A Quiet Adjustment, By Benjamin Markovits

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The Independent Culture

The second in Benjamin Markovits's trilogy on the life of Lord Byron concerns a scandal that rocked the poet's reputation early on in his career. Arabella Milbanke, 19, is introduced to Bryon. Attracted to the feted author, she agrees to his proposal of marriage, suspecting his libertine ways will force her "to draw new breath".

As Lady Byron she does indeed, when not long into the marriage she is schooled in one of his pecadillos. Markovits dazzles with his storytelling and elegant psychoanalytical salvos. "I fear very much you will find out you have married a devil," Byron confides during their honeymoon from hell. The reader hopes she has.

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