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
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'
[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 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
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
Pacey, well observed and written with gusto
Compellingly plotted, and Emily Brand renders a deeply imagined world
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.
Brand charts the family fortunes in a book that is both extremely well researched and brilliantly written.
A gloriously indulgent portrait of a flamboyant family of adventurers, artists and scandalous socialites
A dramatic family saga [that] shows that Lord Byron's ancestors were just as wicked and salacious as he was.
Gripping ... A tale of murder, seduction, incest, elopement and shipwreck ... Just gorgeous.
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
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