Monday, January 22, 2018

Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini

Title: Enchantress of Numbers
Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Pages: 448
Release Date: December 1, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Dutton Books
Format: eBook (also available in hardcover)
Note: I received a free eBook copy of this novel from the publisher and through NetGalley. I have chosen to write this review to express my personal opinion.

About the book:

     New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini illuminates the fascinating life of Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace—Lord Byron’s daughter, the world’s first computer programmer, and a woman whose exceptional contributions to science and technology have been too long unsung.

     The only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the most brilliant, revered, and scandalous of the Romantic poets, Ada was destined for fame long before her birth. Estranged from Ada’s father, who was infamously -mad, bad, and dangerous to know, - Ada’s mathematician mother is determined to save her only child from her perilous Byron heritage. Banishing fairy tales and make-believe from the nursery, Ada’s mother provides her daughter with a rigorous education grounded in mathematics and science. Any troubling spark of imagination—or worse yet, passion or poetry—is promptly extinguished. Or so her mother believes.

     When Ada is introduced into London society as a highly eligible young heiress, she at last discovers the intellectual and social circles she has craved all her life. Little does she realize that her delightful new friendship with inventor Charles Babbage—brilliant, charming, and occasionally curmudgeonly—will shape her destiny. Intrigued by the prototype of his first calculating machine, the Difference Engine, and enthralled by the plans for his even more advanced Analytical Engine, Ada resolves to help Babbage realize his extraordinary vision, unique in her understanding of how his invention could transform the world. All the while, she passionately studies mathematics—ignoring skeptics who consider it an unusual, even unhealthy pursuit for a woman—falls in love, discovers the shocking secrets behind her parents’ estrangement, and comes to terms with the uniquenchable fire of her imagination.

     In Enchantress of Numbers, New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini unveils the passions, dreams, and insatiable thirst for knowledge of a largely unheralded pioneer in computing—a young woman who stepped out of her father’s shadow to achieve her own laurels and champion the new technology that would shape the future.

My review:

     An absolutely FANTASTIC historical novel!

     My attention was captured by two things when I chose to read this book. The first is the author. I have read some of her contemporary books and enjoyed them. The second was the claim that Ada Lovelace was the world’s first computer programmer. I have loved computers for many years. Right out of high school I joined the Air Force and became a computer operator.

     When the book began I had doubts as to whether I would like it or not. I’m not big on reading non-fiction and from the very beginning the style of writing clearly points to being written as an autobiography would be. Much to my surprise I was completely captivated by the story.

     I found myself drawn in by Ada and the heartache she bore throughout her life. I kept hoping and praying that good things would come and she would find happiness. There were joys and happy instances sprinkled here and there which were like bright rays of sunshine.

     I was fascinated to read about the friendships that she developed as an young woman. Their interactions were very compelling to read. 

     As with most stories of actual historical figures we see much of the sinful nature and dark sides of individuals. Please be aware of that and let yourself get bogged down by it.

     I have to highly recommend this wonderful book. I have never been so entranced by a book written in the first person perspective. I am giving this book a rating of 5 stars.

Disclaimer: *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*

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