A retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic work ‘Frankenstein’. Only this time told from the perspective of Elizabeth Lavenza, the young orphan girl who was taken in by the Frankenstein family as a companion for their son, Victor. From the moment we are introduced to Victor, we know there is something not quite right with him. The coldness in his eyes, the darkness around him keeps people at a distance. However, even as a young girl, Elizabeth is aware that without the Frankenstein family she has no hopes for a future. This is the 18th century; a time when women were considered property and without family or money, her survival is at stake. So, Elizabeth sets out to be the Elizabeth Victor wants her to be. He is her ticket to a better life. But when the monsters in Victors mind are brought to life and the only people she has ever loved are snatched away from her, Elizabeth finally reaches her breaking point.
It’s always interesting to see a fresh take on a beloved classic by a modern day author. Kiersten White rose to the challenge and how! I The author manages to put a unique spin on this classic horror story with many nods to the original. She takes a popular misconception about the classic and makes in true in this version. The highlight is of course having Elizabeth as our main character and seeing the events unfold from her perspective. A morally gray female protagonist in a Victorian horror novel, you say? Take my money right now. The writing is evocative and gives you all the hair raising creepy feels you expect from such a book. The dialogues feel authentic to the time period. The author brilliantly puts the spotlight on Elizabeth’s near constant frustration at being a woman with no agency and having to depend upon others for safety. Even though she is calculating, cold and cunning, Elizabeth manages to invoke our sympathy at times. She has a huge blind spot when it comes to Victor and there is a lesson here about how emotional abuse and gas lighting can cloud your judgement of someone. Both Victor and Elizabeth are depraved in their own way and their love story is one for the horror books.