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THE RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK

‘Gobsmacking’ The Times

‘Luscious’ Mail on Sunday

‘Delectable . . . ravishing’ Sunday Times

‘A chocolate box full of delicious gothic delights – jump in’ Lucy Worsley

‘Stranger than fiction, as dark as any gothic drama . . . utterly gripping’ Amanda Foreman

‘Brings to life the colourful characters of the Georgian era’s most notorious families with all the verve and skill of the era’s finest novelists . . . A powdered and pomaded, sordid and silk-swathed adventure’ Hallie Rubenhold



Many know Lord Byron as leading poet of the Romantic movement. But few know the dynasty from which he emerged; infamous for its scandal and impropriety, with tales of elopement, murder, kidnaping, profligacy, doomed romance and adultery. A sumptuous story that begins in rural Nottinghamshire and plays out in the gentleman’s clubs of Georgian London, amid tempests on far-flung seas, and in the glamour of pre-revolutionary France, The Fall of the House of Byron is the acclaimed account of intense family drama over three turbulent generations.

Reviews

In this luscious slice of popular history, Emily Brand knits together all the naughtiest Byrons of the Georgian period into a glittering family tapestry . . . Brand is particularly good at describing the outrageous excess of aristocratic life . . . Brand has done an excellent job of placing the sexploits of the Byron family into the context of a broader social and political history . . . this feels like a fable of our times
Mail on Sunday
Pacey, well observed and written with gusto
Literary Review
Compellingly plotted, and Emily Brand renders a deeply imagined world
Irish Times Review
Brand should be commended for her command of detail and use of often extremely obscure period sources to illuminate both character and setting. This will justly be regarded as the definitive work about the wider Byron family.
The Critic
Brand charts the family fortunes in a book that is both extremely well researched and brilliantly written.
NSW [PRINT] Herald Sun [AUDIENCE: 306,571 ASR: AUD 38,632]
A gloriously indulgent portrait of a flamboyant family of adventurers, artists and scandalous socialites
NATIONAL [PRINT] Australian Women's Weekly [AUDIENCE: 375,036 ASR: AUD 32,720]
A dramatic family saga [that] shows that Lord Byron's ancestors were just as wicked and salacious as he was.
Sunday Times
Gripping ... A tale of murder, seduction, incest, elopement and shipwreck ... Just gorgeous.
BBC History Magazine
Brand has written a delectable biography and, while she never exalts the family, she can't help but be moved by that Byronic lust for life - even when it is thwarted
Sunday Times
A thoroughly researched, juicily readable account of how the poet Byron's ancestors drank and spent their way from being respected courtiers to penurious disgraces
The Telegraph
A story of sex and scandal, but also of the fragility of life, the unyielding passion of the human heart, and the oppressive weight of the past. From the first to the last, the ghosts of the Byrons call out to us through Brand's evocative prose. Magnificent
Rebecca Rideal
Brand, a young historian specialising in eighteenth-century romance, traces the many ways that historical events cut across their lives, complete with observations from family acquaintances Horace Walpole and Samuel Johnson. However, her history is as much caught up with the "fiddle-faddle" of the bon ton, and is all the more enjoyable for it . . . a ravishing family saga'
Sunday Times
[Brand] has combed through [Byron's] forebears' correspondence to show that the blend of traits that we call Byronic - violent temper, rapacious sexuality, hunger for danger, gobsmacking solipsism - was an old vintage . . . scrupulously researched
The Times
The effect of [Brand's] narrative elasticity is to give the book a novelistic depth, which is added to by rich topographical descriptions and a packed historical backdrop. The Byrons, she concludes, were less cursed than the product of an age of upheaval
The Spectator