From the back cover: Wives of great men tend to live "lesser lives" in the shadow of their husbands, but Mary Shelley has a strong claim upon our attention beyond being the lover, wife and widow of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Born in 1797, Mary Shelley was the daughter of philosopher William Godwin and the pioneer feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. At sixteen, she met and fell in love with romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and the two eloped to Europe, scandalizing all of London--especially since Shelley was already married. They were traveling throughout Europe with the poet Byron and Mary's half-sister Claire when Byron challenged them all to write a ghost story, and Mary, only twenty years old, contributed Frankenstein, which became a classic. The Shelleys' was a love match with great literary and intellectual stimulation, as their frequent loving letters, used throughout this biography attest. But their was also a relationship fraught with unfaithfulness and tragedy: the death of three children, crushing family suicides and May's own early widowhood. This turbulent life is one of the most fascinating legends of the nineteenth century, and Muriel Spark's eloquent and witty account of it makes for wonderful reading, only for Spark fans, but for feminists, students of literature, and all who love good biography.