Book Reviews of Forever Amber

Forever Amber
Forever Amber
Author: Kathleen Winsor
ISBN-13: 9780345379412
ISBN-10: 0345379411
Publication Date: 2/10/1993
Pages: 820
Edition: Reprint
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 14 ratings
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

15 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Forever Amber on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Grandmother of all historical romances, 'Forever Amber' is an epic romance cut from the same cloth as 'Gone With the Wind.'
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Helpful Score: 4
Had me intrigued the entire time. Couldn't wait to find out what Amber St. Clare was going to get herself into next.
reviewed Forever Amber on
Helpful Score: 3
If you like thick, historcal books, this is one that will keep you occupied for a good while.
reviewed Forever Amber on + 270 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Wonderful book about a woman named Amber who just can't seem to get what she wants out of life. They follow her story through several years. Took me quite awhile to read as it is very thick and the detail is supberb. Highly recommended!
reviewed Forever Amber on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Great historical romance! The twist on this for me, and I think a lot of people, is that the main character is not necessarily likable. You may respect her for certain reasons and find yourself rooting for her at times, but she isn't the nicest person. Good (long) read that begs for a sequel, but I doubt we're going to get one! Definitely recommended for HF lovers - especially if you're interested in the Restoration period and King Charles II.
reviewed Forever Amber on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Excellent book that is really more of a historic novel than a romance. Winsor writes rich details that really make you feel that you are a part of the period of restoration England and I also learned quite a few things that I did not know from this novel. I now know all about beauty patches and vizard masks! This book follows ten years in the life of Amber Saint Clair as she goes from being a nobody country girl to the courts of King Charles II as one of his favored mistresses. This is a book that you will enjoy and like while not liking any of the main characters. My only complaint with it is it seemed to end quite abruptly and without a definitive end but then I guess life is also quite like that.
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Helpful Score: 1
The story of a pregnant, penniless, 16-year old's survival in Restoration England.
reviewed Forever Amber on
Helpful Score: 1
This was one of the first "big" novels I ever read, and I loved it! I still re-read it every couple of years and it still engrosses me. I love the research and detail that was put into this book. First rate in my opinion!
reviewed Forever Amber on + 23 more book reviews
THE unforgettable tale of Amber, the Restoration England equivalent of Scarlett O'Hara. Amber, unknowingly of noble birth, must work her way from the London stage to King Charles II's bed if she is to rise in fame and fortune. Romance, tragedy, and triumph intertwine in one of the most scandalous reads of the 1940s.
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This book was considered scandalous when I read it at 15 years old. My Dad caught me reading it and I was grounded for a week. I recently ordered the book to see if it was worth the punishment and I am happy to say it was. Compared to the descriptions of sexual activity by todays authors this book is almost innocent. I loved the book. I couldn't put it down. It has the scope of a "Gone With the Wind" and I have never read a better description of the morally corrupt court of Charles II, the "Merry Monarch". Now I know why he was so "merry". Amber is a girl who always lands on her feet in this scandalous world of the "Restoration" and eventtually becomes one of the King's mistresses. In spite of all of her scandalous affairs she always longs for the one man whe can't conquer. The ending is wonderful. I read it three times I enjoyed it so much. The period of the book covers the great London plague, the great London fire, and the colonial development of the American colonies. This is not a "Romance" novel. It is a history novel and the period has never been better described. I am now 80 years old and a retired World History teacher. Genny
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I had high hopes for this classic, but was disappointed. It is a well written piece of work, just a sad a depressing tale of a young girl who try's everything to fill the whole in her heart and destroys herself instead.
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I thoroughly loved this book! My emotions ran the gamut, one minute I sympathized with Amber the next I wanted to yell at her. The story takes so many twists and turns, its anything but predictable. I read through it in just a few days, much to my husbands protest. This book is a must read for any historical novel fan.
reviewed Forever Amber on + 6 more book reviews
This is a great classic. Written back in the day that authors were paid by the word, so it is a bit long, but a great read. A story about a girl that has nothing, raises to fame, but does she get what she wants and what will really make her happy.
reviewed Forever Amber on + 20 more book reviews
Surprisingly this book was banned when it was released so I decided to pick it up to see why it was banned. Fabulous read, still unsure why it was banned.
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(4 stars) While it's certainly not a "bodice ripper" in the modern sense, Winsor certainly laid the groundwork for the genre with her novel of the multiple amorous and mercenary adventures of one Amber St. Clare Channell Dangerfield Radclyffe Stanhope. Lots of thrusting, pointed and pert breasts, lots of hard, bronzed muscled skin, lots of eyes filled with passionate anger and angry passion. You know what I'm talking about. The devouring, hungry kisses and languid afterglows are all here without the modern intrusion of leaky body parts, swabbing tongues, and climaxes filled with fireworks.

This is a book that deserves its reputation as trash literature. It was a page-turner, the prose for the most part unremarkable, simplistic and easy to digest. The characters had very little development, even the historical figures. Amber herself goes through trials and dangers that would fill multiple lifetimes for ordinary mortals, but she is very nearly the same person on the last page as she is on the first. She forgets, puts things out of her mind, is diverted from any learning experiences by some fit of emotion, usually having to do with her marital Moby Dick, Bruce Carlton. For a three-dimensional portrait of a country girl who scrabbles her way to the top of the whore heap, look elsewhere.

By the beginning of Part 5, her amusing factor had worn off and I was itching for her to develop another dimension (which she never did). She was deliberately clueless, and I have to ding the book a star because it started to drag on that count. The scene where Amber goes to a ball in a dress meant to wow everyone and ensnare Bruce in her arms once again fell pretty flat for me, in no small part to the character of Almsbury who forces a suddenly ashamed Amber to stay and dance in a scene that immediately recalled Bette Davis and Henry Fonda in "Jezebel." Does Amber learn from this court humiliation? Hah! Nice one. She has one more desperate and humiliating ploy in store to win Lord Carlton, almost on the very last page. The title is very appropriate, for Amber is certainly forever pummeling away at what she cannot change, all the while never herself changing.

After Amber's novelty wore off, I enjoyed far more the scenes in Charles' court with Frances Stewart, Barbara Palmer, George Villiers, and the clawing intrigues where Amber and Bruce were not present. At first I thought these two separate narratives were oddly alternated, but I started to find a connection between the two. The royal sphere and Amber's own gauche one were both rotten and unlikable in their own ways. However, I preferred the Charles-centric chapters best. Maybe it was just the obligatory spaniels.

The costume and furnishings porn became overbearing after awhile, once Winsor had completely evoked the sights, smells, fashions and decor of the era. Like a store-bought cake with lots of rosettes and ribbons that make the frosting a mile-high in places, the obligatory paragraphs of clothes and room interiors started to give me a gluttonous stomachache.

I appreciate Winsor's research (the plague portion rightly deserves its fame), and it did much to make the book worth the read, but I am quite glad there was no sequel. Unless Winsor's ability to create rounded characters had improved, I have a feeling that "Amber In America" would have been a second verse, same as the first.