Jude Morgan's "Passion, a novel of the Romantic poets"

Passion: A Novel of the Romantic Poets - Jude Morgan

Epic. Brilliant fictional recreation of the lives of 3 great Romantic poets - Byron, Shelley, Keats - and the women they were involved with - Byron's lovers Caroline Lamb and Augusta Leigh, Shelley's lover and wife Mary Godwin Shelley, and Keats' fiancee Fanny Brawne. The opening chapters also touch on the difficult life of Mary Shelley's mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, who wrote "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman", a hugely influential book of feminist philosophy. The stories in "Passion" are told from the women's point of view, and in places they are harrowing, but always believable. Morgan must have done a huge amount of research to write this and get all the details and feelings so true. Caroline Lamb comes off very badly in the book, Augusta Leigh (who was Byron's half-sister) not too badly, while Mary Shelley has my complete admiration and sympathy. Lord Byron is portrayed as a fascinating, utterly charming, brilliant monster, while Shelley is something of a monster who fails to see how his ideas and the impulses that come from them finally kill Mary's love for him. The story of John Keats and Fanny Brawne has the smallest part in the book, but was the most emotionally affecting for me. His early death from tuberculosis was such a tragic loss. Note to self - must see the movie "Bright Star".