Unnatural Creatures

A Novel of the Frankenstein Women

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Pub Date 04 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 30 Nov 2022

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Available in trade softcover, library hardcover, e-book, and audiobook formats. 

Some tales aren't what you think. For the first time, the untold story of the three women closest to Victor Frankenstein is revealed in a dark and sweeping reimagining of Frankenstein by the author of The Lost History of Dreams and Doomed Queens.

THE MOTHER. Caroline Frankenstein will do anything to protect her family against the nightmarish revolutions engulfing 18th-century Europe. In doing so, she creates her own monster in the form of her scientist son, Victor. 

THE BRIDE. Rescued by Caroline as a four-year-old beggar, Elizabeth Lavenza knows the only way she can repay the Frankensteins is by accepting Victor's hand in marriage. But when Elizabeth's heart yearns for someone else, the lives of those she most loves collide with the unnatural creature born of Victor's profane experiments. 

THE SERVANT. After an abusive childhood, Justine Moreau is taken in by Caroline to serve the Frankensteins. Justine's devotion to Caroline and Elizabeth knows no bounds . . . until a tragedy changes her irrevocably. Her fate sets her against Victor's monster, who is desperate to wreak revenge against the Frankensteins.

Stunningly written and exquisitely atmospheric, Unnatural Creatures shocks new life into Mary Shelley's beloved gothic classic by revealing the feminine side of the tale. You'll never view Victor Frankenstein and his monster the same way again.

Available in trade softcover, library hardcover, e-book, and audiobook formats. 

Some tales aren't what you think. For the first time, the untold story of the three women closest to Victor...

Advance Praise

"Lushly atmospheric and rich with historical authenticity, Unnatural Creatures is a riveting Gothic tale that I devoured in one sitting . . . An inspired reimagining that was impossible to put down." —Mimi Matthews, USA Today bestselling author of The Siren of Sussex

"Eerie, romantic, and exquisitely written, Unnatural Creatures is a brilliant and feminist companion to a classic. Kris Waldherr's electrifying novel brings the women in Victor Frankenstein's life to the foreground, reminding us that the most interesting stories are often the ones that go untold."—Megan Collins, author of The Family Plot

"Kris Waldherr deftly uses the political climate of late 18th-century Geneva to add depth and nuance to one of literature's best-known stories of one man's folly . . . With settings so lush you can practically see, smell, and touch them, Unnatural Creatures, like the novel that inspired it, is a richly atmospheric work of Gothic wonder."—Molly Greeley, author of The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bough and The Clergyman's Wife

"A masterful Gothic rendering . . . Mary Shelley herself would be deeply moved by this dark tale of revenge and redemption." —Stephanie Marie Thornton, USA Today bestselling author of And They Called It Camelot

"This is the feminist reimagining of Frankenstein you didn't know you needed. Waldherr reanimates the story from the perspective of its three central female characters—Caroline Frankenstein, Elizabeth Lavenza, and Justine Moritz—creating a tribute to the strength and resilience of women that would make Mary Shelley proud."—Clarissa Harwood, author of The Curse of Morton Abbey and Impossible Saints 

"A fitting tribute to Mary Shelley's masterpiece, written by a true artist who understands that enlightenment can come from darkness. . . . A rich feast for fans of the gothic novel."—Libbie Grant, author of The Prophet's Wife

"A sensuous and empathetic look at the three women who knew Victor Frankenstein best . . . A veritable tour de force!" —Paulette Kennedy, author of Parting the Veil

"Waldherr transforms the women of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein from victims into protagonists . . . She sheds new light on one of literature's most famous stories in an atmospheric novel, which contrasts the unnatural act of Frankenstein's monster's animation with the maternal act of creation." —Finola Austin, author of Bronte's Mistress

"This is a book that will seep into your bones and chill your heart in the best possible way; Mary Shelley would be proud." —Hester Fox, author of A Lullaby for Witches

"Lushly atmospheric and rich with historical authenticity, Unnatural Creatures is a riveting Gothic tale that I devoured in one sitting . . . An inspired reimagining that was impossible to put down." ...

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ISBN 9798985351200
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Featured Reviews

Yessss! This book is everything you want for the spooky season! As you read, you can practically hear the low rumbling of thunder in the distance and feel the uneasy chill up your spine. It’s always a joy to read historical fiction when an author takes care in the details of their time and region. Waldherr has absolutely researched the events surrounding the original Mary Shelley book and has done an incredible job at not only adding to the same original writing flow yet distinguishing it as her own. This story is elegant, macabre, unsettling and delightful.

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I started reading this book half an hour before I had to leave to do an errand and was pulled in immediately--and was late to my meeting! The writing is excellent and the story is wonderfully evocative and creepy. I love novels where I feel utterly immersed in the time and place, and this is one of those gems. It carries you away and before you know it, you're in an entirely different world. There are unexpected twists that keep you guessing as to what's really going on, and characters that surprise you. A+!

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Incredible novel, easily one of the best I've read in years. Atmospheric, tense, with characters that jump off the page. By turns unnverving and wild, heartbreaking and flinty. I loved it.

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445 pages

5 stars

This book is the perfect companion piece to Mary Shelley’s great opus. It fills in the (fictional) background and history of the Frankenstein family and many of their servants.

Essentially this is the story not only of Victor, but of three remarkable women who supported and shaped him to some degree. I was absolutely fascinated by their stories. It takes place (mostly) during the 1790s. The revolution was going on in France and effectively intruded on life in quiet little Geneva in the process. When it finally reached Geneva, terrible things happened.

Caroline, Victor’s mother, was a somewhat nervous woman who would do anything to protect her little family. She was married to Alphonse, who was a syndic (a government official).They were quite well off and Alphonse’s position provided them with many benefits.

Elizabeth was taken in by the Frankenstein's as a very young child. She was of similar age as Victor and Caroline dreamed of them marrying when they grew up. Elizabeth was beautiful and accomplished. She and Victor loved one another.

Justine was found in the garden on Frankenstein property. She has scoliosis and was painfully shy. After they met the obviously abusive mother, Caroline took her in. Justine was forever grateful to the family and became very attached to them all.

The undercurrent in the story is Victor’s decline into madness and his scientific experiments. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if they were “successful.”.

This book is much more than a horror tale. It is brilliantly written and plotted. My hat is off to Ms. Waldherr. I keep thinking about the story. That is the highest compliment to any author. I immediately went to amazon to look at her other books. My hope is that she does a companion piece for other great stories.

I want to thank NetGalley and Muse Publications LLC for forwarding to me a copy of this remarkable book for me to read, enjoy and review. The opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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Oh, how I adored the lush, transportive, and terribly heartbreaking beauty of this Frankenstein revisiting and reimagining, lensed through the perspectives of three women, all incredible in their own right. Caroline--Victor Frankenstein's exquisitely gentle, selfless mother; Elizabeth, the beautiful and accomplished cousin betrothed to Victor, with secret torments and a mysterious past of her own; and poor, broken, and orphaned Justine, devoted to the family--but just how far will she go to prove it? I loved how richly imagined and fully realized these three characters were, and in my rapt, convulsive reading of this tale it dawned on me how desperately it needed to be told.

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