Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Enchantress of Numbers” as Want to Read:
Enchantress of Numbers
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Enchantress of Numbers

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  3,416 ratings  ·  649 reviews
The only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the most brilliant, revered, and scandalous of the Romantic poets, Ada was destined for fame long before her birth. Estranged from Ada’s father, who was infamously “mad, bad, and dangerous to know,” Ada’s mathematician mother is determined to save her only child from her perilous Byron heritage. Banishing fairy tales and make-believ ...more
Kindle Edition, 446 pages
Published December 5th 2017 by Dutton
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Enchantress of Numbers, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Cavak Good: pretty solid characterizations of figures derived from letters and other historical documents; fun narrative perspectives of Ada's fancies and w…moreGood: pretty solid characterizations of figures derived from letters and other historical documents; fun narrative perspectives of Ada's fancies and work; extensive domestic drama.

Bad: since the book covers her entire life, even the rocky marriage between her parents before her birth, Ada's famous contributions happen very late in the book; the bickering with her mother can be a bit much sometimes; childhood feels like it somewhat outweighs her adulthood.

Neither good nor bad, but it's somewhat biased for Ada being entirely worthy for the credit of computer programming when it's currently being criticized and discussed amongst historians.(less)
Leah I thought it was good, but not her best. My favorite of here is "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker."

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,416 ratings  ·  649 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Enchantress of Numbers
Dec 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: publisher, reviewed
An overly long prologue to this book tells the story of the courtship and brief unhappy marriage of Lord Byron and his wife Annabella that resulted in the birth of one child, Augusta Ada later known as Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace. I had never heard of Ada, but some have credited her with being the first computer programmer. That is probably an overstatement. I was expecting more about the life of a scientist or a glimpse into her creative process but there is almost none of that in this ...more
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
This is a historical novel based on the brief life of Ada Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron and a mathematician of genius. It follows fairly closely the details of Lovelace’s life as it is known, but is rather selective about what is focussed on. There is a great emphasis on the relationships with her mother, who spends her whole time trying to ensure her daughter does not develop her father’s imaginative and poetic traits. The relationship is shown as often distant and adversarial. In f
MaryannC. Book Freak
2.5 Stars. While I thought this was a very informative and well researched book about Ada Lovelace this at times was tedious to read. I didn't know much beforehand about her life except that she was the daughter of the famous poet Lord Byron who was considered a womanizer and who had a possible scandalous relationship with his half-sister. This was an insightful look into a young woman whose life begun in a custody battle after her parents became estranged and who suffered life under an overprot ...more
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a good fictional account of Ada Lovelace's life. In the future I plan on reading more about her.

There is not much else to say because the story speaks for its self.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it did not like it
That this book is a 'did-not-finish' makes me super sad. Jennifer Chaiverini has been one of my go-to authors for many years: she was one of the few 'mainstream' authors I could count on for a well-written novel (especially her historical portraits) that was clean. Unfortunately, with this novel, that is not the case.
To my clean-reading friends, you probably want to skip this one as it contains a graphic intimate scene between the main character and one of her tutors. That was the point where
BAM The Bibliomaniac
The chronological and developmental ages of Ada do not coincide AT ALL
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Written by Jennifer Chiaverini
(Narrated by Virginia Leishman)
2017; Dutton/Penguin (446 Pages) 
(Audio length: 20 hours and 2 minutes)
Genre: fiction, historical fiction, Britain, history, science, math, biography, women 


I have to admit that I became more interested in Ada Lovelace due to her father, Byron. I enjoyed Byron's poetry and study him and his friends, Mary and Percy Shelley's work for school. He is a fascinating person in literature history. He also s
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I knew Jennifer Chiaverini as the quilt novel author. She introduced me to the idea that quilts were signposts for the Underground Railroad in The Runaway Quilt which I loved. I knew that she'd been writing biographical novels of female historical figures, but I didn't sit up and take notice until it was Ada Lovelace in Enchantress of Numbers. I've always wanted to know more about her role in the development of the early precursors to computers. So I requested an ARC from Net Galley and was deli ...more
Dec 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
couldn't do it. she talks about her as if she's 10 and in the next sentence says "And then I turned 2..." what? Talks about how she embroidered fancy things on table cloths ... "and then in my 4th birthday." huh? Way too tedious.
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading about Ada Lovelace's life, especially since the only thing I knew about her was that she is considered to be the first computer programmer.

This was the first book I've read by Chiaverini, and I found the writing style to be... well, lacking somewhat. I didn't feel as connected to the characters as I should have been; it seemed like Chiaverini was didn't want to stray too far from the facts of Ada's life, but in doing so these historical personages come off as rather flat chara
Amanda Geaney
Mrs. Chiaverini is one of my favorites authors. However, I've given her a prologue and four chapters to hook me and it's just not happening. I'm going to stop reading here, perhaps a friend will read it (love it) and encourage me to pick it up again in the future.
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
After reading about Ada Lovelace in The Colors of Madeleine Series by Jaclyn Moriarty, this book immediately caught my eye on the Edelweiss site. A big thanks to them and Penguin Publishing for the ARC of this forthcoming novel.

Chiaverini took great care in telling Ada's story beginning with the romance between her mother and Lord Byron, their calamitous marriage and estrangement and then continuing to tell Ada's story from birth to death. It is difficult to be sympathetic to Lady Byron through
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini is a historical fiction look into the life of Ada Byron (Lovelace). I admit to knowing very little about her and that's why I requested this book as an ARC
However, I just never connected to the character(s) and felt the book was overlong and drawn out. The style of narration through her childhood put me off. First seemingly from her mother's POV, but finishing up with 'me' being Ada. Ada's personality was unlikeable, as were the host of other people

Although I have an interest in Ada Lovelace, as she is commonly known, and Jennifer Chiaverini is by no means a bad writer, I found that I just couldn’t connect with this book as much as I had been hoping.

I had two main issues. The first was the choice of first-person narration. I find it to be generally limiting when it comes to historical fiction, because it can only convey the experiences and knowledge that the narrating character possesses. Events that they were not present for, which may ad
Judy Lesley
Dec 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Dutton for a digital galley of this novel.

I thoroughly enjoy learning about historical figures through fictionalized versions of their lives which contain the facts I want alongside the fictional additions which keep the narrative flowing. I particularly liked reading the second half of this book when the story of Ada Byron had finally moved on from her first nineteen years of life to her becoming Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace. I find it difficult
Mary Robinson
It is a very rare thing that I don't finish abook - but that almost happened with this title. It just seemed to drag on and on. I found the main character / narrator to be rather unlikable - a haughty, entitled (even for her time) woman who described herself "precocious" and claimed to remember being an infant. The endless and drawn out descriptions of her mathematical studies seemed to go on for pages without relief. Occasionally there would be spurts of interesting story telling, but generally ...more
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was not for me, and I would have abandoned it early on had it not been a review copy from the publisher (via NetGalley). In the end, I'm glad I continued, as it was more interesting toward the end, but I found the first person narration of her childhood quite off-putting. Great subject matter, though.
Carole P. Roman
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jennifer Chiaverini captures the essence of Regency England in her book Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace. While I knew about Lord Bryon, his affair with Caroline Lamb, I knew nothing about his maligned wife and forgotten daughter. Annabella Milbanke falls madly in love with the mercurial poet Bryon, and despite misgivings at his odd behavior marries him. She discovers her husband's shocking secret, separating from him and moving home with her parents. Cool, calculating, and logica ...more
May 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini’s compelling historical novel unveils the private lives of Abraham and Mary Lincoln through the perspective of the First Lady’s most trusted confidante and friend, her dressmaker, Elizabeth Keckley.

In a life that spanned nearly a century and witnessed some of the most momentous events in American history, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was born a slave. A gifted seamstress, she earned her freedom by the skill of her needle, and won the friendship o
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
***I received a digital advance copy of this through Penguin's First to Read program in exchange for my thoughts. It goes on sale Dec. 5.

For about two years I have been fascinated by whatever I can learn about Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. These two were closely connected in the development of what *could* have been the world's first computer...a hundred years ahead of time. Steam-powered. Wild, right?! I think so. Charles Babbage invented the machine--although he never completed the constru
Mar 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read about someone I knew very little about. While I thought the author spent a little too much time on Ada's childhood (the parade of nurses got a bit tedious), the novel became more interesting once Ada reached her teens and started coming into her own intellectually and mingling with London's elite. Since Ada's relationship with her mother was so central to the novel, though, I wish we could have seen the events from both women's perspectives.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
I knew nothing about Ada Lovelace prior to reading this book, and I very much enjoyed her fascinating history, which was fascinating largely due to her infamous father.

I do think the first person narrative had some drawbacks, namely an inability to fully address the complex mother-daughter relationship that was so central to the story. I really wanted to hear more from the mothers pov.

Some readers have lamented the lack of scientific details, but I was personally more interested in the aspects
Nov 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Another reviewer said, "I really wish that there had been more emphasis on science and less on governesses, coming out parties, and illegitimate relatives" and I cannot help but agree. The book was well written and kept my interest (kudos to the author for drawing on so many primary sources, e.g. memoirs diaries letters etc.) but actual science or math doesn't get much screen time, as it were. We are told that Ada studies mathematics etc. but we don't get to explore it or think about it or exper ...more
Myron Brown
Dec 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Ada Lovelace, the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, looks back on her life especially her relationship with her mother and her love of mathematics. The prologue is a long recounting of the tumultuous courtship and brief marriage of Lord Byron and Anne Milbanke including Ada's. After that overlong prologue Chiaverini has her narrator Ada recount her childhood from the moment her mother left Lord Byron when she was seven weeks old. Ada recounting events she couldn't possibly remember and probably w ...more
Jen (The Bookish Blonde)
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads
And when thou would solace gather
when our child’s first accents flow,
Wilt thou teach her to say “Father!”
Though his care she must fogo?

These are the words of the most infamous of the Romantic poets, Lord Byron. They refer to his daughter, Ada Lovelace, who is the heroine of Jennifer Chiaverini’s latest historical fiction novel, Enchantress of Numbers. I was thrilled when I heard that Chiaverini had a new book coming out, as she is one of my favorite authors. Once again, she delivers historical
Virginia Johnson
I am always impressed with the historical accurateness that Jennifer Chiaverini is known for, but ... I have to admit, this was a bit slow in places. I DID enjoy it - as Ada Lovelace is a heroine of mine - so I most certainly recommend it, especially if you are a fan of any number of things: mid-nineteenth century British peerage/politics, Lord Byron's poetry, mathematics, Charles Babbage's Difference Engine (the precurser to the modern-day computer) -- even fashion history ;-> ...more
Davida Chazan
Jennifer Chiaverini’s historical fiction novel about Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace, takes us back to 19th century England, to discover a woman whose mathematical insights may have been instrumental in making the essential the connections that led to today’s computers. You can read my review of this book about the unfortunately short life of Lady Lovelace here.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't love but didn't dislike this novel. I read indifferent. I think that the author spends too much time on trivial matters. I wanted more.
Cian O hAnnrachainn
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
History has forgotten so many women, and author Jennifer Chiaverini brings them back to life. In her newest work of historical fiction she presents the life of Ada Byron King, daughter of the poet Byron, a woman now considered the mother of computer coding.

ENCHANTRESS OF NUMBERS is well researched, and the nuggets of information that pop up in the narrative are never intrusive. Ms. Chiaverini paints a subtle picture of life at the end of the Georgian Era when Ada, daughter of a peer, was being r
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nothing of the poetical must take root in her mind!

Fascinating look into the life of Lord Byron's daughter, Ada Byron King, a gifted mathematician and visionary.
Rigorously guided by an overbearing, fearful mother who's one concern is that her daughter not have the contagion of excessive passion that her father did, it's no wonder Ada's brilliance found an outlet via reasoning and calculations. Her relationship with Charles Babbage and his Analytical Machine is that of a far seeing acolyte who co
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Synopsis in Spanish // Sinopsis en Español 1 1 Nov 10, 2017 05:40PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Lady Clementine
  • The Girls in the Picture
  • Women of Colonial America: 13 Stories of Courage and Survival in the New World
  • A Single Thread
  • Rubies from Burma
  • Carnegie's Maid
  • That Churchill Woman
  • American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt
  • The English Wife
  • American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt
  • NO MOON AT MIDNIGHT: (A Stand-Alone Biographical Novel )-- and Book 7 of the concluding story of the Lord Byron Series)
  • The Queen's Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire
  • The Only Woman in the Room
  • The Romanov Empress: A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna
  • The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek
  • The Indigo Girl
  • Acqua salata
  • The Genius of Women: From Overlooked to Changing the World
See similar books…
Jennifer Chiaverini is the New York Times bestselling author of several acclaimed historical novels and the beloved Elm Creek Quilts series, as well as six collections of quilt patterns inspired by her books. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin. About her historical fiction, the Milwaukee Journal Se ...more

Related Articles

While dealing with her husband's illness, this debut author turned to the refuge of Jane Austen's work. That refuge turned into her highly anticipa...
80 likes · 11 comments
“loving one’s children does not guarantee that one will never fail them,” 2 likes
“One of the great advantages that we may derive from machinery is the check that it affords against the inattention, the idleness, or the dishonesty of human agents.” 1 likes
More quotes…