Dear Reader, Love, Marty Ambrose

Dear Reader…


I’m so delighted that you’ve chosen to read my new book, Claire’s Last Secret.  This novel is truly the book of my heart, inspired by my life-long interest in the Byron/Shelley circle.  It is also the culmination of an amazing creative journey (both real-world and imaginary) for me. 

First of all, I wanted to share what inspired me to write this work:  I had one of those “ah-hah” moments when it seemed everything in my life was shifting and changing—and I realized that I wanted to go into a new direction with my writing, as well. 

It was a scary and exciting time.

Then, I happened to pick up Daisy Hay’s book, The Young Romantics, and learned that she had found a fragment of Claire Clairmont’s (Mary Shelley’s stepsister) journal saying that the famous Byron/Shelley summer of “free love” in 1816 had created a “perfect hell” for her. Of course, Claire wrote those words when she was almost eighty, impoverished, living in Florence, Italy, having outlived the two great poets and Mary by many decades.  Intrigued, I wondered what it would feel like to outlive everyone who had been part of one’s youth.  As the lone remaining figure of that famous quartet, she’d been left behind. 

In that moment, I bonded with Claire and decided to tell her story, but as a fictional memoir.  I had the germ of my story idea.

As I delved into Claire’s life, more pieces of a novel began to coalesce in my mind:  her illicit love for Byron, her rocky relationship with Mary and Shelley, and her later years in Italy—and I knew I had to tell her story from two perspectives:  the young, reckless Claire and the older-but-wiser Claire.  Then, there was the mystery of her lost daughter with Byron.  Her lovers.  Her passion for life.  It all came together into the kind of genre-bending novel that I’ve always wanted to create.

As I started writing the book, I applied for a grant, traveled to Geneva and Florence with my hubby to research the book—the end result was Claire’s Last Secret.

I’m so excited to share my historical mystery with you and hope you bond with Claire, as I did.  Enjoy, my friends!


Marty Ambrose

Find out more about CLAIRE'S LAST SECRET on Amazon!



Marty Ambrose has been a writer most of her life, consumed with the world of literature whether teaching English at Florida Southwestern State College or creating her own fiction.  Her writing career has spanned almost fifteen years, with eight published novels for Avalon Books, Kensington Books, Thomas & Mercer—and, now, Severn House.

Two years ago, Marty had the opportunity to apply for a grant that took her to Geneva and Florence to research a new creative direction that builds on her interest in the Romantic poets:  historical fiction.  Her new book,Claire’s Last Secret, combines memoir and mystery in a genre-bending narrative of the Byron/Shelley “haunted summer,” with Claire Clairmont, as the protagonist/sleuth—the “almost famous” member of the group.  The novel spans two eras played out against the backdrop of nineteenth-century Italy and is the first of a trilogy.   

Marty lives on an island in Southwest Florida with her husband, former news-anchor, Jim McLaughlin.  They are planning a three-week trip to Italy this fall to attend a book festival and research the second book, A Shadowed Fate.  Luckily, Jim is fluent in Italian and shares her love of history and literature.  Their German shepherd, Mango, has to stay home.

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