Winsor’s book takes place during the Restoration — when Charles II was returned to the crown in the 1660s– and begins with Amber running away from home with Bruce, a Lord traveling through the countryside towards London to see the restoration of the King. But when she discovers she is pregnant, Bruce runs off to America and leaves Amber pregnant and alone.
As the story progresses, Amber’s liaisons help her gain wealth and titles as well as several children. Eventually, she becomes the king’s mistress and mother to his son (which was just one of several issues), but she still carries a torch for Bruce and his return to England challenges the life she has built for herself.
Boston banned this book when it was first published, but that is where I purchased it five or six years ago and promptly gave up reading the novel. I’ve been reading this book in spurts since August, and it’s taken me this long to slog through nearly a thousand pages.
It’s not the subject matter that bothered me; Amber’s sexual liaisons are written so that the reader can use their imagination or not. It’s just that the novel lacks character development with a barely believable story line, and the story isn’t the slightest bit romantic. Amber is childish, selfish, and spoiled and uses her natural beauty and sexuality to get what she wants throughout the entire book. She never learns! And while I can read long novels with unlikeable characters (Scarlett O’Hara, anyone?), there must be something more than sheer will to finish that encourages me to read the novel cover to cover. There’s just no point to this novel.
- Winsor, Kathleen. Forever Amber. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press, 2000. Originally published 1944. Print. 972 pgs. ISBN: 9781556524042. Source: Purchased.