that weaves in a very close look at the text and what Victor Frankenstein did with Mary Shelley’s life and the scientific advancements around her.
With all of those things going on, it could have come off as very dull and hitting me over the head with dates and people and facts to the point where I went cross-eyed and wanted the pain to end. But, I didn’t. I never felt too overwhelmed with names and dates weren’t a huge focus for me.
Harkup wrote this book to provide context to a story that is very well-known in today’s culture. She does that in many ways and you can see how they link into the story very easily. All in all, a well-done nonfiction book that accomplished what it aimed to do.