|Review by: Moira Richards||
By Nicole Conn
Nicole Conn is a prolific writer of novels and screenplays; she has been recognized for the films that she has made, and She Walks in Beauty was nominated for the Ferro-Grumley Award for excellence in gay and lesbian fiction. Her books as well as videos of her movies are available from The Naiad Press.
Lord Byron, genius poet, was rich and devastatingly handsome, but he had a deformed foot about which he was very self-conscious. He lived hard, fast and wantonly, and he died before his fortieth year, but he left behind him his timeless Romantic poetry that is still enjoyed some two hundred years after it was written.
Spencer Atwood (the protagonist of Conn's novel) is an unabashed and self-proclaimed devotee of the romantic. She cut her teeth on the sweeping, swelling and heart-rending romantics of old black and white movies. She writes with the motto, "Write the book that you want to read" taped to her laptop, but somewhere along the road to fame and fortune, she loses sight of this goal and she loses sight too, of her soul. This novel chronicles her life and the childhood that nurtured her and also almost destroyed her.
Atwood's novel tells how she winches herself out of these beginnings into an adulthood of her own making -- and it follows her Byron-like path as she too burns up her life. Lord Byron was described by Lady Caroline Lamb as "Mad-bad-and dangerous to know" and any one of Spencer Atwood's lady lovers might have said the same of her too. Byron-like, Spencer attempts, at last, to redeem her life through her writing, creating a striking lesbian poet who takes Byron's name for her own, and who lives a life of passion in Europe, one hundred years after Lord Byron died there. The lives of Spencer Atwood and her creation, Byron Harrington, are plaited together through this book. Their stories are of love and betrayal, reconciliation and sweet revenge, and they are gilded with lines from some of Lord Byron's most passionate love poems.
There is enough high Romance in She Walks in Beauty to satisfy the most red-blooded of fans!