Synopses & Reviews
The truly electric
story of Mary Shelleys Frankenstein
, this book—printed with special ink—literally glows in the dark!
Told with the verve and ghoulish fun of a Tim Burton film, The Lady and Her Monsters is a highly entertaining blend of literary history, lore, and early scientific exploration that traces the origins of the greatest horror story of all time-Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Exploring the frightful milieu in which Frankenstein was written, Roseanne Montillo, an exciting new literary talent, recounts how Shelley's Victor Frankenstein mirrored actual scientists of the period. Montillo paints a rich portrait of Shelley and her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and their contemporaries and their friend Lord Byron. Intellectually curious, they were artists, poets, and philosophers, united in captivation with the occultists and daring scientists risking their reputations and their immortal souls to advance our understanding of human anatomy and medicine.
These remarkable investigations could not be undertaken without the cutthroat grave robbers who prowled cemeteries for a supply of fresh corpses. The newly dead were used for both private and very public autopsies and dissections, as well as the most daring trials of all: attempts at human reanimation through the application of electricity.
Juxtaposing monstrous mechanization and rising industrialism with the sublime beauty and decadence of the legendary Romantics who defined the age, Montillo takes us into a world where poets become legends in salons and boudoirs; where fame-hungry "doctors" conduct shocking performances for rabid, wide-eyed audiences; and where maniacal body snatchers secretly toil in castle dungeons.
"Montillo's debut, a macabre romp through 18th and 19th century Europe, illuminates the circumstances and inspiration behind one of gothic literature's most notorious tales. Walking a fine line between historical fact and logical conjecture, the book deftly weaves details of Mary Shelley's early life into the cultural and scientific map of the time in which she was writing. Grim body snatchers, cadaver-carving surgeons, and nefarious alchemists litter the pages. In her retelling of the genesis story of Frankenstein, Montillo offers a constellation of personalities that surrounded Shelley during her hasty writing of the tale. Heavily referencing letters and personal journals, Montillo analyzes Shelley's literary cohorts, providing insight into the motives of her famous literary companions, the haunted Percy Shelley and womanizing Lord Byron. The picture painted provides much room for speculation, stripping long-embellished versions of the story down to the verifiable facts. Who really gave Shelley the technical know-how to write what she did? What were the true origins of her long-standing depression? Fraught with suicides, superstitions, natural disasters, and love affairs, the life of Mary Shelley shares much emotionally with the harrowing tale of her great protagonist, Victor Frankenstein. A delicious and enticing journey into the origins of a masterpiece. Illus. Agent: Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Enthusiatic prose... A Spirited investigation of the bizarre times that inspired Mary Shelleys Frankenstein.” Shelf Awareness (Starred Review)
“With a flair for both drama and detail, Montillo breathes her own kind of life into the story of the men determined to discover its very elements.” Discover Magazine
“Spills the dirt on the making of the 19th-century novel--affairs, family drama, a lake house with Lord Byron!--and paints a grimly fascinating picture of the dissections and experiments in “animal electricity” that inspired the gothic tale.” Mental Floss
“Her narrative… rattles enjoyably through a lurid and restless landscape. … Equally a literary and a scientific endeavor.” Wall Street Journal
“Montillo achieves a freshness through her lively narrative approach and a fascination with long-ago science and its ethics that sparks across the pages.” New York Times Book Review
“A delicious and enticing journey into the origins of a masterpiece.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Montillos book is a welcome tribute to the literary, and especially the scientific, roots of the story.” The Commercial Dispatch
“A welcome tribute to the literary, and especially the scientific, roots of the story.” The Lady and Her Monsters
“Montillo never loses sight of the fact that it was Mary Shelleys imagination that sewed the pieces together - and provided the vital spark that keeps the tale alive nearly two centuries on.” New Scientist
“A haunting picture of an era in which science and the arts overlapped, a perfect storm in which inspiration for “Frankenstein” could strike. Like a bolt of lightning.” Washington Post
The Lady and Her Monsters
by Roseanne Motillo brings to life the fascinating times, startling science, and real-life horrors behind Mary Shelleys gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein
Montillo recounts how—at the intersection of the Romantic Age and the Industrial Revolution—Shelleys Victor Frankenstein was inspired by actual scientists of the period: curious and daring iconoclasts who were obsessed with the inner workings of the human body and how it might be reanimated after death.
With true-life tales of grave robbers, ghoulish experiments, and the ultimate in macabre research—human reanimation—The Lady and Her Monsters is a brilliant exploration of the creation of Frankenstein, Mary Shelleys horror classic.
About the Author
Roseanne Montillo holds an MFA from Emerson College in Massachusetts, where she continues to teach as a professor of literature. She lives in Boston.