Review: Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

outlawsTitle: Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and her Daughter Mary Shelley

Author: Charlotte Gordon

Published: April 28, 2015

Publisher: Random House

Pages: 599

Source: eARC through Netgalley

Rating: 5/5

This groundbreaking dual biography brings to life a pioneering English feminist and the daughter she never knew. Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley have each been the subject of numerous biographies. Yet no one has ever examined their lives in one book—until now. In Romantic Outlaws, Charlotte Gordon reunites the trailblazing author who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and the Romantic visionary who gave the world Frankenstein—two courageous women who should have shared their lives, but instead shared a powerful literary and feminist legacy.

In 1797, less than two weeks after giving birth to her second daughter, Mary Wollstonecraft died, and a remarkable life spent pushing against the boundaries of society’s expectations for women came to an end. But another was just beginning. Wollstonecraft’s daughter Mary was to follow a similarly audacious path. Both women had passionate relationships with several men, bore children out of wedlock, and chose to live in exile outside their native country. Each in her own time fought against the injustices women faced and wrote books that changed literary history.

The private lives of both Marys were nothing less than the stuff of great Romantic drama, providing fabulous material for Charlotte Gordon, an accomplished historian and a gifted storyteller. Taking readers on a vivid journey across revolutionary France and Victorian England, she seamlessly interweaves the lives of her two protagonists in alternating chapters, creating a book that reads like a richly textured historical novel. Gordon also paints unforgettable portraits of the men in their lives, including the mercurial genius Percy Shelley, the unbridled libertine Lord Byron, and the brilliant radical William Godwin.

What an amazing find on Netgalley as well as an awe-inspiring read. Charlotte Gordon has given voice to these amazing women who were ahead of their time. I didn’t know much about these women to begin with besides that Wollstonecraft was a feminist and we learned a little bit about her in school. Then Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein which I haven’t had the chance to read yet but I want too. So delving into this whole tome of a book was daunting for me to begin with but Gordon sweeps you away and I finished it all in one very long day.

Gordon starts off with an introduction into how the book is broken up. Instead of focusing on each woman in each chapter she has spaced it out that each woman has their own chapter and they overlay with one another in the sense that what is happening to Wollstonecraft influenced her daughter, Shelley. Gordon has stated that not many biographers of each women have looked at the impact of Wollstonecraft on her daughter, Shelley and that a lot of what Wollstonecraft wrote influenced her in life. Sadly, Wollstonecraft died of childbed fever 10 days after Shelley was born and so all Shelley had were her mother’s books and her cold and somewhat hypocritical father. This is a very intense look at both of their lives and how being a woman in the 1700 and 1800s was harsh and what they did to change it.

Gordon takes you chapter by chapter into their lives and its amazing what these women did. They hated the restrictions put on women during the Victorian era and the French Revolution and so they fought to change them by writing. They each wrote with a passion and were intellectual thinkers. I think if I had to travel back in time and got the chance to talk to them they would be beyond my understanding. Though Gordon  makes it really easy to follow and to understand both of these women and their books. There was heartbreak, loss, prejudiced, harassment, social outcast, exiled, sexual encounters, depression and suicide that affected both of these women and Gordon doesn’t shy away from any of it. It was sometimes hard to read because as a woman we have triumphed and overcame so much since then. We are still some ways away to being regarded as equal to man in some aspects but what both Mary’s went through to just achieve a little recognition was heartbreaking. It made me want to go back in time and tell both of them that they started something wonderful and that women have finally gained some freedoms that they were writing about.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading about two amazing women who were way ahead of their time and who fought for women’s rights before anyone else. It’s a little long (at around 600 pages) but I couldn’t put it down. I needed to know what happened next and how the Mary’s preserve through harsh criticism and what being a woman was all about.



Review: The Waterborn by Greg Keyes

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.Cover will take you to Goodreads.

waterbornTitle: The Waterborn

Author: Greg Keyes

Series: Children of the Changeling #1

Publisher: Open Roads Media

Published: Original in 1996, republished April 28, 2015

Pages: 436

Source: eARC through Netgalley

The River flowed through all the land, deep and unstoppable, a god in his own right. His head was in the mountains; his arms embraced the outlands; his body lay at the core of all the civilized realms; and his legs stretched on to the distant sea. Dark and sluggish, he rolled unchallenged, dreaming his own invincible might and glory into stark reality.

Everywhere he touched, the River God held dominion. And in Nhol, the fabled city at the heart of the world, an emperor ruled as the living aspect of the god, presiding over the splendors and intrigues of a prosperous land and a glittering court.

Hezhi was an imperial princess; her blood carried the seeds of the River’s power. When her favorite cousin disappeared, Hezhi searched throughout the sumptuous palace with its ghosts and priests, giants and courtiers, and frightening creatures of wizardry. And the magic within her began to grow; soon it must attract dangerous attention. Hezhi’s anxious quest ripened into a desperate fight for her own life–a battle she could not hope to win alone.

Small wonder that the princess wished for a hero.

And far away, a hero’s journey began…

Not sure what I expected from this fantasy book but it wasn’t a high fantasy story that is filled with Gods and Goddesses and a whole bunch of world building. Keyes is an amazing storywriter. I was blown away by the descriptions and the emotions throughout this book.

The story bounces back and forth between Hezhi a 12 year old princess living in isolation in a castle and a 17 year old barbarian named Perkar who fell in love with a stream Goddess. There are some other POVs between the chapters but they are short and adds to the story because it leaves you in suspense. Writing this review is sorta hard just because there is so much going on and I would HATE to give it all away but I will try. :/

Hezhi is a VERY young princess when her favorite cousin is taken away never to be seen again. This starts her obsession with finding out what happened to him. She knows it has to do with her Royal Blood but she is not sure what. Her bloodline can be traced back to the River himself who is a God but a slumbering one. She starts working in the library to find out more but when summoned to court she is required to drink from the River and there she wishes for a hero to save her.

That is where Perkar comes in. Perkar is a barbarian from far away who lives by codes and honor. He honors all the Gods around him and falls in love with the stream Goddess near his family home. He promises her that he will free her from the River. His quest starts out as a journey to the Forest Lord to ask for more land for his people but then turns deadly. His bad decisions changes the course of everything and he is pushed toward Hezhi’s wish of a hero to come save her.

I was surprised at how young Hezhi was being portrayed but she acted more like a teenager than a young girl but things happened to make her grow up faster. She is strong-willed and will do whatever it takes to learn more and to escape her fate. I really liked and connected with her even though she was so young while Perkar I just wanted to bash his head into a rock. He was being stupid and proud and not thinking straight. He made such bad decisions but again I guess without making those bad decisions he wouldn’t have gotten to where he needs to go. It was frustrating at times.

The world building was awesome and the history of the Gods and Goddesses were just enthralling. Everything was very descriptive although it does take a while for the story to really start it was a good story. I couldn’t put it down.


Top Ten Tuesday (13)

top ten tuesday

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish where we list our top ten whatever for this week’s topic. This one was fun and interesting. I hope you enjoy it! These are in no particular order! Covers lead to Goodreads.

Top Ten Books Which Feature Girls Who Have Magic/Powers

(And kick ass)

  1. Katsa from Graceling by Kristen Cashore. Katsa was born with two different colored eyes which marked her with a Grace. Her Grace was killing and she was very good about it but then she met Po and her world was turned upside down.graceling
  2. Yelena from Poison Study by Maria V. Synder. Yelena lived in a world without magic and if someone possessed it they would be killed. Sadly, she was already on the chopping block but not for her hidden magic powers but for killing her benefactors noble son. poison
  3. Adenine from Concealed Power by K.J. Colt. Adenine was told that she carried the Black Plague and so was hidden away from people. She had an accident and they had to sew her eyes shut. Years later, her mother got really sick and so she had to come out of hiding to find help and her journey begins.concealed power
  4. Elena from The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey. Elena was suppose to be her kingdom’s Cinderella but alas the prince was only a young boy, instead she started training to become a Fairy Godmother. But breaking with “The Tradition” is harder than it sounds.fairygodmother
  5. Adelina from The Young Elites by Marie Lu. Adelina is a survivor of a fever that killed many people and left many people with strange powers. Adelina has white hair and a scar over her left eye and a power she doesn’t understand. Only after meeting The Dagger Society does she understand but is conflicted. youngelites
  6. Vin from Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. Raised by her older brother who teaches her not to trust anyone, Vin is a lucky charm to the thief lords though not until she meets does she understand that she is a Mistborn. A person will skills that could change the world.mistborn
  7. Hermoine from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. A wizard with a wand! Nothing else needs to be said. Harry potter covers
  8. Harry from The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley. Harry is a noble orphan living in a faraway town where she meets Corlath and learns more about her past. She is gifted with kelar which grows as she learns more about sword
  9. Risika from In the Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. A vampire who is best friends with a tiger. This was one of my favorite books in middle school.forestofthenight
  10. Diane from Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce. Diane has a magical touch when it comes to animals but she hides it as best as she can because she was always shunned for it. But now living and working in Tortall it’s hard to hide such a power and so she has to start trusting the friends around her to fully understand her powers. MY ALL TIME FAVORITE SERIES!wildmagic

I hope you enjoyed my top ten favorite girls who have magic/powers. I grew up reading most of these books and some are fairly new. I look forward to everyone’s TTT this week! It should be a fun one.