Clara Fitzgerald grew up hearing her mother tell of the family relationship to the famous Mary Shelley, author of "Frankenstein," but it wasn't until after her mother's death that Clara truly began to further research the connection. But would the results of her search lead Clara to questions other aspects of her life as well?
In her new book, “Out Of The Shadows,” author Joanne Rendell explores the past and the present as she interweaves the story of a young Mary Shelley with her present-day kin Clara Fitzgerald. As the two women struggle with their unhappy lives it is fascinating to see the parallels as they seek answers to their quest for love, contentment and understanding.
A science history professor, Clara has laid aside her Darwin research to pursue her link to Mary Shelley as both a tribute to her mother and to satisfy her own curiosity. A breakthrough comes when her genetics-scientist boyfriend Anthony suggests that a DNA test be run on a centuries-old strand of Mary Shelley’s hair along with a strand of Clara’s hair. A positive result confirms the relationship.
Encouraged by the news, Clara becomes determined to continue her search for the illusive early journals and letters of her ancestor. By chance Clara is introduced to Kay, a retired professor who was also fascinated by the story of Mary Shelley and who knows of a rumored set of Shelley memorabilia. As an excited Clara and Kay dig into boxes and boxes of material and reveal in their shared love of the nineteenth century author, Clara’s relationship with Anthony is becoming more and more distant. His research and development of a potential preventative to cancer has the added bonus of possibly slowing down the aging process in humans, but his questionable testing procedures begin to show an obsessive trait in Anthony that could almost be called Frankenstein-ish in nature.
Joanne Rendell has written a captivating novel that features relationships, ancestery, academia and scientific research, romance, a healthy dose of literary history and a spine-tingling mystery all rolled into a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats as they follow Clara’s journey to self-discovery. That is an impressive achievement! Her transition from past to present was flawless as she tied the stories of Clara and Mary Shelley together.
I highly recommend “Out of the Shadows” to any one who enjoys intelligent, creative literary fiction.
About The Author:
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