'No, they were all wrong about love. Their sort of love destroyed people.'
Retreating from a youth of misplaced passion among the romantic poets, Claire Clairmont has spent the rest of her life in obscurity.
That is until young scholar, Simeon Collings, a scholar, tracks her down in Florence.
He is desperate to get his hands on her memoirs of Byron and Shelley, so he can write a ground-breaking thesis, but Claire will not immediately give him what he wants.
She knows she is close to death, and wants her life story recorded before it is too late.
As Simeon listens on, Claire relives her past, from her youthful days spent with her half-sister Mary Shelley, and eminent father William Godwin, to her infatuation with Percy Bysshe Shelly, and later her affair with Lord Byron.
Claire takes us from the theatrical backstreets of London to Geneva and the birth of Frankenstein.
Those summer months change Claire and Simeon irrevocably, as she makes peace with her demons, and he reinvents his future, learning from the old woman how desire and ambition can indeed destroy...
From the bestselling author of Sister Kate comes this haunting love story, a portrayal of an obsessive life balanced precariously between idealism and despair.
Jean Bedford is an English-born Australian writer who is best known for her crime fiction, but who has also written novels and short stories, as well as nonfiction.
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Used availability for Jean Bedford's If with a Beating Heart
November 1993 : Australia Paperback
December 2015 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition