Cover image for Through the tempests dark and wild : a story of Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein
Through the tempests dark and wild : a story of Mary Shelley, creator of Frankenstein
Darrow, Sharon.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2003.
Physical Description:
33 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.3 0.5 67104.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR5398 .D37 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
PR5398 .D37 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
PR5398 .D37 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography

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Haunting and deeply moving -- a beautifully illustrated, fictionalized account of a formative time in the life of the teenage girl who wrote our most enduring horror story.

Long before Mary Shelley published her Gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein, in 1818, at the age of nineteen, she shared fireside ghost tales at the home of family friends in Scotland. It was there that the headstrong girl - orphaned by her mother, spurned by her stepmother, and sent away by her father - spent two of her happiest teenage years. The brooding Scottish landscape and warm family atmosphere so influenced the author's life and art that some believe her famous novel took root there. To illuminate this period in Mary Shelley's life, Sharon Darrow skillfully spins fiction from fact. Her words are masterfully matched by Angela Barrett's exquisite, atmospheric, authentically detailed illustrations. The result is a rich tapestry of stories within stories - those told, those written, and more extraordinary, those lived.

Author Notes

Sharon Darrow, when asked why she chose to write about Mary Shelley, explains how much her life and Mary's intersect emotionally. "We share a concern about the effects of new technologies on our hearts, minds, and lives," she explains. "We are both preoccupied by the complexity of parent-child relationships, and we have both made choices that were difficult but personally necessary." THROUGH THE TEMPESTS DARK AND WILD is Sharon Darrow's first book with Candlewick Press. She lives in Chicago with her two cats and teaches in Vermont College's M.F.A. in Writing for Children program.

Angela Barrett is the award-winning illustrator of many books for children, including THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES and ROCKING HORSE LAND AND OTHER CLASSIC TALES OF DOLLS AND TOYS, both retold by Naomi Lewis. Of what drew her to this story, she says, "First, Mary grew to maturity during a time period in which everything - the writers and artists, the social developments, the wars, the houses and fashions and all the trappings - has long interested me. Second, Mary's dark romantic imagination appealed to me. What dreams she must have had!"

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-7. This fictionalized picture-book biography focuses on the stormy adolescence of the nineteenth-century woman who wrote Frankenstein. Spurned by her stepmother, sent away at 14 by her father to live with strangers, the young Mary Wollstonecraft found a warm home for two years with the Baxter family in Scotland, where she shared scary fireside tales of ghosts and outcast wanderers. After she was summoned back to London, she felt like an unwanted guest in her father's house, until she eloped with the poet Shelley. The teenage trauma is dramatic, and Barrett's beautiful watercolors set the archetypal outsider story against wild, dark views of the Scottish landscape. Darrow suggests that those early, crucial years helped shape the Frankenstein story, but many readers will want to know more about the writer's life and her incredible groundbreaking book. Fortunately, a long afterword fills in some of the facts. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2003 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-This fictionalized picture-book biography offers an intriguing and haunting glimpse into the early life of the author. Narrowly focusing on the years she spent with the Baxter family in Scotland, Darrow provides a probable scenario of the troubled, lonely, but creative young woman struggling to find her place in the world. Sent away by her philosopher father when he remarried, Mary found friendship and inspiration to write in Scotland. When she was called home, her sorrow only continued as she coped with an unloving stepmother and a preoccupied father. In a helpful foreword, Darrow notes "some believe that Mary's famous novel took root during those two important years." Stunning watercolor illustrations give impact to this slight book. Often filling three-quarters of a spread, and glowing with soft color and period detail, the pictures draw readers into a melancholy and emotional world. Child appeal will be limited; there is only a brief mention of the famous monster story in the afterword. Older students who may be studying the novel will not find much here for reports, and younger students will struggle with the vocabulary. This beautiful book delivers a smidgen of information, some conjecture, and an emotional peek into the life of a fascinating 19th-century writer.-Beth Tegart, Oneida City Schools, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.