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Imposture (Lord Byron #1)

3.04  ·  Rating Details ·  146 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Lord Byron was the greatest writer and most notorious, scandalous lover of his age - an irresistible attraction for a sheltered, bookish, and passionate young woman like Eliza Esmond.

Eliza believes she's met Byron on the doorstep of his publisher, and that her dreams have come true when he arranges to meet her in secret. But what if the man she believes to be Byron is som
Paperback, 200 pages
Published May 17th 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published January 31st 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mar 12, 2009 Gerund rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story behind the creation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is legendary. The English writer had travelled to Switzerland in the summer of 1816 with her fiance, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and her stepsister Claire Clairmont.

The trio was visiting Lord Byron at his villa near Lake Geneva, when they were confined indoors for days due to an unseasonal rainstorm.
Amusing each other by reading aloud ghost stories, it was ineviatble that the bunch of writers should get cracking on their own. Of th
Nov 09, 2010 Marie rated it it was ok
Wanted to like this. High concept, interesting period. Author clearly a "wordsmith", but this effort seems self-consciously literary and mannered (as in, descriptions that "sound good" but don't bear reasoned analysis, and distracting sentence fragments) First half of book a bit of a slog, then pace picked up. One wants to know how the situation will be resolved. But characters uniformly unattractive -- because so needy and unformed? I found I didn't care. Self-immolating "heroine" not one to st ...more
Nov 29, 2007 Sandra rated it it was amazing
This is a literary historical novel to read slowly, relishing each delicious sentence. Highly recommended.
I honestly wanted to like this one more, but I couldn't. It was too dreary and I didn't care for Polidori or Eliza at all. Also, I don't see how people could confuse Byron and Polidori. To me, they look nothing alike. Eliza = super delusional.
Library discard. 1 of 12 for $6.
May 24, 2016 Nelson rated it liked it
Novel opens with the self-consciously hoary premise of a found manuscript being released into the world. The story itself is a fictionalized version of the events around John Polidori's return to England after his dismissal from the poet Byron's service. The novel seems reasonably solid on period details but doesn't make a major production out of them. Instead, the focus is on the dramatic situation of Polidori's being mistaken for Byron by a young dreamer. He continues the imposture (initially) ...more
Rachel Pollock
Jan 25, 2014 Rachel Pollock rated it really liked it
Shelves: grim
I must've been in exactly the right melancholy mood to read this sad and slow-flowering book. I think that at another time i might have hated it, or been bored by it, but instead i was infected with a sort of grim charm for these deeply lonely characters.

I was disappointed that the author brought the plot to its climax, but then basically only wrote a conclusion for Polly, abandoning any pretense of denouement for Eliza, whose consequences i was just as interested to read about, but no such luck
Jul 27, 2013 Milla rated it did not like it
I personally didn't like this book. I thought the description was annoyingly detailed-too much so. The character Eliza was upsetting; why should a teenager, 16 in the beginning, 19 by the end, be described as being a "spinster" with "crows feet", and be treated like she has no hope in the future; to me that is the essence of misogyny. Even in the 19th century a teenager would not have been considered an "old maid". The attention paid to female beauty would not have been paid to a man in the same ...more
Megan Chance
May 02, 2012 Megan Chance rated it really liked it
This is a 4.5 star book for me. I really really liked it. I'd read Markovits before and liked him very much. This book is not just about imposture but about self-delusion. It's beautifully written, entirely character-driven, and a very thoughtful meditation on failure and vanity and expectation. The characters are beautifully drawn, with an overlaying aura of melancholy that reminded me of Henry James. I think this will have to go on my favorites shelf.
Derek Collett
Dec 08, 2015 Derek Collett rated it really liked it
Extremely well written, interesting and engrossing and Markovits judiciously utilizes the period detail. The characters are good (especially Byron and Polidori), there are some engaging set-pieces and one learns a lot about the life and literature of the time. However, the lack of story development makes it ultimately a little frustrating. An author worth looking out for though.
Oct 19, 2014 Val rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discuss-it
John Polidori was Lord Byron's doctor and wrote "The Vampyre". A lot of people thought Byron wrote it. This book takes that idea and weaves a sad love story out of it.
I liked the idea of the book more than reading it, although it did improve as I got used to the style and the rather pathetic characters.

The average group rating was 2.8
Fiona Squires
Jul 31, 2011 Fiona Squires rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
When I finally got into this it was reasonably enjoyable. Unfortunately the main character is entirely unsympathetic which meant that reading it was more of a slog. I found the female lead more interesting and was disappointed that there was not more of her end story. That said, I thought the various ideas about disguise were interesting.
Mar 08, 2014 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get into this book, it wasn't until I got half way through that I could say I was enjoying it. I found the first half very slow and can't say I warmed to either of the two main characters. However I have to admit I knew nothing of Lord Byron and Polidori before reading this book, so perhaps that hindered my enjoyment of the novel.
Mar 16, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it
If you are fascinated by the Shelley/Wollstonecraft/Shelley Romantic circle, you will thoroughly enjoy this novel. It isn't quite the roast beef of those authors, but, then, who compares? Definitely time well spent.
Barbara Sibbald
Jun 23, 2013 Barbara Sibbald rated it liked it
A modern venture into Gothic lit -- and the cult of author adoration. Markovits pulls off some astounding sentences and manages to spin a complex tale with excellent verisimilitude. I enjoyed this a great deal and someone more familiar with Byron's oeuvre would doubtless enjoy it even more.
Feb 01, 2013 Lynne rated it liked it
I only gave this 3 stars as I had to force myself to finish the book. It never quite lived up to its premise. When I was finished reading it, I was relieved. :(
The language was very flowery and expressive which made the reading ability slow.
Carey Combe
Oct 06, 2011 Carey Combe rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this, but I wasn't engaged by any of the characters, couldn't care what the hell happened to any of them. Having read a very good biography of Byron, I'll leave it at that.
Aug 08, 2011 Zzoeeeee rated it liked it
Want to read something mediocre? Read this. I quite enjoyed the Byron and Polidori backstory but the actual plot was contrived and laughable.
Apr 26, 2016 Heberquijano rated it really liked it
A great book with many poetry moments that thrills me... Polidoris character is despicable, and lovely for it an example of the good writing of Markovits ...more
Maria (Discuss It Book Group)
This novel received very mixed reviews during the discussion at Discuss It Book Group, earning an overall group rating of 2.8 out of 5.
Michael Brown
Intelligent, well-written and full of evocative period fillips, but in its habit of saying rather than showing comes across as didactic instead of diverting.
Elizabeth Moffat
I read this as a bookclub choice and didn't really get on with it. The writing was excellent but the only character I really warmed to was Eliza and was left feeling a little disappointed.
Jun 07, 2007 Elizabeth rated it did not like it
Shelves: already-read
Overblown, overdramatic portrait of John Polidori, Lord Byron's personal physician. Female character portrait is particularly Over the Top.
Polis Loizou
Polis Loizou rated it it was amazing
May 06, 2010
Gaia rated it did not like it
May 05, 2015
Sue Wright
Sue Wright rated it really liked it
Aug 02, 2013
Ashleigh rated it it was ok
Feb 21, 2008
Yooperprof rated it liked it
May 02, 2011
Ron rated it liked it
Aug 21, 2014
Taylor Kate Brown
Taylor Kate Brown rated it really liked it
Oct 17, 2008
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