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

Out of the Shadows

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  58 ratings  ·  14 reviews
A woman's unexpected connection to a nineteenth-century writer changes her life in the new novel from the author of Crossing Washington Square

Clara Fitzgerald's recent losses have set her adrift, personally and professionally. Remembering the stories her mother used to tell her, Clara decides to research her ancestry-only to uncover an extraordinary link to Frankenstein a
Paperback, 314 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Berkley Books (first published July 29th 2010)
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 Out of the Shadows, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Out of the Shadows

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  58 ratings  ·  14 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Aug 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Out of the Shadows by Joanne Rendell
Paranormal Romance- Sept 7, 2010
4 stars

Clara Fitzgerald life has plateaued out. Having to deal with an increasingly busy fiancé, her mother’s recent death, and her childish flighty sister, Clara is lost in life. When she discovers that she is distantly related to Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, Clara becomes obsessed with uncovering as much as she can about Mary Shelley. With the help of Kay, a retired Shelley scholar and her difficult sister Maxie,
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Mostly this book made me want to reread Possession by A.S. Byatt, which is a much better literary historical fiction book that jumps between contemporary and historical periods. This one had science aspects that were really poorly executed, and for such a slim novel, the pacing was not great and the language was not economical. I really really wanted to like it because of how much I like Mary Shelley, but no dice.
Martin Rose
Apr 05, 2011 rated it liked it
A well written exploration of a woman's relationship to Mary Shelley and how it changes her life and the lives of others. In the literary fiction vein, the novel flashes back and forth between the past and the present, drawing parallels between Clara Fitzgerald's life and Mary Shelley's. This was good if you like literary fiction geared for women.
Kelly McMichael
May 24, 2011 rated it liked it
some interesting parts, enough to keep me going with it. I suppose because the main character was compelling. Hated the ending, though--not the postscript but the way the husband element ended. SO UNREALISTIC. Will say no more or risk spoiling it.
Feb 28, 2014 rated it liked it
This was boring. Clara thinks she may be related to the author Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein. Cool, right? NOT. She spends the entire book just thinking about it. Bleh.
Unfortunately, this book is a disappointment. Fascinating concept but not very well written and reads more like amateur fanfiction. That’s not even a knock on fanfiction because I’ve read incredible, beautifully written fic, but this book doesn’t fit. None of the characters feels like an actual person but rather someone else’s idea of what a person should act and feel. None of the characters interested me, and the blast to the past bits didn’t seem to fit. Also, the ending wrapped everything up ...more
Jane Stewart
I liked her other books, not this one. I didn’t feel anything (other than relief to be done).

Two stories are told at the same time, interspersed throughout the book – several pages about Mary Shelley, and then one or more chapters about Clare.

In 1803 Mary Godwin was 5 years old. Her father had a bookstore. Later the poet Percy Shelley helped Mary’s father financially. Percy was married to Harriet but love was not there. Percy and Mary fell in love and she ran off to live with him in
Sep 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Liked it, but now that I'm several weeks past the read, I've forgotten details. Guess that means it's fairly light fare.

Heroine Clara is a science historian who's subjugating her own career to the career of her high-power DNA scientist fiance, without even realizing she's doing so.

She comes into contact w. an elderly, sickly female scholar who specialized in Mary Shelley -- the Frankenstein author, who it turns out is an ancestor of Clara's.

She undergoes DNA testing to confi
CoffeeTimeRomance andMore
Apr 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
In the quiet, well-mannered world of the academic professor, Clara keeps the company of books and hides from reality, even when the monster may be the one she keeps closest to her. The characters were well developed and the setting clear, but the story was slow to move to any action, the hook unclear until nearly a quarter of the way through the story. Told in velvety tones that will wrap the reader in the beauty of the written word, perhaps other readers will not be thrown off by the lack of pl ...more
Jennifer Bagazin
Jul 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: done
It actually has a pretty good plot, with genetics and drugs and cancer and stuff. But what I didn't quite get was Mary Shelley. The author's right, not many people know that a nineteen-year-old woman named Mary Shelley wrote the original Frankenstein, because I certainly didn't know about that information. Anyway, it was the first time I heard her name and it didn't ring a bell. I liked the plot, with Anthony making a new drug that might fight cancer and stop aging - which backfired because of h ...more
Jun 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
I actually ended up really enjoying this book. It is at times somewhat unnecessarily long or descriptive, but in general the character development throughout the novel is quite impressive. I did find myself getting annoyed with the main character, Clara, quite a few times as her relationship with Anthony is quite frustrating - moments where she should have been furious with him were made to look like she was a doormat and in that sense hard to relate to - but that's probably just a personal thin ...more
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it
A decent pleasant read. Well, better than that, textured and that nice conceit of present day characters melding to the past via journals , research, or ancestry. Picked this up at a library booksale- but have since found a lot of essays, new books on Mary Shelley, Frankenstein, Resurrectionists - so I am predicting a pop-culture trend here or literary anniversary about to arrive.
Dec 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
honestly I ended up skimming it.
Penny Gumbel
Oct 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting plot idea; however the ending was predictable. I think it would be fascinating to be related to a famous author.
rated it liked it
Apr 16, 2011
Amy Fleischer
rated it liked it
Aug 03, 2013
rated it it was ok
Jul 22, 2011
Diane S ☔
rated it liked it
Oct 07, 2010
Alyssa Stillwell
rated it really liked it
Sep 23, 2013
rated it liked it
Jul 27, 2017
Meegan Possemato
rated it liked it
Jun 29, 2011
rated it it was ok
Mar 23, 2011
Jackie K
rated it really liked it
May 27, 2011
rated it it was ok
Sep 15, 2010
rated it really liked it
Feb 07, 2011
rated it really liked it
Nov 24, 2012
rated it liked it
Apr 15, 2011
Sarah Boswell
rated it it was amazing
Feb 03, 2012
rated it liked it
Sep 26, 2011
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Joanne Rendell was born and raised in the UK. After completing a PhD in English Literature (at the University of Sheffield), she moved to New York to be with her husband, a professor at NYU. Her debut novel "The Professors' Wives' Club" will be released this September ('08) by New American Library/Penguin. Her second novel comes out in 2009.