A Shadowed Fate
Seven House Publishers (2020)
Reviewed by Mark Sneed for Reader Views (1/2021)
If you like history with a dash of creative license then you will definitely like “A Shadowed Fate,” by Marty Ambrose.
The premise of this story is pretty clever. The story begins in 1873 in Italy. Claire Clairmont, a love of Lord Byron during his younger years in 1816 learns her long dead daughter may not be dead at all. A friend shows up out of nowhere and leaves her with a sketch before his murder. The sketch is stolen and Clairmont decides to follow the cold trail to see if she can retrieve the sketch and determine if her now dead friend was telling the truth. Clairmont, after a brush with the seedier side of the nineteenth century, decides to go back to the convent where her daughter was last reported to be staying.
This being historical fiction, the dates are very important. Clairmont’s daughter, Lord Byron’s daughter, died of the Spanish flu. At least, that is the story that Clairmont was told. The thoughtful and reflective Claire Clairmont is charming and distinct. It is enjoyable to watch her puzzle out the details all around her that others seem to routinely overlook.
The treat for me in “A Shadowed Fate” is the tight writing. Marty Ambrose has a great writing style. The characters are well thought out. The settings are marvelous. They visit the best of places. I particularly enjoyed the visit to the mansions and palaces as well as the convent and churches. Simply beautiful writing and details. The story is driven by Clairmont’s desire to unravel the truth about her Allegra, the daughter she had with Lord Byron. Through the story Clairmont rereads letters penned by Byron. A nice touch. There is no slackness in the story. There are rich conversations, interesting characters, and action aplenty in A Shadowed Fate. All the while there is a nagging question that Clairmont must have answered.
“A Shadowed Fate” by Mary Ambrose is an extremely enjoyable book that once you begin you will not want to put down.