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Claire's Last Secret

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A tragic death leads Claire Clairmont to be haunted by her past and the 'summer of 1816' she shared with Byron and Shelley in this first in an intriguing new historical trilogy. 1873, Florence. Claire Clairmont, the last survivor of the 'haunted summer of 1816' Byron/Shelley circle, is living out her final years in genteel poverty, but the appearance of British tourist A tragic death leads Claire Clairmont to be haunted by her past and the 'summer of 1816' she shared with Byron and Shelley in this first in an intriguing new historical trilogy. 1873, Florence. Claire Clairmont, the last survivor of the 'haunted summer of 1816' Byron/Shelley circle, is living out her final years in genteel poverty, but the appearance of British tourist, William Michael Rossetti, brings hope that she may be able to sell some of her memorabilia to earn enough cash to support her and her niece/companion, Paula. But Rossetti's presence in Florence heralds a cycle of events that links the summer of 1816 - when Claire conceived an ill-fated child with George Gordon, Lord Byron, when Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, and when four tempestuous lives came together - to a tragic death. As Claire begins to unravel the truth, she must go back to that summer of passion to discover the identity of her old enemy.


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A tragic death leads Claire Clairmont to be haunted by her past and the 'summer of 1816' she shared with Byron and Shelley in this first in an intriguing new historical trilogy. 1873, Florence. Claire Clairmont, the last survivor of the 'haunted summer of 1816' Byron/Shelley circle, is living out her final years in genteel poverty, but the appearance of British tourist A tragic death leads Claire Clairmont to be haunted by her past and the 'summer of 1816' she shared with Byron and Shelley in this first in an intriguing new historical trilogy. 1873, Florence. Claire Clairmont, the last survivor of the 'haunted summer of 1816' Byron/Shelley circle, is living out her final years in genteel poverty, but the appearance of British tourist, William Michael Rossetti, brings hope that she may be able to sell some of her memorabilia to earn enough cash to support her and her niece/companion, Paula. But Rossetti's presence in Florence heralds a cycle of events that links the summer of 1816 - when Claire conceived an ill-fated child with George Gordon, Lord Byron, when Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein, and when four tempestuous lives came together - to a tragic death. As Claire begins to unravel the truth, she must go back to that summer of passion to discover the identity of her old enemy.

30 review for Claire's Last Secret

  1. 5 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    It took me a little while to get into this novel, the time shifts I think. Once there I really enjoyed the look at the circle of people around Byron, Shelley and Mary and Shelly's half sister Claire Claremont. Claire has been Byron's lover and carries his child. The central part of the story is set around the weekend that Mary wrote Frankenstein. We seesaw between the then and now. In the now Claire is entertains selling letters to an interested party. Her attention is grabbed when a note is left It took me a little while to get into this novel, the time shifts I think. Once there I really enjoyed the look at the circle of people around Byron, Shelley and Mary and Shelly's half sister Claire Claremont. Claire has been Byron's lover and carries his child. The central part of the story is set around the weekend that Mary wrote Frankenstein. We seesaw between the then and now. In the now Claire is entertains selling letters to an interested party. Her attention is grabbed when a note is left telling her that Allegra her daughter lived. As far as Claire had known, Allegra had died in a convent as a young child from typhus. So the mystery begins.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty ❤️

    I do like historical novels when they're based on real life people and as I only know bits about Byron and Shelley and nothing of Claire Claremont this one really appealed to me.  It's definitely a richly detailed book and you can tell a lot of research went into it. I found myself really enjoying the characters and I liked the way the book moved from 1873 to 1817 throughout.  Other reviews have said there will be a second book and if so I can't wait to read it I do like historical novels when they're based on real life people and as I only know bits about Byron and Shelley and nothing of Claire Claremont this one really appealed to me.  It's definitely a richly detailed book and you can tell a lot of research went into it. I found myself really enjoying the characters and I liked the way the book moved from 1873 to 1817 throughout.  Other reviews have said there will be a second book and if so I can't wait to read it

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shomeret

    When publicist Mary Glenn McCombs asked me if I wanted to read Marty Ambrose's first historical mystery, Claire's Last Secret, for review I jumped at the chance because I hadn't read a novel from the perspective of Claire Claremont. I was generously supplied with free review copies in both digital and print formats via Mary Glenn McCombs. Claire's Last Secret is a dual period novel that contains sections taking place during Claire's youth in 1816 and Claire's old age in 1873. There are mysterious When publicist Mary Glenn McCombs asked me if I wanted to read Marty Ambrose's first historical mystery, Claire's Last Secret, for review I jumped at the chance because I hadn't read a novel from the perspective of Claire Claremont. I was generously supplied with free review copies in both digital and print formats via Mary Glenn McCombs. Claire's Last Secret is a dual period novel that contains sections taking place during Claire's youth in 1816 and Claire's old age in 1873. There are mysterious events in both these periods, but only the 1873 murder appeared to be fully resolved. I saw a review here on Goodreads that said that this novel ended with a cliffhanger. In my view, the protagonist needs to be in actual jeopardy in order to describe the ending as a cliffhanger. There are some dangling plot strands, but I didn't believe that Claire was in any danger when I finished reading the final scene in this book. So I would definitely disagree with that criticism. This book's greatest strength was Marty Ambrose's solid research which made her characters so convincing. I would definitely read another historical mystery by this author. For my complete review see http://shomeretmasked.blogspot.com/20...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pratibha Malav

    Book - Claire's Last Secret: A Historical Mystery: A Lord Byron Mystery Book-1) Author - Marty Ambrose Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 "Claire's Last Secret" by Marty Ambrose is the first installment in "A Lord Bryon Mystery" series. The book is basically a historical mystery fiction which takes readers back in time when Claire Clairmont- the female protagonist of the story, used to be a totally different person than she is now. ◀️ "Claire's Last Secret" is a heart touching story which is set up in Florence. The story Book - Claire's Last Secret: A Historical Mystery: A Lord Byron Mystery Book-1) Author - Marty Ambrose Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 "Claire's Last Secret" by Marty Ambrose is the first installment in "A Lord Bryon Mystery" series. The book is basically a historical mystery fiction which takes readers back in time when Claire Clairmont- the female protagonist of the story, used to be a totally different person than she is now. ◀️ "Claire's Last Secret" is a heart touching story which is set up in Florence. The story begins with the appearance of William Michael Rossetti- a British tourist, who asks Claire to narrate 'the summer of 1816' incident in exchange for some money. It has been 53 years and that horrific event still haunts Claire, who has been living in poverty with her only companion- Paula. ◀️ As requested by William Michael Rossetti, Claire goes down to the memory lane- a beautiful time of 1816. Claire, George, Byron and Shelley- all were living different lives and when destiny brought them together, it did not end well for three of them. And Claire was the only survival of the tragedy. . What must have happened in summer of 1816? How Claire survived? What was the cause of that horrific incident? Will Claire discover the true enemy by telling the story to Rossetti? ◀️ "Claire's Last Secret" is an excellent historical fiction. Both old and young Claire have been portrayed nicely. Claire's child with George, Byron's travel plans, Shelley's interest... the characterization, event-planning... it's all perfect. . Suspense remains till the end and it left me craving for more. So now I would jump to the next part of the series. #martyambrose #readingisgood #amazon #instagram #goodreads #kindle #facebook #review #readnovels #ebook #paperback #pratibhamalav #misswriter #author #reviewer #influencer #writersofinstagram #reviewersofinstagram #indianreviewer

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Maxwell

    Although this is a historical mystery, it also reads like historical fiction as it traces the relationship of Lord Byron and one of his mistresses, Claire Clairmont, stepsister to Mary Shelley. We experience the relationship with Bryon through Claire's eyes, as well as her relationship with her sister and brother-in-law, Percy Bysshe Shelley. The story is beautifully told against the backdrop of Lake Geneva, and although these relationships are often frustrating, they realistically depict the at Although this is a historical mystery, it also reads like historical fiction as it traces the relationship of Lord Byron and one of his mistresses, Claire Clairmont, stepsister to Mary Shelley. We experience the relationship with Bryon through Claire's eyes, as well as her relationship with her sister and brother-in-law, Percy Bysshe Shelley. The story is beautifully told against the backdrop of Lake Geneva, and although these relationships are often frustrating, they realistically depict the attitudes and the fate of women of the times. Very thought-provoking, with wonderful imagery.

  6. 4 out of 5

    ☺Trish

    Enjoyed this historical mystery for the most part. It was obviously well-researched and well-written but the unsatisfying ending was not appreciated by this reader. Not a cliffhanger in the traditional sense and yet the biggest mystery of the story left unresolved.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Linda Frances

    I enjoy historical fiction, especially when it seems to be well researched, as this seemed to be. It was a short and easy read, but it would have made a better short story. There was too much padding, a lot of it in the form of angst. The ship captain's log had very little to do with the rest of the story. I probably would have given it 3, or possibly even 4 stars, except for all the loose ends, and extremely unsatisfying ending. Note: POSSIBLE SPOILER FOLLOWS!!!! As Elmore Leonard said, endings a I enjoy historical fiction, especially when it seems to be well researched, as this seemed to be. It was a short and easy read, but it would have made a better short story. There was too much padding, a lot of it in the form of angst. The ship captain's log had very little to do with the rest of the story. I probably would have given it 3, or possibly even 4 stars, except for all the loose ends, and extremely unsatisfying ending. Note: POSSIBLE SPOILER FOLLOWS!!!! As Elmore Leonard said, endings are hard. Sometimes they're too contrived, or otherwise flawed, but the book still deserves a good rating. However, I will never give a good rating to a stay tuned ending. I realize that authors and their publishers want you to buy their next book. The way to ensure that is to write a good, standalone book. That's what brings readers back. One reviewer said this was the beginning of a trilogy. Nothing in the book or jacket that I have indicates that it is part of a trilogy. Even if it is, good writers come through with a plausible conclusion for each book. Don't make it a soap opera in print.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Based upon the true story of the conception and infamous writing weekend of Mary Shelly’s famous Gothic ghost story, Frankenstein, this historical mystery intertwines delicious bits of true history with a tantalizing tale of lost love and murder. Set in 1873, the stepsister of Mary Shelley, Claire Cairmont is the only survivor of that fateful summer in 1816. Now Claire is forced to remember those days – as if she could ever forget. As a young woman, in love with a married man and expecting his chi Based upon the true story of the conception and infamous writing weekend of Mary Shelly’s famous Gothic ghost story, Frankenstein, this historical mystery intertwines delicious bits of true history with a tantalizing tale of lost love and murder. Set in 1873, the stepsister of Mary Shelley, Claire Cairmont is the only survivor of that fateful summer in 1816. Now Claire is forced to remember those days – as if she could ever forget. As a young woman, in love with a married man and expecting his child, her future was uncertain. Claire was and is a free spirit, living life as she chose, not as was expected of her. She was on holiday with Mary, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (Mary’s husband) and Lord Byron. It was during this holiday that Frankenstein was born and Claire’s life changed forever. Claire now lives with her beloved niece and grandniece, but they are hardly living in luxury. Their basic needs are barely met, but it is doubtful they will be able to make it much longer without some income. Surprisingly, a man contacts them requesting an audience with Claire. He wants to purchase personal letters and memorabilia from the time spent in 1816 with Byron and Shelley. By selling them, she and her niece would be able to live comfortably, but does this benefactor bring salvation or death to her door? The tangled relationships of 1816 have come back to haunt Claire as she is in the twilight of her life. Must she live through the agony of losing Lord Byron and the fateful events surrounding the best and worst time of her life. Ambrose’s work of literary historical fiction is interesting and intriguing. She alternates the story between 1816 and 1873, filling in interesting background and events that led up to the mystery man and his reason for entering her life. Claire’s Secret is the first book of a planned trilogy. Ms. Ambrose is a gifted writer, with several books to her credit. The most popular is her modern day Mango Bay Mystery series starring Mallie Monroe. Claire’s Secret is the first book I’ve read by this author, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The literary prose in an easy to read format was refreshing and entertaining. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series.  DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review. Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ronnie

    I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review was originally posted on my blog, Paradise Found. Claire's Last Secret is the first book in a trilogy that unrolls a mystery involving Claire's long lost daughter, Allegra. Claire Clairmont, Mary Shelley's half sister usually doesn't get much recognition when the creative group that spent the 'haunted summer' in Geneva is mentioned. It's little wonder actually, given that she I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This review was originally posted on my blog, Paradise Found. Claire's Last Secret is the first book in a trilogy that unrolls a mystery involving Claire's long lost daughter, Allegra. Claire Clairmont, Mary Shelley's half sister usually doesn't get much recognition when the creative group that spent the 'haunted summer' in Geneva is mentioned. It's little wonder actually, given that she was the only member of the party that didn't turn her experiences of that summer into a literary success. However, in her novel Marty Ambrose wants to show us that despite the fact that she didn't produce anything lasting from a literary point of view, Claire was still as important part of the circle as any other member. According to the author she deserves to be remembered in a favourable light, as someone who inspired Byron and the Shelleys with her love and friendship. I'll confess it was hard for me to think with the writer's head in the beginning, because I had my own picture of Claire, which wasn't exactly flattering. I've read several biographies of the Shelleys, and Claire has always come across as a pushy, somewhat annoying individual, who always wanted to be the centre of attention. It is rumoured she had an affair with Shelley as well, and if it's true, it was an awful betrayal towards Mary. In Claire's Last Secret we meet a very different Claire though. In the book she is an old lady who remembers her youth and sees her youthful foolishness in a very reasonable light. She doesn't regret anything and she wouldn't change anything in her past. She accepts herself as she is; someone who is chiefly driven by her emotions. I think it's a pretty romantic notion that the heart leads a person's actions, not the head and this simple twist on the character of Claire made her foolish decisions a lot more acceptable for me. The book is written in a lovely manner, it was a joy to read. It's always great to revisit the events in The Villa Diodati during 'the year without summer', but it's even better if the writing is exquisite. To take a boat trip with Byron and Shelley, to be there when Mary Shelley reads from Frankenstein for the first time.... ahh to be there... If you like the second generation of romantics, or know nothing of them, either way, this can be a fun read. I'll definitely pick up the second book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This is a story of a woman in love with Lord Byron and is having a scandalous affair with him. She is living with her step-sister Mary Shelley, of Frankenstein fame, and Mary's great love, the poet Shelley. Claire has a secret that has put her in dangerfrom an unknown assailaint who is determined to do her harm. Years later as an elderly woman, Claire finally begins to piece together the mysteries of her past. The thing I dislike about this book is that it did not come to any conclusion and ever This is a story of a woman in love with Lord Byron and is having a scandalous affair with him. She is living with her step-sister Mary Shelley, of Frankenstein fame, and Mary's great love, the poet Shelley. Claire has a secret that has put her in dangerfrom an unknown assailaint who is determined to do her harm. Years later as an elderly woman, Claire finally begins to piece together the mysteries of her past. The thing I dislike about this book is that it did not come to any conclusion and everything was left up in the air. This is the reason I only gave the book a 3 rating. It does leave it open for a future volume and a continuation of the story but the ending was badly done in my opinion, especially if there are no more books after this one.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Mills

    Claire’s Last Secret is a beautifully written historical mystery told by Claire Clairmont, the last survivor of the Byron/Shelley circle who must relive her memories of the haunted summer of 1816 to find the killer of a beloved friend Full of twists and turns, this delightful story kept me entranced by Claire’s poetic voice, and racing to the end to discover the identity of the murderer. Highly recommend!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dolores A.

    The book is exquisitely written. Most people know of Lord Byron and the Shelleys, but few know about Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont. This book shows an insightful look into the thoughts and ideals of an uninhibited young woman and where her actions led her; and, also, into the everyday lives of Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley. I look forward to the next "secret." The book is exquisitely written. Most people know of Lord Byron and the Shelleys, but few know about Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont. This book shows an insightful look into the thoughts and ideals of an uninhibited young woman and where her actions led her; and, also, into the everyday lives of Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley. I look forward to the next "secret."

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michaela (Journey into Books)

    *I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review* This is an historical fiction based on the life of Claire Clairmont and follows two different timelines, the first being 1873 Florence where Claire is struggling with whether she should sell her memorabilia in order to support her and her niece. The second is the Summer of 1816 that Claire spent in Geneva with Lord Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley. This was a really interesting story an *I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review* This is an historical fiction based on the life of Claire Clairmont and follows two different timelines, the first being 1873 Florence where Claire is struggling with whether she should sell her memorabilia in order to support her and her niece. The second is the Summer of 1816 that Claire spent in Geneva with Lord Byron, Mary and Percy Shelley. This was a really interesting story and as a massive fan of Frankenstein I loved learning more about Byron/Shelly circle and the summer that led to Mary writing the novel. I enjoyed the way that both timelines were woven together and I gave it 3 out of 5 stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    "Claire’s Last Secret" is a novel based on the true story of Claire Clairmont, the step-sister of Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein). Within this novel, we read about love; a love that is pure and lustful and free. An equal amount of pure and lustful love is shown by Claire towards Lord Byron, her “summer fling” according to some. To her, though, he was her everything. He was the father of her daughter, Allegra, who she would end up losing at a young age. The chapters split between present-da "Claire’s Last Secret" is a novel based on the true story of Claire Clairmont, the step-sister of Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein). Within this novel, we read about love; a love that is pure and lustful and free. An equal amount of pure and lustful love is shown by Claire towards Lord Byron, her “summer fling” according to some. To her, though, he was her everything. He was the father of her daughter, Allegra, who she would end up losing at a young age. The chapters split between present-day 1873, where Claire lives with her niece, Paulina, and the fateful summer of 1816 with Mary, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and Byron’s doctor, John Polidori. The seventy-five-year-old Claire in 1873 is given an anonymous note with a life-changing message about Allegra when a man comes inquiring about purchasing letters from Claire which were written by Shelley and Byron. This new information will cause her to reexamine her life currently, and what she thought she knew from the past. The writing in this novel is excellent, and it made for a quick read. Those whose interests lie in young adult as well as advanced reading will enjoy!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one. It's the first book I've read by this author, but I hope there will be others featuring Claire. I finished this one more quickly than I usually manage - partly because of an unusual amount of time spent in waiting rooms but also because it was a wonderful story. Edited to add: See entry titled 'The Literary Pilgrimage at Castle Chillon' here - https://www.martyambrose.com/didyouknow. Author does state this is book one of a proposed trilogy. Thoroughly enjoyed this one. It's the first book I've read by this author, but I hope there will be others featuring Claire. I finished this one more quickly than I usually manage - partly because of an unusual amount of time spent in waiting rooms but also because it was a wonderful story. Edited to add: See entry titled 'The Literary Pilgrimage at Castle Chillon' here - https://www.martyambrose.com/didyouknow. Author does state this is book one of a proposed trilogy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Phyllis

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  18. 4 out of 5

    E Ambrozaitis

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jayne Whitaker

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jean Freiberg

  21. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    Anytime Lord Byron or Mary Shelley mentioned it is a given I Will be reading . . This is a mystery with the central Claire Claremont ,Mary Shelley’s stepsister. She is last survivor of haunted summer where Shelley wrote her infamous Frankenstein .. Living out her days in poverty with her niece she is approached to sell her letters from the famous poet . When she receives a note about her daughter she conceived With Byron it sets events in motion . Told in alternate timelines this is riveting sto Anytime Lord Byron or Mary Shelley mentioned it is a given I Will be reading . . This is a mystery with the central Claire Claremont ,Mary Shelley’s stepsister. She is last survivor of haunted summer where Shelley wrote her infamous Frankenstein .. Living out her days in poverty with her niece she is approached to sell her letters from the famous poet . When she receives a note about her daughter she conceived With Byron it sets events in motion . Told in alternate timelines this is riveting story .

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carrie Forman

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joan Van

  25. 4 out of 5

    Donna

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Linda Weisz

  28. 4 out of 5

    Firefly

  29. 4 out of 5

    Anne DS

  30. 5 out of 5

    Monica

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