Strange Star

IMG_20180512_194001.jpgFelix, a free black man who has sailed from America via the French coast city of Calais to England, has found himself employed as a servant working for Lord Byron at the Villa Diodati in Switzerland. Visiting Lord Byron are his friends Percy and Mary Shelley, their friend Claire Clairmont, and a young girl supposedly adopted by the Shelleys to help ease the pain of losing their baby girl.  Felix hopes to impress Lord Byron enough to earn the coveted position of footman when they return to London, and he works hard to execute the instructions he is given.  Felix is fascinated by Byron and the Shelleys and eager to observe and learn from them.   When an evening of telling ghost stories is announced, he manages to position himself in the room so that he may listen in. Strange things happen as the night wears on, not the least of which is the appearance of a young girl, scarred and worn, at the front door of the villa.  The story she tells as she is revived is a retelling of the Frankenstein story that Mary Shelley will later repurpose as a novel, only this story is told with a feminist twist, with Francesca Stein being the woman scientist secretly trying to revive dead animals and using a male frontman to avoid suspicion and detection.

This is a pretty original premise for a YA book that introduces some timely topics: feminism, sexism, racism, rural poverty, child abuse, class distinctions, the power of wealth, and the force of superstition on the human mind.  There is no sex or bad language but there is a degree of violence and gore.

Categories: Books We Recommend, Diversity, Dysfunctional Relationships, Supernatural/Occult, Violence

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