The very night before [Shelley left] London for the continent, a married lady of fashion, young, handsome, rich and nobly connected, called upon him, and avowed that [he] was her ideal of everything exalted in man, and that she had come to be the partner of his life… The sequel of this story belongs to a later date.
A Memoir of Shelley (1886), by William Michael Rossetti.
Shelley and the Unknown Lady
A novella revised and excerpted from
A Different Kind of Woman
Percy Bysshe Shelley’s brief and turbulent life was as passionate as his poetry. Romantic, idealistic and impulsive, Shelley had several intense love affairs. When Shelley drowned at sea, he took his secrets with him. Did a beautiful, lovelorn lady really follow him throughout Europe, as he claimed? Did Mary Shelley ever learn about this rival for her affections?
Shelley and the Unknown Lady is a carefully researched imagining of the true-life tragedy behind the mystery.
Ebook comes with an extensive appendix of historical notes and an excerpt from my award-winning debut novel, A Contrary Wind
Early praise for Shelley and the Unknown Lady
"Taking this historical figure and weaving his life through her novel and the possibility of a woman following him through Europe, for this is what he had claimed, was completely fascinating. Making Mary Crawford that woman was absolutely brilliant!" Goodreads review
"I loved how the author included passages from Shelley's poems, and there is a treasure trove of information on Shelley at the end of the book, including a preview of Manning's novel, A Contrary Wind." -- Passages to the Past book blog
"First of all I have to say that the author clearly knows Shelley’s life and world inside out. I approached this with some trepidation as a huge Shelley fan but was pleasantly surprised. The novel is inspired by Shelley’s claim that a unknown woman was stalking him throughout Europe, it was a mystery never solved though he mentioned it to several people.
Here the author takes the character of Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park and weaves her into the role. Mary and Percy meet, and begin a passionate affair. They have a lot in common and their discussions for me were the best part of the novella. I also loved the way in which the author uses snippets of Shelley’s own poetry in the text..." -- Amazon UK review
"The story immediately beguiles the reader, transporting you to another time and place, and it's such a fascinating story, that you won't want to stop reading once you start.
The author certainly knows the story of Shelley incredibly well, and it's a joy to read the notes added by the author which piece together the historical mystery of the unknown lady." -- Goodreads Review
"Manning successfully creates a world where “Mansfield Park”’s anti-heroine Mary Crawford is the mysterious woman who loved and followed Shelley through Italy. I read this novella in almost one sitting, connecting the dots between the fictionalization romance and documented truth. "...but for my part, if a book is well written, I always find it too short."(Jane Austen) I can only echo that “Shelley and the Unknown Lady” is indeed entirely too short!" - Christina Angel Boyd, Quill Ink Publications
"This story is unlike any other I've ever read. It's not formulaic in the least which I found very refreshing. The author must do impeccable research because the Italian setting comes across so convincingly and robustly. The main characters, Mary and Mr. Shelley were interesting and I was continuously compelled to find out what happened next in their unusual affair."