The Kindness of Sisters by David Crane
Annabella Milbanke and the Destruction of the Byrons

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Synopsis

A stunningly original account, revolutionary in technique, examining the character of the great Romantic poet Lord Byron through the lives and deadly rivalry of the two women he left behind.

The heart of David Crane’s account is the lifelong feud between Augusta—Byron’s half sister with whom he had a passionate affair—and Annabella, his society wife, both of whom bore him daughters. Crane reimagines the famous meeting between the two women years after Byron’s death, a chillingly dramatic scene through which he explores the emotional and sexual truths that lay at the center of these tragic relationships. In the encounter between the two women—one in chronic ill health, the other dying—we have the ultimate display of their mutual obsession with the memory and compulsive influence of Byron that makes their story that of the Romantic Age itself.

It is a story full of dubious motives, especially Annabella’s “saving” of Augusta and her child, Medora, and her twisted revenge on them both. And as the curses of incest and abuse play themselves out in the fates of Byron’s daughters, we see their lives assuming the shape of Greek tragedy.

In the meeting of the two women and the consequences of their battle, Crane shows us the Romantic Age in its terrible collision with the new world of the Victorians. The Kindness of Sisters establishes Crane as a biographer of formidable gifts.
 

About David Crane

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Published January 1, 2002 by HarperCollins Publishers. 400 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction, History, Travel, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Kindness of Sisters

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A disappointing biography of the two most significant women in Byron’s life: wife Annabella and half-sister Augusta, who was also his lover.

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The Guardian

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The relationship between Byron's rival women developed after his exile in 1816, when Lady Byron, whose suspicions about the nature of the bond between her husband and Augusta had been stimulated by the malicious gossip of Lady Caroline Lamb, began her life-long campaign of reducing Augusta to a c...

Jan 12 2002 | Read Full Review of The Kindness of Sisters: Anna...

The Guardian

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The Kindness of Sisters: Annabella Milbanke and the Destruction of the Byrons David Crane HarperCollins £19.99, pp280 David Crane's biography of the great poet's wife begins - satisfyingly ghoulishly - in a crypt on the night of 15 June 1938 when a curious vicar decided to open Byron's coffin.

Jan 20 2002 | Read Full Review of The Kindness of Sisters: Anna...

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