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

Forever Amber

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  16,191 ratings  ·  1,053 reviews
Abandoned pregnant and penniless on the teeming streets of London, 16-year-old Amber St. Clare manages, by using her wits, beauty, and courage, to climb to the highest position a woman could achieve in Restoration England—that of favorite mistress of the Merry Monarch, Charles II. From whores and highwaymen to courtiers and noblemen, from events such as the Great Plague ...more
Paperback, 976 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Chicago Review Press (first published 1944)
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 Forever Amber, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder I find the story itself lacking in many areas, but the author's explanations of some of the conventions of the time period is outstanding and has the…moreI find the story itself lacking in many areas, but the author's explanations of some of the conventions of the time period is outstanding and has the ring of truth. She includes many details about the time period that another author just wouldn't bother to include or the editor would have the author remove it this were written in more recent times. But the MC, "Amber" is very tedious.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,191 ratings  ·  1,053 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Forever Amber
Aug 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A little known trivia about this book. Artie Shaw wanted his beautiful young wife Ava Gardner to be well read, and so he encouraged her to read many intellectual books. He was very annoyed when he found her reading Forever Amber. He called it a 'trashy romance novel.' Years later Artie Shaw would wed the author, Kathleen Winsor.
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're looking for a rollicking romp through 17th century Restoration England then this is it! 16 year old Amber St Clare finds herself homeless and penniless on the streets of London, and to make matters much worse she's also pregnant. However, Amber is an enticing young girl, both in terms of her beauty and her personality and wit. She's particularly well versed in the use of feminine wiles and eventually becomes the mistress of Charles II.

Gosh, this story is a whirlwind of bawdiness,
I know some of you just love this book...and I'm happy for are the good kind people who are able to go out into the world and make friends easily because you see the good in everyone regardless of how horrible and shallow and rotten they are.

I am not like you...I'm fussy, I'm particular, I'm very judgmental...and I could only stand to read 323 pages of this awful book!

I too am one of those people who thinks you should finish the book if you start it. I have never left a review about a
``Laurie Henderson
Meet Amber, the Scarlett O'Hara of the English Civil War and Restoration era.

Nothing could stop this teenage country girl, from a small English village as she rises to the top in the court of King Charles II, becoming one of his MANY mistresses.

Amber's tale borders on the trashy but my goodness, she was so much fun.

Like Scarlett, Amber wants the man she can not have, whilst moving heaven and earth to obtain his love.

Poor Scarlett was so besotted with Ashley that she barely noticed the
Veronica Bailey
Ugh! I thought I'd never finish this book. I have never before read so many pages about a protagonist I hated this much.
At the beginning of the book, Amber is a childish, selfish, spoiled little brat who uses her natural beauty and sexuality to get what she wants. But I thought, it's a book about a journey! Life will Happen, Amber will learn and grow and become a better person, and by the end of the book, I'll be happy when good things happen to her.
Well. Life did happen, but Amber didn't change
"Never again, she had promised herself a dozen times will I be such a fool." Yeah right, like we all know that's never going to happen don't we?

Amber St. Clare never felt she belonged with the poor family who raised her, and when one day a troop of cavaliers ride into her village she's swept away by Lord Bruce Carlton. Well, actually it's more like the other way around - Amber won't say no and begs Bruce to take her to London and against his better judgment he agrees - although lust for the
May 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am always interested in how my adult self reacts differently to books than my adolescent self did. I first read this book when I was about twelve years old and I am surprised none of the adults around me prohibited it. Probably because of my own innocence, I failed to see how very jaded this character actually was. For me then, there was this marvelous love she had for this man who was always just out of reach (I would mistakenly have said through no fault of her own).

What I took away from it
I read this book because of my grandfather. That sounds funny, but my grandpa Duke was in WWII and he was stationed mostly on ships. When this book came out, he the whole crew were given one copy to share. So they tore the book apart and passed the chapters around. You might get the third chapter one night and the tenth another. He read the whole book, but completely out of order. After he told me this story I went to the library and checked out the book. It was a good book especially if you ...more
Like Amber’s frilly drawers, my thoughts on this book regularly went up and down.

It’s a lusty romp through Restoration England taking in Newgate prison, bawdy taverns and theatres, the plague, the great fire of London, royal courts, various bedrooms and general day to day life of the 1660s.

Amber was one hell of a character, an anti-heroine in the mould of Scarlett O’Hara. She fought hard for what she wanted at the expense of anyone who got in her way, and as with Scarlett, sometimes I was
Dec 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Karla by: Kerrie
While it's certainly not a "bodice ripper" in the modern sense, Winsor certainly laid the groundwork for the genre with her novel of the multiple amorous and mercenary adventures of one Amber St. Clare Channell Dangerfield Radclyffe Stanhope. Lots of thrusting, pointed and pert breasts, lots of hard, bronzed muscled skin, lots of eyes filled with passionate anger and angry passion. You know what I'm talking about. The devouring, hungry kisses and languid afterglows are all here without the ...more
Amber takes you through one of the most interesting periods in the English history. A feisty, brave and independent heroine who is not afraid to go after what she wants.

10 stars

Nov 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had everything you could ask for in historical fiction - court intrigue, infidelites, Newgate prison, smallpox, the plague, fire in London...It kept me going for 992 pages, yet I hated every character - there was no one with any redeeming qualities!! It was a very interesting read!
Stephen Smarr
Jan 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, Okay, I've read all the bad reviews on here, and I have to admit that this was NOT the book I would choose if I wanted a pick-me-up, light-hearted, fun read. But I would always reach for this book before picking up Gone with the Wind, and that's saying something since most of the reviewers on this site have commented about how much they like that book!
It really is along the same lines, and I don't know how you can like Scarlet O'hara without falling in love with Amber St Claire. Now, I
Feb 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women who don't read romances.
Recommended to Lisa by: David
Absolutely the best chick-lit classic of all time. This historical romance is poorly written worthless junk, and I loved every second of it! I have never read a Harlequin Romance, anything by Barbara Cartland or Danielle Steele, or anything with Fabio on the cover. The only reason I bothered was the person who sent it to me. Not just recommended it, took the trouble to send it. This is a thoroughly enjoyable piece of fluff, entertaining in ways I can't begin to understand or describe. Heartily ...more
Actual rating: 3.5 stars. I did like this book and was pulled into it against my better judgement.

Wow, this is a door-stop of a book and apparently when the publisher accepted it for publication, they cut it down to one fifth of its original size. I can’t imagine having to wade through even more pages to get to the conclusion, so I thank the editors profusely!

It’s difficult, from our 21st century perspective, to see what the fuss was about in the 1940s. This is one of the novels that began the
Delightful book, with a fast-paced plot with plenty of twists and turns, culminating in a funny ending you'll not expect.

The prose isn't particular, but the plotting and the historical detailing do make up for that. And if some may feel the heroine isn't likable, that's true, yet in my case it worked because I knew she wasn't meant to be lovable, and once that's accepted, you can sit and enjoy the ride. Also, I may be the odd fish here, but I liked the hero less than her.

The plague chapters are
No, this is not a book I enjoy. I have read 267 of 972 pages and have decided to quit. I know the historical facts are correct so I have been forcing myself to continue to learn about the Restoration period in England, the plague, London’s Fire, clothing, food, customs and manners. Yes, all that is here. Still, I did not enjoy it. The beginning was fun because Amber felt like a young, spunky girl determined to get what she wanted from life… and Bruce did blow her over! That was all fine and ...more
Restoration England and the reign of King Charles II was certainly the time of pleasure, gluttony, and sin. Perhaps this was recompense for the harsh Civil Wars. The life of women during this period was also oftentimes filled with this lust for life. Kathleen Winsor highlights this real-life soap opera in, “Forever Amber”.

“Forever Amber” is a raunchy novel (but not really a bodice ripper and not that raunchy in terms of today’s standards) following the life of fictional Amber St. Clare during
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy historical fiction
Shelves: great-britain
I loved this book, even though much of it felt like waiting for a storm that’s about to happen. I felt sorry for Amber who loved a man far more than he loved her. She made one bad decision after another, leading to mayhem and self-destructiveness. Although Amber is not the most likeable of characters, I found myself caring for her, and even rooting for her at times.

I gave this four stars, because I thought that the ending was abrupt, but overall it was a fabulous story. If you enjoy historical
Amber is without a doubt one of the most vile and despicable characters I have ever read. Kudos to Kathleen Winsor for creating such an unrepentant monster in a piece of popular model fiction for her time. No surprise given the antics of the h that Popes banned this baby.

Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor lays the groundwork for historical fiction and bodice rippers. Yes, it's epic, not in terms of a generational HF as the story take Amberonly through approximately nine years in Charles II Restoration England. No spoiler here
BAM The Bibliomaniac
What a guilty pleasure read! Definitely recommend for those Outlander fans
Amber is born of noble unmarried parents and reared in a country village with people she thinks are her aunt and uncle. As soon as she's of age, she runs from home following a cavalier to London. From there she lands in one adventure or another, men always involved. Slowly her naïveté wanes, and at one point she is even bedded by King Charles II and the Duke of Buckingham.
Beginning during the first days of the
Jul 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Charles II is restored to the throne, Cromwell is dead. Monarchy will rein once more in England. Amber St. Claire, a seemingly yeoman farmer's daughter happens across cavaliers one day and begs to be taken away from the country and travel with them into London. Here she believes, an entrancing beauty such as herself can live a larger and more important life. Lord Bruce Carlton is just the means to do it. She believes she can charm him like all the other men in her life.

Amber is a complex
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
My feelings are so conflicted on this one.
Jun 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really surprised that this book has been described by so many as a "romance novel" -- to me, it seems the antithesis of one. There's no great passionate love that can overcome all, no soulmates, and most of the people who are married or shacking up can barely stand each other.

Frankly, that's right up my alley. I was totally terrified of this being a romance novel. If you want a sappy 1980s bodice ripper, don't be fooled by the quotes you see on a lot of these new covers. This is NOT a
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Christmas gift from my Mum. I read this when I was a teenager and loved it so much. I am a bit daunted by 972 pages!
* * * * *
Wonderful, exciting, riveting book! I only have ONE complaint about it: The author used "but nevertheless" many times. Bless her heart, I'll forgive that grammatical error because the story was so, so, so GOOD! Read it! Amber is an English Scarlett O'Hara of the late 1600s.
May 01, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
How I felt before I started reading the book: Excited, intrigued, and a little intimidated by its enormity.
When I started reading the book: Still excited, but a little taken aback by how nonchalant the author is in her situation descriptions.
Half way through the book: Begining to feel anguish. I also started hating the main character (which never happened to me before. Typically, you want them to succeed.)
Five sixths through the book: Skimming paragraphs until I get to dialogue. Sick and tired
Cassio Queiros
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Spellbinding till the very last sentence!"(from Classic Reverie's review)
As always, you are absolutely right C.R.
This book is a real page-turner and great fun to read: colorful, vivid, with a fast-paced plot.
A historical epic with a memorable heroine. I warmly recommend it.
(and many thanks to my good friend C.R. for introducing me to this lovely novel)
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book when I was 11 and pretty sheltered in terms of sex and greed. I was floored at how Windsor made every character in this book come alive; living, breathing, fornicating, swearing---ALIVE. I certainly agree that Amber is one of the least likeable characters I've ever come across-she's bitchy, narrowminded, selfish and I believe that the term "stalker" would describe her osbession with Bruce--but can anyone say that they've never held on too long to someone they knew in their ...more
This was one of my sister's favorite books, and it took me several decades to finally get around to reading it. Why did I wait so long? FA is really the grandmother to most current historical romance literature. I think its racy content caused quite a firestorm when it was published. By today's standards, it's fairly tame, but it's still a well written story of an amoral girl's dream to rise above her station in life no matter what it takes or who she steps on. Amber isn't a likable woman, but ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Through a Glass Darkly (Tamworth Saga #2)
  • Now Face to Face (Tamworth Saga, #3)
  • The Winthrop Woman
  • Katherine
  • The Darling Strumpet
  • Dark Angels (Tamworth Saga #1)
  • Scarlett
  • Royal Harlot
  • Angelique (Angelique: Original version, #1)
  • Rule Britannia
  • The Hearth and Eagle
  • The Thorn Birds
  • Rhett Butler's People
  • Angel
  • Tom, petit Tom, tout petit homme, Tom
  • The Heart of a King (The Loves of King Solomon #1-4)
  • Hogarth: A Life and a World
  • English Women's Clothing in the Nineteenth Century: A Comprehensive Guide with 1,117 Illustrations
See similar books…
Winsor was raised in Berkeley, California. At the age of 18, Winsor made a list of her goals for life. Among those was her hope to write a best-selling novel. Winsor graduated in 1938 from the University of California, Berkeley. During her school years, she married a fellow student, All-American college football player Robert Herwig. In 1937, she began writing a thrice-weekly sports column for the ...more
“If you had better sense you’d have learned by now that nothing thrives so well as wickedness” 31 likes
“Death was democratic. It made no choice between the rich and the poor, the beautiful and the ugly, the young and the old.” 10 likes
More quotes…