The Determined Heart

By now, you will have discovered a theme in the kind of historical fiction I prefer. I want to know the lives of women in our past–what drove them, inspired them, moved them. So often they have been looked over and silenced, but women have been doing great things as long as we have existed, and their stories should be known.

As we move into the haunted month of October, there’s no better woman to study than that who gave us our favorite Halloween monster. We’ve morphed her creature into something more neon and funky, but Mary Shelley’s original Creature sparked a brand new genre that has lead to so many brilliant minds.


Antionette May’s The Determined Heart uncovers the tragic history behind Frankenstein. This book is sopping with devastation, and if even half of it is as real as it feels in May’s fictionalized version, it’s no wonder Shelley was able to create such a passionate Creature.

Mary grew up surrounded by some of the most celebrated minds of her time–her father was William Godwin, and her mother was an infamous feminist author of the generation, Mary Wollstonecraft. Mary Shelley believed in the stories written about her mother, and wanted to follow the same path, but the people she surrounded herself with were not always kind or trustworthy, and that path was hard and painful.

May should sell Kleenex with her books, because there are few happy moments in Shelley’s life. The book is gorgeous, but I just want to grab a hold of her and shake her and rip her away from all that is wrong with her choices. Sometimes, stubbornness wins, I guess.

Netgalley has provided this ARC for an unbiased review. Releases on September 29.


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