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A Venetian Affair

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The true story of forbidden love in eighteenth-century Venice between an Italian noble and the brilliant, illegitimate daughter of an English baronet. In 1754 Andrea Memmo, the dashing and gifted scion of a distinguished catholic family, fell in love with illegitimate English beauty, Giustiniana Wynne. This match went against every convention of their day; it was an 'impossible love'. The lovers chased each other through peeling palazzos, ballrooms, salons, theatres and gambling dens, rubbing shoulders with legendary figures such as Canaletto and their friend, Casanova. Increasingly desperate, they decided Giustiniana should marry to conceal their relationship. A summer passed in flirting with the English Consul, Joseph Smith, but he soon saw through the deception and the affair became public. The consequences were disastrous. Casanova was imprisoned for his 'pernicious' influence. Disgraced, Giustiniana left for Paris, where she launched herself into society in the hunt for a new husband. Her love for Memmo had lingering consequences that were to break this match, and she left again for London, hoping to build a new life, but a different fate lay in store! Andrea di Robilant is Andrea Memmo's great great great grandson. The idea to write A Venetian Affair was planted when his father discovered Andrea's letters to Giustiniana mouldering in the attic of the family's crumbling Venetian palazzo. His father's violent murder inspired di Robilant to fulfil his father's dream to write about the lovers, and this fascinating, romantic tale is the result of di Robilant's dedication and passion.
Product Details

Promotional Information

Key title The true story of forbidden love in eighteenth-century Venice between an Italian noble and the brilliant, illegitimate daughter of an English baronet. A fascinating and romantic true love story Received fantastic review coverage in hardback. Published just in time for Valentine's Day, this will be the perfect lover's gift. Includes illuminating PS section with an author profile, an exclusive essay on the book and much more. Competition: Stella Tillyard Amanda Foreman

About the Author

Andrea di Robilant lives in Rome and writes for La Stampa. He is Andrea Memmo's great great great great grandson.


'A sensitive reading of an enthralling love story ... The sense of Andrea di Robilant's affectionate commitment to his father's subject adds indefinable poignancy to his evocation of an impossible relationship.' Daily Telegraph 'Supple and elegant a stylist as he is, Robilant never allows his own enjoyment in unfolding this long-hidden narrative to upstage the raw drama of the correspondence forming its backbone ... The whole passionate correspondence, to which A Venetian Affair presents such a finely balanced introduction, is a thrilling addition to the corpus of eighteenth-century letter writing.' TLS 'Set against the backdrop of a glittering city sloping towards collapse and the debauched courts of Europe, with cameo appearances by characters such as Casanova, A Venetian Affair has all the compelling, over-the-top inevitability of opera.' Daily Mail 'A sad, enthralling book ... Fascinating.' Sunday Times

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