Passion: A Novel

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Theirs was a world of obsession, genius, and above all…

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 them—intensely, scandalously.

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Theirs was a world of obsession, genius, and above all…

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 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"A wonderful book--rich, authentic, beautifully written and, yes, passionate."—Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with a Pearl Earring

“This is a remarkable book. As the title suggests, it’s about love and lust, but Passion concerns itself in almost greater measure with those romantic yearnings by which men and women live and for which they are willing to die.” ---The Washington Post Book World (One of the best books of 2005)

“Deeply imagined and gorgeously written.” ---Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“With empathy and formidable imagination, Morgan brings these iconic females---and the Romantic era---to full, resplendent life.” ---Entertainment Weekly (editor’s choice, grade A)

"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... Compellingly written, and stylish with it." ---Joanna Trollope, author of Brother and Sister

"I can't remember when I last read a book that was so elegantly and stylishly written and yet at the same time so absolutely engrossing and compelling." ---Diane Pearson, author of The Summer of the Barshinskeys

Library Journal
Watching Bright Star just makes you want to have more of the romance between Keats and Brawne, and Morgan's novel delivers in lovely, lush prose. This is the story of the many doomed loves of the Romantic poets, including Mary and Percy Shelley, Lady Caroline Lamb and Bryon, Augusta Leigh and Bryon, and Brawne and Keats. Each woman gets her turn as the focal point; all are portrayed as smart, strong women capable of matching the larger-than-life figures of their chosen loves. Morgan does an amazing job imagining the biographies and interconnected relations of the poets and the women who loved them, giving full voice to the women, creating scenes that are memorable, and offering readers another path into the tragic and fascinating lives of this most notable of poetic generations. Fans of Bright Star will be thrilled to have another place to immerse themselves in the Romantic aesthetic.—Neal Wyatt, "RA Crossroads," BookSmack! 8/5/10
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312343699
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/5/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 1,423,651
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

JUDE MORGAN, who lives in England, studied creative writing with Malcolm Bradbury and Angela Carter.

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Reading Group Guide

Romantic poets Byron, Shelley, and Keats were infamous for their vivid personalities and tragic lives. In this spellbinding novel, we see those lives through the women who loved them--intensely and scandalously. There's Mary Shelley, whose genius rivaled that of her poet-husband; Lady Caroline Lamb, who learned all too intimately that Byron was "mad, bad, and dangerous to know"; quiet Fanny Brawne; and Augusta Leigh, who would flout the greatest taboo. Brilliantly written and imagined, Passion takes us inside all the glory, tragedy, and longing of the Romantic generation.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book about the Romantic poets and the women in their lives

    This book fulfills a much-needed gap in historical fiction, and I hope to inspire more people to read it. I love and admire Jane Austen as much as anyone, but hey, Regency England did not begin and end with Jane Austen! Byron, Shelley, and Keats were three of the greatest poets in the language, and also had fascinating, exciting, and ultimately tragic, lives. Jude Morgan illuminates these men and their world by telling the stories of the women closest to them: Byron's most notorious lover, Lady Caroline Lamb; his half-sister (and also lover!) Augusta Leigh; Percy Shelley's wife (and author of Frankenstein), Mary Shelley; and Keats' fiance, Fanny Brawne. Readers should not be put off by the poorly-chosen title or the stereotypically romance-novelish cover. Jude Morgan knows her stuff. She knows not only the literature--clearly she's read her Romantic poets inside and out--but is very knowledgeable about the historical and philosophical background in the period as well. That being said, this book is NEVER BORING, and I think it would be accessible to people who aren't familiar with the poets and their work. I love the way the book opens with the attempted suicide of Mary Wollstonecraft, author of the feminist manifesto, Vindication of the Rights of Woman and the mother of Mary Shelley. This intro really set the scene about the issues that women (especially intelligent, ambitious, gifted women) faced at the time when women's roles were so limited. I found myself sympathetic to all the women in the novel. And of the poets, this novel made me love Keats even more, not just as a poet but as a person; and it helped me to understand Byron better. Morgan's novel has inspired me to read more of his letters and I finally understand now why so many people around him loved and admired him.

    Passion is deeply affecting and a powerful and moving read. It channels the spirit of the times, radiating with a true and compassionate understanding of the people whose stories it tells. I've chosen it for my book club, and even though our meeting isn't until next week, I've already gotten favorable phone calls from my book club friends, even those who don't know much about British literature and/or even dislike historical fiction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2008

    The most amazing book i have ever read!

    the headline speaks for itself. it is PASSIONATE! 4 women...3 men... some of the relations include family blood... if thats not intriguing, i don't know what is! i really really recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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