Book review: Love and Fury: A Novel of Mary Wollstonecraft — by Samantha Silva

(Flatiron Books)

This biographical novel is a fictionalized historical account of the birth of Mary Wollstonecraft’s daughter and the days immediately following. Wollstonecraft was courageous, with a sensibility and mind well ahead of her time, and this well-researched and well-written novel reveals her intelligence and essence. A highly-regarded feminist philosopher in the 1700s, she authored the groundbreaking “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” and succeeded in living an independent life, living by the pen, as they say. She believed all women deserved the same education as men. The story, her story, is populated with her friends, illustrator and educator Fanny Blood, educator Jane Arden, her publisher Joseph Johnson, political philosopher, Thomas Paine, her husband, philosopher William Godwin, the painter and writer Henry Fuseli, to name a few, plus, of course, her daughter, Mary Shelley, the acclaimed author of the horror novel, “Frankenstein.” The book is told with two voices: Mary W, addressing her daughter, who she will not live to raise, narrates the story of her life thus far, and Mrs. B, a compassionate midwife who stays fast by Mary’s side, recounting the present circumstances while she cares for Mary. It’s a stirring, revelatory tale of love and life and feminism, rich with revolutionary ideas and actual revolutionaries. 

— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of the Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury.

 

9 books of recommend feminist fiction

The Hare, by Melanie Finn

The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer

The Mercies, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Indelicacy, by Amina Cain

The Power, by Naomi Alderman

When She Woke, by Hillary Jordan

The Women’s Room, by Marilyn French

A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf

Three Rooms, by Jo Hamya 

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Addison County Independent