Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hideous Love by Stephanie Hemphill


An all-consuming love affair.
A family torn apart by scandal.
A young author on the brink of greatness.
Hideous Love is the fascinating story of Gothic novelist Mary Shelley, who as a teen girl fled her restrictive home only to find herself in the shadow of a brilliant but moody boyfriend, famed poet Percy Shelley. It is the story of the mastermind behind one of the most iconic figures in all of literature: a monster constructed out of dead bodies and brought to life by the tragic Dr. Frankenstein.
Mary wrote Frankenstein at the age of nineteen, but inspiration for the monster came from her life-the atmospheric European settings she visited, the dramas swirling around her, and the stimulating philosophical discussions with the greatest minds of the period, like her close friend, Lord Byron.

I really wanted to like Hideous Love more than I did. I love books in verse and I love books that involve people writing books, so I had fairly high expectations when it came to Hideous Love. That being said, I was pretty disappointed. Stephanie Hemphill thought of an amazing idea. I love the fact that this is about Mary Shelley while she was writing Frankenstein. But to me, the writing just fell flat. I usually find myself flying through verse books, and can usually finish them within a few hours. However, I found myself trying to force myself to get through Hideous Love. The writing isn’t bad per-se, but it was just really slow and at times it felt like Hemphill was holding back.

I enjoyed getting to read about Mary Shelley, and in the beginning her story really interested me. However, as the book progressed I found myself getting tired of her. Yes, Shelley’s is a story wrought with scandal. Though this is interesting and added more depth to the story, the barrier created by the slow-paced prose distracted me from a story that I probably would have otherwise enjoyed.

Though I didn’t enjoy Hideous Love as much as I would have liked, I think fans of historical fiction and those interested in the life of Mary Shelley would really enjoy it. Despite not being able to connect to the writing, I admire Stephanie Hemphill for thinking of writing about Mary Shelley’s life through verse and will be on the lookout for her next book.

FTC- Received from publisher via Edelweiss.

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