A compelling addition to the hugely popular subject of Lord Byron A new young historical writer to set alongside Amanda Foreman and Bella Bathurst The extravagant and improbable life of Lord Byron - "mad, bad and dangerous to know" - has always found a large market in biography and literary history. Now, Ashley Hay, a young and superbly talented writer, has written a compellingly readable account of one of the strangest and most mysterious episodes in his life. In January 1815, Lord Byron married Annabella Milbanke. He was London's most famous poet and its most desirably notorious lover, and everyone wanted to be his wife. She was a young lady with handsome prospects and good connections, but painfully shy and retiring. They had met only a couple of times before she had turned down his first proposal: after the unlikely correspondence that then ensued between them she accepted his second, but they saw each other only once more before their wedding day. After only a year of marriage, and just a month after the birth of their first child. Annabella left Byron and went home to her parents, never to see him again. The misdemeanours in her husband's conduct she subsequently hinted at scandalised London - and the lurid speculation as to the sensational secret she never quite revealed has continued ever since. Painstakingly pieced together from their diaries and letters. The Secret is a sensitive and poignant portrait of the celebrity couple of their day, whose strange marriage became a cause celebre of Regency England, and its account of a vulnerable, wronged woman abandoned to her horrifying secret has the compulsiveness of the best fiction. The length of a compact novel, it will appeal to everyone who has enjoyed a recent bestseller like Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.
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Ashley Hay is a freelance journalist who lives in Sydney, Australia. The Secret is her first book.
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