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Almost Invincible Paperback – May 1, 2014
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Suzanne Burdon has written a superb fictional account of Shelley's life and melded real life drama with imaginings to create a gripping debut novel - Belinda Giblin (Actor)
About the Author
Social researcher, academic and author Suzanne Burdon's research for Almost Invincible has been extensive. She travelled to the UK, the US and Europe to maintain the authenticity of the story. The book whilst factually based, beautifully imagines the emotions, conversations, and some of the mysteries surrounding Mary Shelley's life. Burdon says of writing the book, 'Amongst the volumes of extant information and many complex biographies I glimpsed a Mary who was a teenage rebel, a grieving mother, a determined author and a long suffering lover of a man well ahead of his time. It made me want to tell her story.' Suzanne is British, and currently lives in Sydney, Australia.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book's pace is slow, but it is a biographical and is to be expected because of the research and details that have been included. Mary was not afraid to break with convention and face scandal. I think it is this that fascinates readers because she is of the Victorian era with strict morals and social norms. If you're looking for an accurate, rich, and descriptive biography about Shelley, then this is the book to read! Very well done!
Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The novel brings all the characters to life in a very vivid way. And it gave me a new admiration for Mary's achievement in creating Frankenstein. And I’d much rather learn about her through a novel than through reading a dry biography. This book gives me a real feel for Mary and the life she lived.
The story is told beautifully and makes for riveting reading. The characters jump off the page and the descriptions of locations and settings are captivating. The characters have so much of interest to say and it is if the author had a tape recorder hidden away with the Shelley entourage – such is the texture and intricacy of the dialogue.
Not being one to love historical books, I found this book absolutely charming and engaging. I have no doubt the author spent a lot of time researching the background and characters as one feels transported back to another era.
After drawing her readers into each chapter with a literary quote, the author uses references from Greek mythology as well as devices such as alliteration, metaphors and similes which build each scene for her characters’ interactions to unfold. I particularly liked the anthropomorphism of ‘London stretching its early morning limbs’.
We witness some of Mary’s experiences which subsequently influenced the plot in Frankenstein, as the bohemian family continue their nomadic life in Europe. Whilst they are plagued by a series of misfortunes, they find a measure of contentment among the expat community in Italy, along with some local and international intelligentsia.
We sympathise with Mary as she continues to struggle with her nemesis. The altruistic, philanthropic and unworldly Shelley takes every cause to heart but appears unable to acknowledge the pain caused to Mary (now his wife) by the ever-present self-centred Claire. It is challenging to blend historical facts with fictional emotions but Ms Burdon manages it superbly.
The pace of the novel is well-balanced and the author has clearly researched her subject thoroughly. She gives us glimpses of incidents of the time, including the Spa Field Riots of 1816, as well as the Peterloo Massacre and the Pentrich Rising of 1817. References to the couple’s work are cleverly interspersed throughout which also anchors this tale in its place in history.
Ultimately, this is a love story with the underlying themes being the belief the couple have in each other’s talent as well as their independence of mind. I would recommend "Almost Invincible" to anyone with an interest in Mary Shelley or who likes historical family drama. I found this novel compelling and award it five stars.
Reviewed by Julie at Whispering Stories Book Blog.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Title: Almost Invincible
Author: Suzanne Burdon