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Article

Death and the Maidens

Posted on

Death and the Maidens

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Janet Todd
publisher:
Counterpoint
genre:
Biography, Nonfiction

We gave it an A-

You don’t need to know the Romantic poets to appreciate the juicy portrait of Percy Shelley and the women who loved him in Death and the Maidens. The poet was already married when he eloped with 16-year-old Mary Godwin, future author of Frankenstein. Her foxy stepsister Claire tagged along, and she too possibly bedded Shelley — before moving on to Lord Byron. Left behind with the dismayed Godwin parents: older sister Fanny, who, Janet Todd believes, also had a crush on Shelley. With insight and wit, Todd reconstructs the events leading to Fanny’s suicide in 1816. Nothing you read in PEOPLE can compare to this long-ago melodrama. A-