Pickles09 (pickles09) wrote in worldlit,

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#47-52 Goal met. :) Reaching for 70 now!

47. A Venetian Affair by Andrea di Robilant           Country: Italy

Two lovers with extraordinary lives…

What if your father brought home some letters found in your ancestral palazzo in Italy that seemed to reveal a forbidden love affair? Would you tuck the letters away without a second thought? Or, like the author of this amazing book, would you decide to research the story further and write a book about lovers’ lives? If this sounds like the foundation of a great story, you should definitely pick up this book. The author is related to Andrea Memmo, a son of a prominent ancient Venetian family who fell deeply in love with Giustiniana Wynne, the illegitimate daughter of a British father and a Venetian mother. The letters in the author’s possession, as well as other letters and articles he was able to view, help create the framework of Andrea and Giustiniana’s 18th-century meeting at the home of a mutual friend and the long love affair that followed. Separately their lives would be interesting enough, with friends like Casanova popping up and trips all over Europe. Combined together, their quest to be together is a riveting read. Andrea and Giustiniana’s adventures take you into the final days of the great Venetian society of the past. 3/5

48. The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier           Country: France

Many stories woven together by one common thread…

After reading “Girl with a Pearl Earring” last year and loving it, I decided I should check out more of the author’s vivid writing style. This novel did not disappoint. Much like “Girl…” the book revolves around the creation of a great work of art, this time the famous Lady and the Unicorn cycle tapestries. (Which my copy of the book only had small cutouts in the front cover in which to view tapestries.) The rotating viewpoints (which I loved and wished they had touched on a few other characters as well) tell the story of Nicolas des Innocents who has been commissioned by the Parisian nobleman Jean Le Viste to design a series of large tapestries for his great hall. Nicolas ends up falling for Le Viste’s young daughter, which only causes more problems. We follow the tapestries and the fascinating stories of the people creating them from Paris to Brussels and back. Good historical fiction recommendation. 3/5

49. The Great God Pan by Donna Jo Napoli     Country: Ancient Greece

Expected better but mildly interesting…

I’ve read some of the author’s other retellings and was a bit disappointed with this one. We meet Pan, the half goat/half god who basically flits around the woods with other mythical creatures all day. It isn’t until he meets Iphigenia and falls in love with her that his life really seems to have a purpose. People with any background in Greek mythology know that Pan had a curse placed on him upon birth that he will never be loved in return. His quest to find Iphigenia again then seems a bit fruitless to the reader, but what we don’t realize is that he may be able to save her from her father’s mission to sacrifice her. This book needed more detail. I felt it was lacking in some other areas as well, as the plot meandered quite a bit. I did like how the author included a family tree at the beginning so we understood how everyone was related however. 2/5

50. Inside the Walls of Troy by Clemence McLaren    Country: Ancient Greece

Good ideas, not the best execution…

We’ve heard the male version of the Trojan War for centuries. What about the women involved? How did Helen feel? What would it have been like to be Cassandra and have to watch your brothers head off into battle? The author takes you there. While personally I believe she could have included even more viewpoints of other women, and switched back and forth between Helen and Cassandra, the author opted to start with Helen’s life as a child and switch to Cassandra’s viewpoint after Helen arrives in Troy. While many would think this would make the book a bit unbalanced, it actually works quite well, as we see Cassandra’s feelings towards Helen greatly change over the many years Troy is under siege. Overall, a pretty enjoyable read. 3/5  


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