Shelf Control #339: A Venetian Affair by Andrea di Robilant

Shelves final

Welcome to Shelf Control — an original feature created and hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up! For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out my introductory post, here.

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. See the guidelines at the bottom of the post, and jump on board!

Title: A Venetian Affair
Author: Andrea di Robilant
Published: 2003
Length: 291 pages

What it’s about (synopsis via Goodreads):

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.

How and when I got it:

I picked up a copy at one of our big library sales, probably about 10 years ago.

Why I want to read it:

I barely remember, but this seems like a book that I grabbed on a whim while browsing at the huge annual library sale. The cover and title certainly would have caught my eye!

I don’t read a ton of non-fiction, but there are so many elements of this story that sounds like they’d be fascinating — historical Venice, a secret love affair, a discovered cache of passionate letters — just the synopsis makes me want to know more!

This book has pretty mixed reviews on Goodreads, but some of the reviewers seem to have expected a novel and felt disappointed that this is a non-fiction book. Other reviews are absolutely glowing, so it’s a bit difficult to get a good sense of the book’s overall reception.

I’m interested enough that I’ve held on to this book all these years, but I’ve never quite been in the mood to pick it up and read it.

What do you think? Would you read this book?

Please share your thoughts!


Want to participate in Shelf Control? Here’s how:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments or link back from your own post, so I can add you to the participant list.
  • Check out other posts, and…

Have fun!