Short Story Review: “Mary, Mary” by Kirstyn McDermott

2 of 5 stars.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley brought life to the monster of Frankenstein raising an early alarm on science crossing boundaries that ought not to be crossed. She also carved a new path as a female writer, holding her own in a male-dominated field and on subjects not deemed appropriate for her fair gender.

This fictionalized biographical tale is about the other Mary Wollstonecraft, mother of her more famous namesake. She, too, is a writer, but her relationships have her at a disadvantage. The earlier men in her life don’t stick around, not even when there is a child, Fanny, in the picture. Later, she does marry and have her more famous second daughter, Mary who was but a baby when her mother died.

The life of the elder Mary flashes through scenes remembered on the woman’s deathbed. Her truest companion is a ghost named The Grey Lady that helps her to see the lessons and truths in her vagabond life. This is all meant to be read as spirit and inspiration for the younger Mary who’ll grow without truly knowing her mother–unless there’s a ghost there to fill in the gaps . . .

This tale appears in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2016 edited by Paula Guran, which I received directly from Prime Books.




[Check out my other reviews here.]

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