Book Suggestion: Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon

Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon by Andrea Di Robilant

An intriguingly personal look at an extraordinary chapter in European history, Lucia is Andrea Di Robilant's vivid account of the life of his great-great-great-great-grandmother, Lucia Mocenigo (1771-1854). Based on detailed letters to her sister, together with other primary sources, this chronicle opens with the sixteen-year-old's arranged marriage to a prominent Venetian diplomat. Expectations of a prosperous life in the aristocracy were thwarted when Venice fell to Napoleon in 1796. In the ensuing tumultuous years, Lucia and her husband struggled to maintain political and social influence, and traveled extensively throughout the continent. She mingled with Hapsburg royalty in Vienna, developed a close friendship with Empress Josephine Bonaparte, and rented her home to Lord Byron. Living in Paris in 1814, she penned an eloquent account of Napoleon's abdication and subsequent exile. These remarkable firsthand depictions of prominent events and people, alongside intimate details of Lucia's life—her deeply troubled marriage, her difficulty in conceiving an heir, her passionate affair with an Austrian officer—make her story absolutely enthralling.

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