The Determined Heart by Antoinette May
This is the story of Mary Shelley, who we know best as the author of Frankenstein, and the wife of the poet Percy Bysshe ( sounds like “dish” ) Shelley. Mary is the daughter of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft and was raised in an atmosphere of free, and for that time, radical thinking.
Mary is just a child when she first meets Bysshe and not much older, just in their middle teen years, when they fall in love and take their life together into their own hands. But Bysshe is already married and a father and not surprisingly this complicates their affair. The two run away, the story says they eloped, but there was no marriage for many years. In that time the two are beset with bankruptcy as a reaction of society and Bysshe’s family to the abandonment of his wife and child. The couple are wanderers looking for acceptance and a place to call home, all the while with Mary’s step-sister in tow. And Mary must stand back and watch as Bysshe has an affair with her stepsister even as she captivates all who meet her.
The story of Frankenstein is the result of a group of bored poets and writers looking for some excitement in telling scary stories. Mary’s story finds a basis in her free thinking upbringing, her conversations with scientists, old folktales and her imagination. It brings her recognition as an author in her own right but the price she pays for her recognition and independence is high indeed.