Costanza Safamita, beloved daughter of Baron Domenico Safamita, is a precious but unusual child. Red-haired, gawky and shy, she is considered an outsider by many on the family estate, but her adoring father makes her sole heir to the Safamita fortune - and then everything changes. Now she must conquer glittering, alien Palermo where, uncertain of her future, she falls in love with a charming, dissolute young marchese whose sexual appetite she fears she cannot satiate. The Marchesa's brave, unusual story offers an unprecedented woman's perspective on the incestuous hypocrisy of Sicilian aristocracy during a dramatic time in history. The Bourbon monarchy collapsed, the Mafia rose to power, and Palermo's decadent aristocracy began its inevitable decline. These themes are flawlessly woven into the fabric of Costanza's triumphant life, so that "The Marchesa" becomes not only an unforgettable human tale but a masterly fresco of a vanished world.
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`Gripping, impressive . . . inviting speedy consumption' -- TLS
'An intimate portrait of the dying days of feudalism' -- Independent
'Voluptuously enjoyable . . . The novel's luscious imagery, emphasis on family mythology and constantly changing passions all make for an entertaining read' -- Saturday Guardian
`Excellent, atmospheric . . . A charming, perceptive tragicomedy' -- Guardian
Simonetta Agnello Hornby was born in Palermo, Sicily, and has lived in London for thirty years, where she works as a lawyer for children. Her first novel, The Almond Picker, was a bestseller in Italy and has been published in twelve languages.
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