In the waning days of Venice’s glory in the mid-1700s, Andrea Memmo was scion to one the city’s oldest patrician families. At the age of twenty-four he fell passionately in love with sixteen-year-old Giustiniana Wynne, the beautiful, illegitimate daughter of a Venetian mother and British father. Because of their dramatically different positions in society, they could not marry. And Giustiniana’s mother, afraid that an affair would ruin her daughter’s chances to form a more suitable union, forbade them to see each other. Her prohibition only fueled their desire and so began their torrid, secret seven-year-affair, enlisting the aid of a few intimates and servants (willing to risk their own positions) to shuttle love letters back and forth and to help facilitate their clandestine meetings. Eventually, Giustiniana found herself pregnant and she turned for help to the infamous Casanova–himself infatuated with her.
Two and half centuries later, the unbelievable story of this star-crossed couple is told in a breathtaking narrative, re-created in part from the passionate, clandestine letters Andrea and Giustiniana wrote to each other.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: A Venetian Affair: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in the 18th Century|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House, Inc.|
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A Venetian Affair: A True Tale of Forbidden Love in the 18th Century
Chapter OneEarly in the evening Andrea caught up with Giustiniana at the theater. She was radiant in her brocaded evening cape, and the anxious way she was looking around for him made her seem lovelier than ever. She smiled as she saw him, and they exchanged a few signals from a safe distance, apparently without raising Mrs. Anna's suspicions. After the play, Andrea followed mother and daughter to the Ridotto, keeping close to the walls of the narrow streets and casting nervous glances ahead. In the gambling halls, among the late-night crowd of masked men and women hovering around the faro tables, he had a much harder time avoiding Mrs. Anna as she flitted in and out of the shadows in the candlelit rooms. He was terrified she might suddenly come upon him and make a horrible scene. Unnerved by all the difficulties, he finally gave up and went home without having had his cherished moment alone with Giustiniana.
That night he hardly slept, shifting restlessly in his bed, wondering if he had abandoned the Ridotto too abruptly and not made it sufficiently clear to Giustiniana why he was leaving the scene. The next morning he rose early and wrote to her at once:
I am very anxious to know whether your mother noticed anything last night-any act of imprudence on my part-and if you yourself were satisfied or had reason to be cross. Everything is so uncertain. At the theater things didn't go badly, but at the Ridotto-I don't know how it all ended at the Ridotto. As long as I was in your mother's range I tried to conceal myself-as you probably saw. And rest assured that when I did not show myself to you it was because Mrs. Anna wa...