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Passion
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Gorgeous new package for this reissue of Jude Morgan's acclaimed novel

About the Author

Jude Morgan was born and brought up in Peterborough on the edge of the Fens and was a student on the University of East Anglia MA Course in Creative Writing under Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter.

Reviews

Adult/High School-This fictionalized biography begins with the suicide attempt of Mary Wollstonecraft, early feminist and mother of the famed author of Frankenstein. The other women who are the center of the work include Mary Shelley nee Godwin (Percy Shelley's lover, then wife), Lady Caroline Lamb (Lord Byron's lover), Fanny Brawne (John Keats's lover), Claire Clairemont (Mary Shelley's half-sister and Byron's lover), and Augusta Leigh (Byron's half-sister and lover). The poets are accompanied by many assorted celebrities and famous hangers-on. The interactions include incest, infidelity, children born out of wedlock, and any and all kinds of tragedy and scandal. This may sound like a rather high-toned soap opera, but the language and the situations that Morgan imagines transform and transcend the characters' actions. The portrayals are vivid, fascinating, and utterly realistic. Events move seamlessly by way of tightly packed prose and insightful detail about these interwoven lives. Teens will be intrigued by what intelligent and strong women were doing in the early 19th century-in fact, Passion may inspire a quest to learn more about the Romantic poets and the short but uniquely creative span of English literature in which they lived.-Jane Halsall, McHenry Public Library District, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

I loved Jude Morgan's Passion, which seems to me to achieve exactly what historical fiction is for, namely, to illuminate the past to the present...it's compellingly well-written, and stylish with it * Joanna Trollope, Observer *

On a rainy October evening in 1795, a desperate young woman hurls herself off London's Putney Bridge only to be pulled from the cold, dark Thames by two passing boatmen. Little do they know they have just saved Mary Wollstonecraft, authoress, educator, and future wife of the celebrated radical thinker William Godwin. Thus begins this tale of impossibly tangled lives, disastrous intrigues, and tragic ends of the great Romantic poets-Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and John Keats-as told by the women in their lives. Mary Shelley, Caroline Lamb, Augusta Leigh, and Fanny Brawne, in spite of their vast differences in station and temperament, recount similar tales of all-consuming involvement with men who lived as passionately and vividly as the poetry they wrote. Morgan's (The King's Touch) deft characterizations of these women and their relationships is a tour de force, though the dialog and detail that render it so vivid slow the pacing and may diminish the force of the narrative for readers not enamored with the people and period. Recommended for larger fiction collections.-Cynthia Johnson, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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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