William Godwin is determined to raise money from young poet and baronet Percy Bysshe Shelley. Already this young man has stories growing around him and his philosophies. When Godwin’s younger daughter. Mary, meets Bysshe, there are fireworks. These erupt into one of the scandals of the Romantic age, when sixteen-year old Mary Godwin runs away with Bysshe, who abandons his wife, pregnant with their second child. Adding heat to the scandal is the presence of Claire Clairmont, Mary’s younger stepsister.

‘Bysshe’ espouses ‘free love’ that people should have the freedom from convention to choose who they love. It is evident that Mary Godwin loves Bysshe, but what of Claire Clairmont? Rumours abound of a daughter with Bysshe…

In 2010, a researcher discovered an unpublished memoir by Claire Clairmont that described Bysshe and Lord Byron, who betrayed her mercilessly, as ‘monsters of lying, meanness, cruelty and treachery.‘ Sharon Dogar recreates the relationship between the three, and thereafter Lord Byron- their passions, beliefs, sorrow, and desires. Chief amongst Mary Godwin’s desires was to write as she felt destined always.

On a stormy night at Lake Geneva, where the three were Lord Byron’s guests, as Claire entreats him to accept she is carrying his child, the notion that becomes ‘Frankenstein, is born in Mary Godwin.

‘Monsters’ is a compelling story. It led me to needing to find out more about each of the three leading characters and to discussions between the Bookwagon team! This is an outstanding book, recommended as being suitable for older readers, only.

Add to Wishlist
Add to Wishlist



The pain and loss that created Frankenstein

Sharon Dogar

(Andersen Press)- hardback

‘Monsters’ are Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. Claire (Jane) Clairmont wrote, ‘Under the influence of the doctrine and belief of free love, I saw the two first poets of England… become monsters.’
Claire was stepsister to Mary Godwin, writer of ‘Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus‘ and daughter of Mary Wollstonecroft . Unlike her older sister, Fanny, Mary demonstrated the wit and determination of their famous mother who died shortly after Mary’s birth. She enraptured ‘Bysshe’ from whom her father, philosopher William Godwin, sought financial support. Their mutual infatuation led to sixteen-year old Mary running away with Bysshe, and the poet leaving his wife, pregnant with their second child. However, there was more, for Mary’s stepsister, Claire, joined them.
What was the relationship? Stories abound that Claire bore Bysshe a child. Certainly the trio moved onto Italy at Byron’s invitation, after Claire had entranced the notorious poet with her ‘dark eyes’. However that relationship turned sour quickly. Furthermore the notion of ‘free love’ espoused by Percy Bysshe Shelley appeared to be understood differently by the poet, Mary Godwin and Claire Clairmont.
The weeks at Lake Geneva with Byron were laden with emotion and possibilities. ‘Monsters’ focuses upon Mary and Claire, victims of the egos and inclinations of two leading poets of the age. Linda Bailey’s Mary and Frankenstein  recreates the emergence of Mary Shelley’s most famous book. However there is another story behind the writer, and her stepsister, told grippingly by Sharon Dogar in ‘Monsters’.

Recommended as suitable for older readers only. 


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Monsters”

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like…