This information surprised me, it is something I was unaware of, despite studying Percy’s and Mary’s life and drawing out many inspirations from their experiences for my Wickedly Romantic Poets novels. So I thought I would share it with you in case you are surprised and interested too.
Mary and the poet percy Bysshe Shelley, who she married in 1816 after a long affair, lived in Bath between 1816 and 1817 (I do know this was because Percy was hiding from people he owed debts to in London, and Mary’s family had disowned her prior to thier marriage so her father and step-mother would not offer her protection). The information below, that is on display in The Pump Room in the City of Bath, explains how scientific lectures that she attended in Bath influenced the novel that she completed during the time she lived in the city. It was quite a strange time for the couple, because Percy’s wife was found drowned in the river Thames, pregnant by another man. It appeared to be suicide. It left him fighting a legal battle to be able to see his children too, which is potentially one of the reasons he hastily married Mary. He was not a monogomous man in any context, and was potentially having an affair at the time, but living in sin was turning the odds against him and making the chances of him winning the custody of his children unlikely.
The initial inspirations for the creation of Mary’s monster are known to be linked to her father’s creation of a sinful woman, through his strong political views about the rights of women, who he then disowned. Although she was welcomed back like the prodigal son after she married Shelley (I wonder which of my books that might connect inspirations too, can you spot a similarity in the Lure of a Poet perhaps … 😉 only my poet is definitely nicer).
It does make you wonder about all these influences in Mary’s life, though, and imagine how they played out in what is a very dark story.