A Strange Beginning (The Lord Byron Series Book 1), Gretta Curran Brown
By Natasja Hellenthal
Beginning when he is a boy of ten years old, we join George Gordon when he is living a miserable life with his manic Scottish mother in a few rented rooms above a shop in Aberdeen; unaware that his true surname is not Gordon, and that his true heritage is with the English aristocracy – who soon come to claim him.
A life of wealth and privilege is then bestowed upon him, which eventually sets the stage for him to prove his own individual worth, in his own way, and in his own time.
Meticulously researched, and adapted into novel form, ‘A Strange Beginning’ is the first of a series of books about the most iconic young man of his time, whose fame still lives on today.
This book is a biographical, historical novel and covers Lord Byron’s life from the age of 10 to his early 20s. If you love series such as Poldark and Downtown Abbey this book is perfect for you!
“My name alone shall be my epitaph.” — BYRON
The author has done substantial research on Byron’s life so that makes it all the more worthwhile.
The story starts with 10-year-old George Gordon (Byron) living in Aberdeen, Scotland with his unstable Scottish mother and her servant. He uses his mother’s surname, Gordon, since his father, Lord Byron, had lost all his money and left when he was little, promised to return, but died with debts, leaving his wife and son without much means of support. George doesn’t know about his true English aristocracy yet until later.
His mother was abusive physically and emotionally manipulative and his servant sexually abused him. To add to his troubles, Byron was born with one deformed foot for which he gets bullied by other children.
Life was miserable for him until the 5th Baron Byron of Rochdale, England, declared him his heir. The requirement was that the boy took the surname Byron in order to obtain his inheritance. When he dies, young George traveled to England as the rightful heir and lord. George from then on lived with his mother and servants at Newstead Abbey, an estate in Nottinghamshire that was the Byron ancestral home.
He was sent to the best schools, Harrow and Cambridge, and adjusted to a life of leisure for the first time. From then on he finds himself friends and when he comes back home he falls in love with the girl next door, Mary, though they can never marry as she is promised to another man of wealth and status, yet it is his love for her that fuels all his romantic poetry for the rest of his life.
It is a well-written, fascinating and enjoyable read and I found myself wanting to know more and warmed up to George who is intelligent, steadfast, likable, kind, and humble. I loved learning about his early life and his love for animals and nature and his warm, poetic heart, and to read some of his inspirations for his poetry, as well as his travels abroad to countries such as Portugal, Albania, Turkey, and Greece.
I would recommend this book for fans of period dramas, biographies, and fans of Lord Byron’s poetry or poets in general in the late 18th century.
Or maybe you’ve already read this book? What did you think?
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