He was later to become known as "The most beautiful and most famous man in England" — but not yet...
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.
"My name alone shall be my epitaph."
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 7.50 out of 10
In this rich biographical novel, we meet George Gordon first as a boy, crippled and lambasted by his mother, and follow his development as Lord Byron through her death. Browne’s narrative voice easily welds wry objective observations with character voice, often to humorous effect. The book doesn’t always work—frequent italicization distracts, descriptions taking on the lofty can be too generic or cloying, and too often sections packed with satisfying detail finish with lines summarizing or interpreting the material—but overall, Browne has created a fascinated portrait of an enduring legend.
Date Submitted: June 06, 2016