KATHLEEN WILLIAMS RENK
Scholar and Historical Fiction Writer
Published by Cuidono Press (Brooklyn)
Winner of Story Circle Network's 2021 May Sarton Award in Historical Fiction
Semi-finalist for the Goethe Award
Long-listed for the Chautauqua Prize
Mary Godwin is a teenager with a formidable pedigree. Both of her parents are philosophers but it is Mary Wollstonecraft, the mother she never met, who haunts her waking and dreaming worlds. Reading about her mother’s life and death inspires Mary to keep a journal. Just as the tumult of her parents’ relationship comes alive in her imagination, she meets emerging poet Percy Shelley. Even though he is married and his wife is pregnant, Shelley threatens to kill himself if Mary will not elope with him. It’s possible that Shelley is mad, but their intellectual and creative affinities convince her that she is his Child of Light.
Passionate and intellectual, Mary struggles with the demands of her volatile husband and their circle of friends, including her stepsister Claire and George Gordon, Lord Byron. But as she writes Frankenstein, she also muses about her encounters with her creature and the philosophical questions of life, death, and creation that undergird her novel. Justifying their unconventional life and enduring personal tragedies, Mary follows in her mother’s footsteps, as she contemplates a woman’s place in literature and the world.
"Vindicated is an admiring and graceful tribute to Mary Shelley, who was challenged to bridge her writing with the tasks of motherhood." —Karen Rigby, Foreword Reviews
"Shelley’s waking and dreaming worlds conspire to create the most famously human “monster” in literature. You’ll read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein with new eyes after you have devoured this book." —Mary Helen Stefaniak, award-winning author of The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia and The Turk and My Mother