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A Storm in the Stars

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In London, early in the nineteenth century, five-year-old Mary Godwin, daughter of philosopher William Godwin, plays with her sister Fanny, mourns her deceased mother, and marvels as a hot air balloon lands not far from the Thames. Nearby, in Sussex, eleven-year-old Percy Shelley entertains his three sisters by telling them stories and performing tricks with chemicals and In London, early in the nineteenth century, five-year-old Mary Godwin, daughter of philosopher William Godwin, plays with her sister Fanny, mourns her deceased mother, and marvels as a hot air balloon lands not far from the Thames. Nearby, in Sussex, eleven-year-old Percy Shelley entertains his three sisters by telling them stories and performing tricks with chemicals and fire. A few years later Mary and Percy meet and fall in love in the Godwin bookshop near Black Friar’s Bridge. At first their romance seems doomed—Percy is a well-known atheist and already has a wife, and Mary is only seventeen and a under the care of her father and his overbearing second wife. But they consider such impediments trivial and are soon on their way to Ireland, to Switzerland, and across Europe (with Mary’s flighty half-sister Claire in tow). Upon reaching Lake Geneva they find lodgings near where the notorious poet Lord Byron and his peculiar personal physician John Polidori are staying—the same Lord Byron Claire seduced back in London, her reasoning being that if Mary can have a poet, why can’t she? And so begins the summer when Mary Shelley will begin writing her novel about a reanimated corpse, Percy and Lord Byron will debate politics and poetry in the midst of lightning storms, Polidori will begin writing his novel about a man with a taste for human blood, and snow will fall in the middle of July.


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In London, early in the nineteenth century, five-year-old Mary Godwin, daughter of philosopher William Godwin, plays with her sister Fanny, mourns her deceased mother, and marvels as a hot air balloon lands not far from the Thames. Nearby, in Sussex, eleven-year-old Percy Shelley entertains his three sisters by telling them stories and performing tricks with chemicals and In London, early in the nineteenth century, five-year-old Mary Godwin, daughter of philosopher William Godwin, plays with her sister Fanny, mourns her deceased mother, and marvels as a hot air balloon lands not far from the Thames. Nearby, in Sussex, eleven-year-old Percy Shelley entertains his three sisters by telling them stories and performing tricks with chemicals and fire. A few years later Mary and Percy meet and fall in love in the Godwin bookshop near Black Friar’s Bridge. At first their romance seems doomed—Percy is a well-known atheist and already has a wife, and Mary is only seventeen and a under the care of her father and his overbearing second wife. But they consider such impediments trivial and are soon on their way to Ireland, to Switzerland, and across Europe (with Mary’s flighty half-sister Claire in tow). Upon reaching Lake Geneva they find lodgings near where the notorious poet Lord Byron and his peculiar personal physician John Polidori are staying—the same Lord Byron Claire seduced back in London, her reasoning being that if Mary can have a poet, why can’t she? And so begins the summer when Mary Shelley will begin writing her novel about a reanimated corpse, Percy and Lord Byron will debate politics and poetry in the midst of lightning storms, Polidori will begin writing his novel about a man with a taste for human blood, and snow will fall in the middle of July.

37 review for A Storm in the Stars

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maggie

    A good read and a fascinating portrayal of the era and the rebels who saw its flaws, perhaps without understanding their own. The characters are passionate believers ill suited to the age they lived in and their activism would be damned in the same vein by many people today. I'm always grateful for a book I can read, enjoy, and learn from. There's a fascinating article in the 2018 New Yorker by Jill Lepore about the Mary Shelley and the writing of Frankenstein. I recommend it as well. A good read and a fascinating portrayal of the era and the rebels who saw its flaws, perhaps without understanding their own. The characters are passionate believers ill suited to the age they lived in and their activism would be damned in the same vein by many people today. I'm always grateful for a book I can read, enjoy, and learn from. There's a fascinating article in the 2018 New Yorker by Jill Lepore about the Mary Shelley and the writing of Frankenstein. I recommend it as well.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Summers

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia

  4. 4 out of 5

    Janet Martin

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anabel

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jean-Louise

  7. 4 out of 5

    William Smith

  8. 5 out of 5

    William Robb

  9. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natasa

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Bianchi

  15. 5 out of 5

    Srijana

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rossa Sung

  17. 4 out of 5

    Books, Brews & Booze

  18. 5 out of 5

    Megan Weiss

  19. 4 out of 5

    Angelia

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bronwyn

  21. 5 out of 5

    Summer DuPree

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rob Erickson

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tammy-Jim

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bess

  25. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Peterson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Micah

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kacey

  28. 5 out of 5

    Faith

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

  31. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

  32. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

  33. 5 out of 5

    Terri

  34. 4 out of 5

    Robin

  35. 4 out of 5

    Mariana Walsh

  36. 4 out of 5

    Natarez

  37. 4 out of 5

    Hestia

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