August, 1797. Midwife Parthenia Blenkinsop has delivered countless babies, but nothing prepares her for the experience that unfolds when she arrives at Mary Wollstonecraft’s door. Over the eleven harrowing days that follow, as Mrs. Blenkinsop fights for the survival of both mother and newborn, Wollstonecraft recounts the life she dared to live amidst the impossible constraints and prejudices of the late 18th century, rejecting the tyranny of men and marriage, risking everything to demand equality for herself and all women. She weaves her riveting tale to give her fragile daughter a reason to live, even as her own strength wanes. Wollstonecraft’s urgent story of loss and triumph forms the heartbreakingly brief intersection between the lives of a mother and daughter who will change the arc of history and thought.
In radiant prose, Samantha Silva delivers an ode to the dazzling life of Mary Wollstonecraft, one of the world's most influential thinkers and mother of the famous novelist Mary Shelley. But at its heart, Love and Fury is a story about the power of a woman reclaiming her own narrative to pass on to her daughter, and all daughters, for generations to come.
“Magical . . . A love letter to life itself. Love and Fury is a beautifully written call to all of us to fill our own brief time with as much love, wisdom, suffering and, most important, beauty as possible.”—Ms. Magazine
“Beautifully human. Even readers typically uninterested in this time period will find themselves sucked into Silva’s lyrical prose. Highly recommended.”—Historical Novel Society
“Love and Fury sparks with a thrilling jolt of electricity, reanimating the epic legacy of Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, and a valiant feminist icon in her own right. Samantha Silva’s sensory prose is smartly crafted in a dual storyline delivered both as a daring midwife’s moving account of loss, and as a dying mother’s appeal to her newborn daughter to live. Together, the two weave a spun-gold tale both sweeping and intimate. Through this prism of history, Love and Fury shines with essential truths about love, womanhood, and the timeless struggle to define one’s self.”—Afia Atakora, author of Conjure Women
“Astonishing and groundbreaking. Silva’s Wollstonecraft is one of the most complex, kind and endearing characters in recent historical fiction, simultaneously strong and heartbreakingly vulnerable. A provocative, inspiring and timely novel, Love and Fury chronicles not only a great historical figure but, just as movingly, a woman, wife and mother who learns to find love and home within herself.”—Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen Society
“Intensely moving. Wollstonecraft's intellectual achievements are colossal in their own right, but for me they cannot be unstitched from the extraordinary and transgressive experiments of her life. These experiments are the stuff of Silva's book, and her writing is as fearless as its subject. Love and Fury is like watching newly-colorized archive film burst into life—I knew the story, but I never knew the story like this.”—Bee Rowlatt, author of In Search of Mary
“Here is a novel set on the border between living and dying, with a heroine so powerful she conquers all territories, including this one—and she conquered me, too. Love and Fury thrums with beauty, pain, sorrow, wonder, tragedy, triumph, and life. What an extraordinary and transformative book this is.”—Clare Beams, author of The Illness Lesson
"A gorgeous novel. Silva has given homage and light to Mary Wollstonecraft, feminist icon and mother of Mary Shelley, but so much more, creating a complex and loving novel all her own. This illuminating story harnesses the power women have—even in the midst of loss—to change the world, one woman's story at a time. An urgent masterpiece. Or should I say, Mistress-piece?"—TaraShea Nesbit, author of Beheld
“Wide-ranging, deep . . . Passionate . . . Related with superb detail . . . Silva's portrait of the revolutionary Wollstonecraft generates an absorbing tale of courage, sorrow, and the dance between independence and intimacy that delivers a sense of triumphant catharsis.”—Booklist
“Gripping . . . Silva’s heartbreaking but inspiring work captures the despair and joy, convictions and contradictions of an extraordinary woman.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Reviews from Goodreads
August 30, 1797
Mrs. Blenkinsop arrived at a neat circle of three-story houses at the edge of North London, surprised to find her charge at the open door, holding her ripe belly with both hands and ushering...