In the turbulent years of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, three poets--Byron, Shelley, and Keats--come to prominence, famous and infamous, for their vivid personalities, and their glamorous, shocking, and sometimes tragic lives. In this electrifying novel, those lives are explored through the eyes of the women who knew and loved ...Read MoreIn the turbulent years of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, three poets--Byron, Shelley, and Keats--come to prominence, famous and infamous, for their vivid personalities, and their glamorous, shocking, and sometimes tragic lives. In this electrifying novel, those lives are explored through the eyes of the women who knew and loved them--intensely, scandalously. Four women from widely different backgrounds are linked by a sensational fate. Mary Shelley: the gifted daughter of gifted parents, for whom passion leads to exile, loss, and a unique fame. Lady Caroline Lamb: born to fabulous wealth and aristocratic position, who risks everything for the ultimate love affair. Fanny Brawne: her quiet, middle-class girlhood is transformed--and immortalized--by a disturbing encounter with genius. Augusta Leigh: the unassuming poor relation who finds herself flouting the greatest of all taboos. With the originality, richness, and daring of the poets themselves, "Passion" presents the Romantic generation in a new and unforgettable light.Read Less
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Don't let the Danielle Steele-type title put you off. This is a stunning novel, the kind you won't want to put down. It's more about the women in the lives of the romantic poets rather than the poets themselves. The narrative shifts among Mary Shelley, her stepsister Claire Clairemont (Byron's lover and mother of his daughter, and possibly Percy Shelley's lover as well), Lady Caroline Lamb (Byron's mad lover), Augusta Leigh (Byron's half-sister and lover), and Fanny Brawne (Keats's fiancee). Morgan's intelligent prose brings these women to life; they are given strong voices and personalities and become much more than the poets' objects of desire. Their stories, like the lives of the poets, are intermingled, often crossing paths. I absolutely loved this book and have been recommending it to everyone I know who enjoys sophisticated histroical ficton.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-09-05 The attempted suicide of Mary Wollstonecraft opens this carefully researched, deeply imagined and gorgeously written novel about the Romantic poets, as seen by the women who loved them: Mary Wollstonecraft's daughter, Mary Shelley, who fell scandalously in love with then-married Percy Bysshe Shelley and wrote Frankenstein at age 19; the passionate but untethered Lady Caroline Lamb, who never got over her love for Lord Byron; charming Fanny Brawne, devoted to her consumptive fianc?, Keats; and Augusta Leigh, half-sister to Byron, notorious for her incestuous affair with him. Dense, empathetic, detailed portraits of each woman lift them above their iconography; even Byron, in all his famous charm, is convincingly rendered. The poets, of course, are doomed-Byron, fighting in the Greek war of independence, dies of fever; Shelley perishes in a boating accident; and Keats succumbs to consumption. Morgan concludes with a series of carefully crafted plateaus that evocatively capture the women in varied states of acceptance, ambivalence and longing after their losses. Augusta, whose appealing calm and optimism is all the more paradoxical in light of her taboo-shattering decision to sleep with her half-brother, Byron, makes for a particularly fascinating character study. Mary Shelley, clear-eyed, solemn and terribly intelligent, also emerges as three-dimensional and compelling. Morgan (The King's Touch) brings a fascinating past to brilliant light. (Nov.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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