Mundie Moms

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hideous Love by Stephanie Hemphill, Book Review

By: Stephanie Hemphill
Published by: Harper Teen
To Be Released on: October 1st, 2013
Source: arc from publisher to review
3 Stars: It Was a Good Read
Pre-Order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Add it to Goodreads

From award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill comes the fascinating story of Mary Shelley, a brilliant teenager who wrote one of the greatest literary masterpieces of all time: Frankenstein.

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.

This luminous verse novel from award-winning author Stephanie Hemphill reveals how Mary Shelley became one of the most celebrated authors in history

This is a book that surprised me due to the fact that I sat and read it in one sitting. For starters I'm not a huge fan of verse, which this book is written in. The fact that it was done in verse, in my opinion, worked well for the story over all. I felt as though I was getting a glimpse into Mary's life, and reading snippet from her journal entries. Though I get she may have written some entries a bit more elegantly, I felt over all this style of writing made this book an interesting one to read. Second, I liked that this book was written differently than many YA books I've read. It's tone and wordage is one that makes it feel classic, and stayed, to what I felt, was true to that era. I loved the history that this story has in it, which also added to the book's classic feel.

I was fascinated by Mary Shelley's life and story. I LOVED and admired that she thought for herself, something that was not common during this time period. Much of that credit goes to her mother, Mary Wollstonercraft. Mary's mother was one of the first feminist writers, and her ideals shown through with Mary. Mary herself was very opinionated and unlike many of the women of her time, wasn't afraid to do things on her own and seriously think for herself (huge kudos to that). I greatly admired the fact that she was someone who didn't allow society to tell her what to do, though there were many times she was forced to make do with society's way. That didn't mean Mary didn't voice an opinion. Mary came across to me as someone who was very independent, strong willed, and at times stubborn. For her, these were traits that worked well in her favor and got her through some very difficult and dark times in her life.

I was shocked to find the many tragedies and heartbreak that marred Mary's life. That's not to say that Mary didn't have an exciting life, because at times she did. She had many travels around Europe. She also had her fair share of tragedy, heartbreak and was shunned from her own family. To me, Mary seemed like an incredibly strong person to endure and deal with all that she does. First there was the scandalous courtship/relationship and then marriage she and Percy Shelley had, then the death of some of her children, the depression, and all that she endures with Percy's, um, wondering eye.  For being such an opinionated women, I couldn't help but wonder many times while reading this book what in the heck Mary saw in Percy. There were times while reading Mary's story that my heart literally broke for her, and then there were times my mama heart was so happy for the small moments of happiness she had. Of course there were the times I wanted to tell her to wake up and move on with the people who did nothing but bring her down.

Very rarely do characters make me mad, but Mary's husband Percy, and sister Claire do just that, as do her father and step mother. I rarely despise characters, but I despised Claire and Percy in a huge way. I won't even list all the things that drove me insane about these two, because my review would be nothing but a gripe against them. However, I will say after learning more about Mary, I am shocked she put up with these two. I get Percy was her husband, and during this period of time it may not have proper in a respectful way tell her husband to man up or hit the road. Given his affairs and lies to Mary I was shocked she didn't really stand up to him, but instead accepted it even though it caused her so much pain. I understand one, that was acceptable during this era, and two, he needed to be around much more for her to do just that. Oh and then Claire. How did Mary put up with her and not give her the boot. Seriously, these two were horrid people to Mary.

The thing that made me the maddest in this story had nothing to do with the writing style of this book, but with the way society treated Mary. I'm so peeved over the fact that such an amazing and gifted writer got little credit for a classic that fans even today love. Not only was she not allowed to put her real name on the book, society for the most part turned their backs on her for the life Percy lived. Mary Shelley was truly a visionary women, whom allowed little to stand in her way, and in the end was virtually ruined. This part of her life was so hard to read about. I literally felt heartbroken and mad on her behalf. OKay I was also extremely peeved she received the brunt of the crap her husband did.... but that's another story.

 Over all this was a good read. I was truly fascinated with Mary's story, and loved the history in this book. For all the things I listed that I liked about the book, the verse being one of them, I also felt like that is one of the things that also hurt the book. With all the rich history that makes up Mary's story, I felt that the verse hurt the author's ability to really go into detail with it, that  have worked perfectly in some of the scenes in the book. Now on the same note, obviously I was hooked with the details I did get, because I read the entire book, I just wish I could have gotten more in some of the scenes that felt incomplete to me. Over all I got enough of Mary's story to understand her motives, her thoughts, and her decisions, and what inspired her to write Frankenstein.

If you're looking for something that's a bit different from your average YA read, has a strong, independent female lead, plenty of history, is rich in scandal, and gives you an inside look into the what inspired Frankenstein, than I'd recommend picking up HIDEOUS LOVE, and get to know Mary Shelley a bit better.


  1. I just wrote a review and featured this on my blog today too! Great minds think alike! I really liked this one and I loved that it was in verse!

    Great review Katie!

    See ya around! :D

    Tt@Never Ending Stories

    1. No way! That is so cool we both posted reviews on the same day. I"m glad you liked this one too! Thank you for your comment :)