Lord Byron had three daughters – Ada Lovelace, his daughter by his wife Isabella Milbanke, Allegra Byron by his lover, Claire Clairmont, and Medora by his half-sister, Augusta Leigh. Although Medora took the surname of her mother’s husband, George Leigh, it is commonly believed that Lord Byron was her father.
I am fascinated by the poets Shelley and Byron, not so much by their poetry as by their lives. I enjoy reading anything about the people with whom they were involved, and this biography of Medora Leigh by Catherine Turney added a great deal to my knowledge of the Byron set.
Medora, supposedly the child of incest, led a troubled life. As a teenager she ran away with her older sister’s husband and bore him a child. Medora and the child were supported financially for many years by Annaballa Milbanke, Byron’s former wife and her child Ada Lovelace. She later had an affair with a French officer who abandoned her and the child. She later married the officer’s servant.
Turney offers us a kinder view of Medora, as she is often portrayed as an opportunistic bitch. If you have read nothing about Lord Byron before, this may get you hooked and wanting more details of his, then, scandalous life.