Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napleon

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9781400095117: Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napleon
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In 1787, the beautiful Lucia is married off to Alvise Mocenigo, scion of one of the most powerful Venetian families. But their life as a golden couple will be suddenly transformed when Venice falls to Bonaparte. We witness Lucia's painful series of miscarriages and the pressure on her to produce an heir; her impassioned affair with an Austrian officer; the glamour and strain of her career as a hostess in Vienna; and her amazing firsthand account of the defeat of Napoleon in 1814. With his brave and articulate heroine, Andrea di Robilant has once again reached across the centuries, and deep into his own past, to bring history to rich and vivid life on the page.

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Q&A with Andrea di Robilant

Q. A discovery of letters between a young beauty, Giustiniana Wynne, and your ancestor, the Venetian nobleman Andrea Memmo, inspired your first work, A Venetian Affair. What lead to the discovery of Lucia’s letters and what inspired you to tell her story in your new book, Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon?

It was only after finishing A Venetian Affair that I realized there was another box of letters among my father's papers which I had not yet opened. They turned out to be by Andrea Memmo's daughter, Lucia, to her future husband, Alvise Mocenigo. These letters, written when Lucia was only sixteen, were so vivid and immediate and provided such a fascinating insight into the complex negotiations leading to an arranged marriage in Venice in the late 18th century, that they seemed to be the perfect starting point for a narrative on that period. In the course of researching Lucia's life I was lucky to find several more collections of her correspondence in the archives in Venice and other cities of northern Italy, which, taken together, covered her entire life time. The sheer quality of her correspondence throughout her life--her observations, her descriptions, her wonderful habit of transcribing dialogues, the precise information about her personal life and the world around her--compelled me to write her story.

Q. How did the experience of writing Lucia differ from that of A Venetian Affair?

In writing A Venetian Affair I was entirely absorbed by the intensity of the love story between Andrea and Giustiniana. Lucia, instead, is more like a rich family saga. Whereas I had something of a crush on Giustiniana, the relationship I developed with Lucia was at once deeper and more complex. I grew to love and admire her. She was a strong, courageous, passionate woman. But she also irritated me at times, and disappointed me and even exasperated me.

Q. Who was Colonel Plunkett and what role did he play in Lucia's life?

After the fall of the Venetian Republic, Colonel Plunkett, a dashing officer with the occupying Austrian troops, became Lucia's secret lover. He fathered her only surviving child, Alvisetto, before being killed in action while fighting the French in Switzerland. All traces of this love affair were carefully erased by Lucia. Alvisetto was passed off as Alvise's son, thereby ensuring the survival of the Mocenigo line.

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About the Author:

Andrea Di Robilant was born in Italy and educated at Le Rosey and Columbia University, where he specialized in international affairs. His first book, A Venetian Affair, was published by Knopf in 2003. He currently lives in Rome with his wife and two children and works for the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781400044139: Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1400044138 ISBN 13:  9781400044139
Publisher: Knopf, 2008
Hardcover

9780571233175: Lucia in the Age of Napoleon

Faber ..., 2007
Hardcover

9780571233168: Lucia in the Age of Napoleon

Faber ..., 2008
Softcover

9780571233182: Lucia in the Age of Napoleon

FABER, 2007
Softcover

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