|Andrea di Robilant|
|Pages/Publication Date:||336 / 2007|
|Publisher:||Faber & Faber|
From the author of A Venetian Affair comes this vivid and dramatic story of the fall of Venice and the rise of a new age during the tumultuous Napoleonic period, as seen through the eyes of his great-great-great-great-grandmother. Lucia, the beautiful 16-year-old daughter of a prominent Venetian statesman, is married off to Alvise Mocenigo, scion of one of the most powerful Venetian families, in 1787. But their life as a golden couple is completely transformed when Venice falls to Bonaparte.
"Drawing on the letters of his great-great-great-great-grandmother Lucia Mocenigo, a Venetian aristocrat, [Andrea] di Robilant paints a vivacious picture of the Napoleonic age. The fifteen-year-old Lucia's correspondence with her new fiancé, the nobleman Alvise Mocenigo, includes a glissando from formality to rapture that gives an idea of the narrative's pitch: 'My most esteemed spouse, my good father having informed me of your favorable disposition towards me, and having told me of your worthy qualities ... I felt such agitation in my heart that for a brief moment I even lost consciousness.' Over the years, as Lucia traveled throughout Europe, this girlish enthusiasm was whittled away by a selfish, neglectful, and manipulative husband; on discovering, after Alvise's death, letters from an impressive array of lovers, she filed them alphabetically by author. Back in Venice, living in an apartment where, she complained, rats were her only reliable company, Lucia became Byron's landlady."—The New Yorker