Amber St. Clare uses womanly trickery, intelligence and allure to climb her way out of the slums of 17th century London to the superior place as King Charles II preferred mistress. Amber’s individual drama takes place in the middle of the political stratagem of Restoration England. Detail is not spared in this 976 page novel. Kathleen Winsor’s panicked depiction of the Great Fire of London creates such a realistic representation the reader can swear they smell smoke. In contrast, the fashion and customs of 17th century London are dramatic and prolific. Character development is not lost in all the period detail. Winsor’s main character, Amber St. Clare, has been described as a latter-day Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind and Amber’s desire and drive to improve their station in life is definitely similar.
Forever Amber was written in 1944 and its publication caused much controversy. Fourteen states and the Catholic Church actually banned the book. Nonetheless, it sold over 100,000 copies in its first week of release and became the best selling U.S. novel of the 1940’s. By today’s standards, Forever Amber could be described as romantically sensual but certainly not sexually explicit.