The Remedy: A Novel

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9780060837037: The Remedy: A Novel

I was an unwilling nun, bundled into the convent by a family that had briefly lost its head . . .

The nuns caught me early by my sweet tooth, hanging sugared almonds, balsamic lozenges, and candied fruit in the humid swoop of the orchard branches whenever we went . . .

I married Christ in a delirium spun of sweetened wine. I was only bitter later, when I saw little girls dreambound in the smell of almonds and burnt sugar in the orchard. For by then of course I knew full well . . . that God did not make such trees.

So begins The Remedy, a lush and riveting new work of historical fiction by the author of the The Floating Book.

Set against the vivid, haunting backdrops of eighteenth-century Venice and London, The Remedy weaves together the stories of three mesmerizing characters: Venetian actress Mimosina Dolcezza -- snatched from a convent as a young woman, employed as an actress and agente provocatrice by powerful and shadowy European power brokers; the dark prince of London's medical underworld, the roguish Valentine Greatrakes; and the strange, peevish child-woman Pevenche, whose fate and identity are at the heart of the book's mystery. The love affair between Mimosina and Valentine begins in the wake of a murder and tumbles forward based on dangerous secrets and elaborate lies. As the lovers unravel the tangled truths of each other's pasts, The Remedy lures us along a path from the dank environs of London's Bankside to the vibrant streets of Venice, through playhouses and brothels, convents and crypts, with a sensual eye for detail that breathes heady, intoxicating life into the era.

Long-listed for the prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction, The Remedy is scholarly, seductive, and teeming with Rabelaisian characters -- a gorgeous novel that will keep the reader aching with suspense and haunted long after the final page is turned.

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About the Author:

Michelle Lovric is the winner of the London Arts Writer's Award, the editor of the New York Times bestseller Love Letters, and the author of the widely acclaimed novel The Floating Book. She divides her time between Venice and London, where she lives in a Venetian-style setting on the Thames near Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

From Publishers Weekly:

Set in London and Venice during the late 18th century, Lovric's labyrinthine, grandly imagined second novel (after The Floating City) follows the dramatic vicissitudes of the love affair between the Venetian actress Mimosina Dolcezza and the Irish-born Valentine Greatrakes. The narrative opens with the first-person tale of a lovely, tempestuous aristocratic girl's banishment to a Venetian convent, where her rebellious nature doesn't endear her to the holy sisters. They prostitute her to an Englishman, who impregnates and abandons her. After her baby dies in childbirth, she attempts escape, which only lands her in the clutches of a shadowy group of men: the Council of 10 and the Inquisitors of Venice. They train the young blue blood as an actress-spy and rename her Mimosina Dolcezza. Charged to seduce men of state and extract their secrets, Mimosina spends the next 16 years "warming political beds" across Europe, a career that becomes all the more unbearable when she meets her true love, Valentine Greatrakes, the handsome kingpin of London's medical black-market. Their stories alternate throughout the novel, as Lovric details in titillating but fresh, graceful prose the blossoming and sundering of their love, followed by their difficult journeys toward reunion and a final miraculous revelation. (Nov.)
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