Enchantress of numbers : a novel of Ada Lovelace / Jennifer Chiaverini.

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    • Edition:
      Large print edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: "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..."--Dust jacket.
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Booklist Reviews 2017 October #2

Known recently for her Civil War–era fiction, Chiaverini (Fates and Traitors, 2016) takes a transatlantic sojourn for this exquisite biographical novel. It's a quintessential example of the form, covering nearly her subject's entire life in an engaging, evenly paced style. Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, was a nineteenth-century English mathematician who is considered an ancestress of the digital age for creating a computing algorithm. Her narration uses an inviting, slightly formal tone that evokes the era. Much attention is given to Ada's youth, describing how her overprotective mother, Annabella, seeks to suppress the "bad Byron blood" Ada inherited from her notorious poet father by upholding logic and discipline while discouraging imaginative thought. As Ada matures and finds mentors in inventor Charles Babbage and mathematician Mary Somerville, her relationship with Annabella (a wonderfully complex character) is shown with nuance. In addition to the well-presented particularities of Ada's life, including many scenes of society gatherings and technological demonstrations, the novel provokes reflection on interpersonal connections and how they shape one's development. Wholeheartedly recommended for historical-fiction fans and STEM enthusiasts. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2017 July #1

Leave it to Chiaverini, the New York Times best-selling author of numerous effective portrayals of historically significant women, to take on the redoubtable Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, Lord Byron's only legitimate child. Trained from the nursery in science and mathematics by her mathematician mother, determined that Ada not follow her father's wild ways, Ada became enthralled with Charles Babbage's calculating machine and is now regarded as the world's first computer programmer. Here she has secrets to learn about her estranged parents, too.

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

LJ Reviews 2017 September #2

The daughter of England's beloved celebrity, Romantic poet Lord Byron, Ada Byron is rigidly protected from anything that might possibly develop imaginative or poetical tendencies passed along to her through her father's tainted Byron blood. No one could have been more determined to keep her out of harm's way than her mother, who left the doomed poet a month after his daughter was born and took their lives into her own capable, if controlling hands. Surrounded by nursemaids and governesses, Ada, whose rebellious nature longs to escape, is permitted one refuge—her study of mathematics, but even in this she is closely monitored to make sure she is not carried away by her enthusiasms. Eventually, with the help of a loving husband, a brilliant female mentor, and a coterie of intellectual friends, Ada finally achieves her goals, going on to develop with Charles Babbage the first computer, though it took the world nearly a century to recognize her achievements. VERDICT After a slow start, Chiaverini (Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker) deftly draws a compelling study of a complicated woman whose relationship with her mother was equally complex. This will appeal to those interested in women in science and the dawn of the Victorian age. [See Prepub Alert, 7/26/17; "Editors' Fall Picks, LJ 9/1/17.]—Cynthia Johnson, formerly with Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA

Copyright 2017 Library Journal.