Summary and book reviews of Love and Fury by Samantha Silva

Love and Fury

A Novel of Mary Wollstonecraft

by Samantha Silva

Love and Fury by Samantha Silva X
Love and Fury by Samantha Silva
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    May 2021, 288 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

From the acclaimed author of Mr. Dickens and His Carol, a richly-imagined reckoning with the life of another cherished literary legend: Mary Wollstonecraft – arguably the world's first feminist.

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, Mary 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.

Mrs. B

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 her inside with an easy smile and no apparent terror of the event to come. The home and its mistress, in a muslin gown and indigo shawl, smelled of apple dumplings. Though they hadn't met, the woman took the midwife's hand and led her past half-furnished rooms, introducing them as she went, waving away stacks of books on a Turkish carpet, anticipating shelves, and the occasional wood box and leather trunk, as "the old life still finding its place in the new." Mrs. Blenkinsop had seen far more disarray in her time, and liked the simple touches, cut flowers in every room and a single oval portrait, just a face (that looked very much like the missus herself) gazing out from over a mantel. In the garden out back, which was enjoying its first late-summer bloom, the midwife caught ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. Discuss the novel's title. How do both love and fury shape the lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mrs. Blenkinsop? What do those words mean to you?
  2. Love and Fury alternates between third-person narration from Mrs. Blenkinsop's perspective and first-person narration from Mary's. What is the effect of moving back and forth between these two strands? How do they inform each other?
  3. Mary's chapters are narrated directly to her daughter. As she says: "I will tell you the story to fill you up and bind you to this wondrous vale, if you stay with us, little bird. Please stay. I will tell you the moments that begin and end me—because we are made of them all, strung like pearls in time, searching always for where the new circle begins its turn...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Ms. Magazine
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.

Historical Novel Society
Beautifully human. Even readers typically uninterested in this time period will find themselves sucked into Silva's lyrical prose. Highly recommended.

Kirkus Reviews
[M]oving...Silva's strong visual language enhances an otherwise matter-of-fact retelling of Wollstonecraft's brief, eventful life.

Booklist
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.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[A] gripping, meticulous novel...Silva's heartbreaking but inspiring work captures the despair and joy, convictions and contradictions of an extraordinary woman.

Author Blurb Afia Atakora, author of Conjure Women
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.

Author Blurb Clare Beams, author of The Illness Lesson
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.

Author Blurb TaraShea Nesbit, author of Beheld
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?

Author Blurb Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen Society
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...

Reader Reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Love and Fury, try these:

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes

Books with similar themes


Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Girl in His Shadow
    The Girl in His Shadow
    by Audrey Blake
    The Girl in His Shadow by Audrey Blake is a fast-paced historical novel set in Victorian-era England...
  • Book Jacket: Whereabouts
    Whereabouts
    by Jhumpa Lahiri
    Jhumpa Lahiri's Whereabouts has seen numerous comparisons to Second Place by Rachel Cusk. These two ...
  • Book Jacket: Swimming Back to Trout River
    Swimming Back to Trout River
    by Linda Rui Feng
    Linda Rui Feng's first novel, Swimming Back to Trout River, is a powerful meditation on the ties ...
  • Book Jacket: The Unfit Heiress
    The Unfit Heiress
    by Audrey Farley
    During the American eugenics movement (see Beyond the Book), involuntary sterilization was used to ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Ariadne
by Jennifer Saint
A mesmerizing debut novel about Ariadne, Princess of Crete for fans of Madeline Miller's Circe.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Morningside Heights
    by Joshua Henkin

    A tender and big-hearted novel about love in the face of loss, from the award-winning author of The World Without You.

Who Said...

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

H I T Best P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

 


© BookBrowse LLC 1997-2021. All rights reserved. Information at BookBrowse.com is published with the permission of the copyright holder or their agent.
It is forbidden to copy anything for publication elsewhere without written permission from the copyright holder.