Thursday 29th February, 2024  7:00 p.m.

Waterstones, 153-157 Sauchiehall Street Glasgow G2 3EW

Claire Clairmont – the incredible woman that history tried to forget.

But in the year that will mark the 200 year anniversary of Lord Byron’s death, Claire will finally find her voice, and tell her side of the story of that fateful Geneva trip.


They always come back to it, somehow.

They’re the only ones who know what took place there.

1816. A massive volcanic eruption has caused the worst storms that Europe has seen in decades, yet Percy and Mary Shelley have chosen to visit the infamous Lord Byron at his villa on Lake Geneva. It wasn’t their idea: Mary’s eighteen year old step-sister, Claire Clairmont, insisted.

But the reason for Claire’s visit is more pressing than a summer escape with the most famous writers in the world. She’s pregnant with Byron’s child – a child Byron doesn’t want, and scarcely believes is his.

Claire has the world in her grasp. This trip should have given her everything she ever dreamed of. But within days, her life will be in ruins.

History has all but forgotten her story – but she will not be silenced.

‘An absorbing, intoxicating page-turner about a woman who deserves to be remembered.’


Lesley McDowell’s debut novel The Picnic came out in 2007. In 2010 she published Between the Sheets: The Literary Liaisons of Nine 20th-Century Women Writers, which was shortlisted for the non-fiction prize in the 2011 Scottish Book Awards. Her second novel Unfashioned Creatures, about Mary Shelley’s Scottish childhood friend, was published in 2013. Lesley was a literary critic for The Herald, The Scotsman, The Independent, TLS and others. She has a PhD on the work of James Joyce,– Clairmont is her third novel.

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