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A Quiet Adjustment

Benjamin Markovits.
Publisher Norton/BOMC  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 8.5 x 5.75 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780393067002
Pages/Publication Date 341/2008
Daedalus Item Code 01001
This item is not available.
This second novel of Benjamin Markovits's "Byron trilogy" (following Imposture, which viewed the poet's life through the eyes of his physician John Polidori) is the story of the beautiful, intelligent, self-possessed Annabella Milbanke, whose encounter with Lord Byron awakens her every budding appetite—sensual, romantic, worldly. Markovits writes in the style of the 19th-century novel, true to its perfect prose, penetrating insight, and simmering passions. As Lady Byron, Annabella believes she can weather all for love—except, perhaps, her husband's scandalous secret: his incestuous love for his half-sister Augusta Leigh.

"Eloquent.... Annabella stands at the center of the narrative—a beautifully drawn character, portrayed with moral clarity as well as complexity."—NYTBR

"When Lord Byron married Annabella Milbanke in 1815, neither anticipated the epic scandal that would ensue, one that novelist Markovits captures beautifully in this elegant reconstruction, focused entirely on Annabella. Divided into three sections (Courtship, Marriage and Separation) the book opens as 19-year-old Annabella acknowledges her own desire for fame and power, or what her mother, Judy, calls scope. In the marriage section, Annabella's vision of Byron, whom she knew more through his poetry and his two-year epistolary pursuit of her than in person, shatters on living with the real personality—a compound of debts, moodiness and one big guilty secret. Markovits makes her discoveries suspenseful, and the secret's revelation gothic. The wrenching adjustment that follows in the marriage finds Annabella, ever observant, using Byron's secret to craft his ultimate punishment. Markovits's choice of an ornate Jamesian style captures every nuance of Annabella's shift from the victimized wife to the sinister deliberateness of the vengeful ex-spouse. As she remarks at the end about her husband, I feel like I have been reaching towards him all my life, without the warmth of his affection, the cold hand of love. Markovits plumbs the very depths of this passionate chill."—Publishers Weekly

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