Lately I’ve been pondering, who is my novel really about? I thought it was about Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter. But conflicted Ada is only a player for the final half of the book. How about the petulant genius himself, George Gordon Byron? Nope, he exits the visible stage in the first fifty pages and dies in Italy a third of the way through. His sister Augusta? No again. Although her affair with her half-brother certainly titillates, she’s a manipulated character, not strong enough to carry a novel.
That leaves me with the god-fearing scientist, Annabella Byron. The woman willing to club the world into goodness.The slandered wife who holds her sharp tongue until Byron attacks her parents. The mother who only cried once, at the news of her ex-husband’s death. And, conveniently, the matron who survived them all.
In parallel with my realization that Annabella is my protagonist, I’ve noticed a spate of books about famous men’s wives. When I’m not reading and critiquing a book-a-week for school, I’ll explore novels and selected non-fiction about famous men’s wives. Here’s my early short list:
- Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
- The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel (Charles Lindbergh)
- The Paris Wife: A Novel (Ernest Hemingway)
- The Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story(Non-fiction)
- The Wives: The Women Behind Russia’s Literary Giants(Non-fiction)
- Polar Wives: The Remarkable Women behind the World’s Most Daring Explorers(Non-fiction)
Lady at the O.K. Corral: The True Story of Josephine Marcus Earp AKA Mrs.Wyatt Earp reviewed in the NY Times June 2, 2013.
Please add your recommendations in the comments below. Many thanks!