Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Vindication: A Novel” as Want to Read:
Vindication: A Novel
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Vindication: A Novel

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  181 ratings  ·  24 reviews
In this electrifying novel, Frances Sherwood re-creates the life and times of Mary Wollstonecraft, the trailblazing English feminist. Abetted by an unruly intelligence and an unquenchable romanticism, Sherwood's Mary survives a brutal childhood to carve a courageous but always uncertain path for herself in a world of men. Rich historical settings from the chaos of Revoluti ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published January 17th 2004 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1993)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Vindication, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Vindication

Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy ChevalierThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryI, Claudius by Robert GravesInnocent Traitor by Alison WeirThe Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
Biographical Fiction
190th out of 420 books — 201 voters
Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeePride and Prejudice by Jane AustenMatilda by Roald DahlAnne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Best Female Character
459th out of 662 books — 447 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 385)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Frances Brody
It's eighteen years since I read this book, and I dreamed of it last night! In this anxiety dream, I was at an Oxford college, only to listen to other people, and was asked to step in at short notice and give a lecture on Mary Wollstonecraft, author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and, as the cover blurb of Frances Sherwood's novel has it, 'the mother of the future Mary Shelley.'

In my dream, I could either search out the college manager, Titan Zoldi, who would point me in the right direc
...more
Elizabeth Moeller
I wonder if it is a peculiarly American trait to want our heroes to be perfect? We have no state religion and so we have taken as our gods those men and women who stand for the virtues we admire and forget about the less heroic parts of their characters.
As someone who has an interest in feminism and women's history, I was vaguely aware that Mary Wollstonecraft, in the late 1700s, wrote one of the first treaties about the rights of women, but I didn't have any real idea of her life beyond that.
...more
Jessica
so... we'll assume that you've read Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonescraft... because if we didn't... we'd have to slap you upside the head... which would probably hurt... a lot... because i wear some heavy rings. and after we assume that you've read Vindication of the Rights of Women, we'll assume that you're an intelligent, and open minded individual, who is well read, and knows a little something-something about literature, history, feminism, and love. so assuming these th ...more
Nezka
This book is absolute drek, from beginning to end. It was forced on me by a former college friend, who'd studied English, and I politely read it and returned it to her without telling her how absolutely vile it was. I still need to read a proper biography of Mary Wollstonecraft to (hopefully) purge the gross image I had of her after reading this, but I think I am half afraid that her real life could actually have been as bad as it was portrayed in this fictionalized biography.
R.J.
Close competition with In the Fall for my most favorite fiction book. Early feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, the mother of Frankenstein author Mary Shelly, had an adventurous and atypical life for an 18th century woman reporting on the French revolution, being imprisoned because she demanded equal treatment under the law and bearing a child out of wedlock. Wollstonecraft finally settled down and had her 2nd child, Mrs. Shelly, and yet~~~
Heather
Every paragraph of this novel was sodden with detail....John Irving wrote in A Prayer for Owen Meany that great writing zooms in and out, focusing on detail as well as the big picture and Frances Sherwood has created a vibrant account of all the details that create the larger picture. Vindication has awoken in me a desire to read biographies of all kinds beginning with Mary Wollstonecraft.
Lisa
Loved this story. Based on the life of Mary Wollenstonecraft. She was a maverick and unconventional in her tome. I Love her spirit and strength of vision. Her adventures and struggles were totally unforeseen. But she is brave and a survivor and remains true to herself and beliefs as she meets up with other intellects and characters and is challenged again and again.
Katie
A fictionalized biography of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley's Mom. I didn't connect with Mary, just couldn't get emotionally engaged. However, I remember that the depiction of the foul smelling and unhygenic nature of life in 18th century England ... and one haunting, never to be forgotten instance of foul smelling and unhygenic sexual abuse. Yuck.
Ruth Marner
This is one of the best books I've ever read. I think that you'll enjoy it if you like historical fiction. I mean, I don't want to vouch for the validity or the accuracy of her potrayals. However, I found this plot and the characters very enjoyable. Sorry to be vague. I haven't read it for more than ten years and I need to reread it soon.
Janellyn51
I loved this book. As a historical fiction it was really well written. It prompted me to read a biography of Mary Wollstoncraft...She truly was a pioneer for womens rights...but of course it got her in all manner of trouble. Best known for her treatise Vindication of the Rights of Women...she's also Mary Shelly's mother.
Catherine Handren
This was really fun. Sometimes historical fiction works. It does here. Mary Wollstonecraft brought to life. Vindication of the Rights of Women was a much better read after I read this. If academia could do a better job of setting the stage for great literature more people would appreciate it!
Sara
Aug 21, 2007 Sara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: trashy feminists
this novel introduced me to the guilty pleasure genre of "historical fiction." it's a romp through mary wollstonecraft's life-and boy oh boy did it make rebellion feminist style look tasty. even imprisonment and mysoginist lovers sounded strangely sexy.
Terry Perrel
An historical novel that is so alive you feel as though you've a seat at the dining room table where both eating and urinating are going on at the same time. If you love literature, you'll enjoy the long deceased writers who appear.
Christina
I had to force myself to finish this book, and skimmed the last fourth of it. Mary Wollstonecraft, at least in this author's version, is one of the most obnoxious heroines I have ever had the displeasure of coming across.
hagar
One of my favorite books--beautifully drawn historical fiction about the life of Mary Wollstonecraft, early feminist and mother of Mary Shelley, she of Frankenstein fame. You will not believe the life this woman led!
Graceann
Dec 02, 2007 Graceann rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
A fanciful novel based on the life of Mary Wollstonecraft - full of sex and preachy interludes on the subject of feminism. At first it was very interesting, but then the theme became tiresome.
Nayeli
Such an interesting life and what a pioneer! This book made me want to know more about Mary Wollstonecraft--and find out how much of this story was true.
Sheila
I really enjoyed this fictionaled novel based on the life of Mary Wollstonecraft, whose writings were important to my own development as a feminist.
Wolf Moon
Jul 19, 2008 Wolf Moon added it
Recommends it for: Anyone
It's been quite some years since I have read this book, but I was really pleased with it. It's about Mary Shelley's (who wrote Frankenstein) mother.
Wendi
A beautifully written historical novel about Mary Wollstonecraft's turbulent life as a woman, feminist, and radical writer.
Nicole Ambarchian
Could not finish it- made my stomach turn. Was not connecting to the protagonist. Sorry
Lora
Favorite books of 1994...
Mariya
Sep 29, 2010 Mariya marked it as to-read
NO
Jodi
Jodi marked it as to-read
Jul 29, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Men & A Vindication of the Rights of Woman & An Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution (3 in 1)
  • William Wilberforce The Life of the Great Anti-Slave Trade Campaigner
  • The Terror: The Merciless War for Freedom in Revolutionary France
  • Liberty: The Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France
  • Prince of Pleasure: George IV and the Making of the Regency
  • My Lady Scandalous: The Amazing Life and Outrageous Times of Grace Dalrymple Elliott, Royal Courtesan
  • The Gods Are Thirsty: A Novel of the French Revolution
  • George III: A Personal History
  • Vindication: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Union Dues
  • City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-Century London
  • The Anchor Atlas of World History, Vol 1: From the Stone Age to the Eve of the French Revolution
  • The Anarchist
  • Call the Darkness Light
  • Whoredom In Kimmage: The Private Lives of Irish Women
  • Will
  • Georgian London: Into the Streets
  • Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States, Enlarged Edition
The Book of Splendor Night of Sorrows Green Everything You've Heard Is True: Short Stories by Frances Sherwood A Changing America: Seen Through One Sherwood Family Line 1634-2006

Share This Book