Valperga: or the Life and Adventures of Castruccio, Prince of Lucca by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Not reprinted since its first edition, Mary Shelley's second novel is a major discovery of the Mary Shelley bicentenary of 1997. The novel's lack of success as a follow-up to Frankenstein was the result of its subject matter and unconventional approach to the genre of historical fiction, attributes that can only delight the twentieth-century reader. Shelley's mastery of the intricate details of thirteenth-century Tuscan politics is unique among women of her time, and her resolute filtering of the bloody heroics of the age through the sensibilities of two women who are destroyed by them reveals the feminist perspective missing so conspicuously from her first novel. The lastest addition to the acclaimed Women Writers in English series, this glittering novel from Romanticism's premier woman storyteller belongs on the shelves of all serious readers of English fiction.