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A Thousand Days In Venice

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When Fernando spots her in a Venice cafe and knows immediately that she is The One, Marlena de Blasi is caught off guard. A divorced American woman travelling through Italy, she thought she was satisfied with her life. Yet within a few months, she quits her job as a chef, sells her house, kisses her two grown-up kids goodbye, and moves to Venice. Once there, she finds herself sitting in sugar-scented pasticcerie, strolling through sixteenth-century palazzi, renovating an apartment overlooking the seductive Adriatic Sea, and preparing to wed a virtual stranger in an ancient stone church. As this transplanted American learns the hard way about the peculiarities of Venetian culture, we are treated to an honest, often comic view of how two middle-aged people, both set in their ways but also set on being together, build a life. A THOUSAND DAYS IN VENICE is filled with the foods and flavours of Italy and peppered with recipes and culinary observations. But the main course here is about a woman who falls in love with both a man and a city, and finally finds the home she didn't know she was missing.
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* Consumer competition to win a weekend in Venice - all copies to be stickered with details * Review and feature coverage anticipated across the national press and women's magazines * Radio reading possible * Extract to appear in You magazine * Submitted for trade promotions * Bound proofs * Headline feature on the Virago website at www.virago.co.uk

About the Author

Marlena de Blasi has been a chef, a journalist, a food and wine consultant and a restaurant critic. The author of two cookbooks, one of which won the James Beard Award, she now directs gastronomic tours through Tuscany and Umbria.


On a visit to Venice, de Blasi meets a local bank manager who falls in love with her at first sight. After "the stranger" (as she coyly calls him throughout the book) pursues her back to her home in St. Louis, Mo., she agrees to return to Italy and marry him, leaving behind her grown children and her job as chef and partner in a cafe. Although the banker, Fernando, lives in a bunkerlike postwar condominium on the Lido rather than the Venetian palazzo of her dreams, and some of his European ideas about women clash with her American temperament, the relationship works. She survives his criticism of her housekeeping and his displeasure at her insistence on remaining a serious cook (in modern Italy "No one bakes bread or dolci or makes pasta at home," he tells her), and they marry. Then one day Fernando surprises her by announcing that he is quitting his job at the bank where he has worked for 26 years. They leave Venice, he espouses her interest in food and they now direct gastronomic tours of Tuscany and Umbria. De Blasi's breathless descriptions of her improbable love affair can be cloying, but she makes up for these excesses with her enchanting accounts of Venice, especially of the markets at the Rialto. She conjures up vivid images of produce "so sumptuously laid as to be awaiting Caravaggio" and picturesque scenes of the vendors, such as the egg lady who keeps her hens under her table, collects the eggs as soon as they are laid and wraps each one in newspaper, "twisting both ends so that the confection looks like a rustic prize for a child's party." In a final section entitled "Food for a Stranger," de Blasi (Regional Foods of Northern Italy) includes recipes for a few of the dishes with which she charmed the stranger. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

'An irresistible grown-up love story' USA TODAY; 'Enchanting' PUBLISHERS WEEKLY; 'Venice is almost synonymous with romance, and in this charming account de Blasi spares no detail in telling us how she fell under its spell' LIBRARY JOURNAL 'A luxurious story of sudden love' KIRKUS REVIEWS

Venice is almost synonymous with romance, and in this charming account de Blasi spares no detail in telling us how she fell under its spell. A journalist, restaurant critic, and food consultant, de Blasi left her home, her grown children, and her job as a chef in St. Louis to marry Fernando, a Venetian she barely knew. In defiance of the cynics who think true love in middle age is crazy, her marriage flourished, as these two strangers made a life together. Food comforted the newlyweds when their conflicting cultures almost divided them, and in the end marital harmony reigns. Is this book a romance, a food guide, or an exhortation for us to come to Venice and experience the magic? Ultimately, it is all three, and there is even an appendix that includes recipes for dishes described in the text. Recommended for larger travel, biography, or cooking collections. Olga B. Wise, Compaq Computer Corp., Austin, TX Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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