Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
The Rome Affair
The Rome Affair
RRP $34.99, Pan Books Trade Paperback
The glamorous capital city of
Italy is brought to startling life in The Rome Affair, a compelling novel by
1974 and Elena Damiani lives a
gilded life. Born to wealth and a noted beauty, no door is closed to her, no
man can resist her. At twenty-six, she is already onto her third husband when
she meets her love match. But he is the one man she can never have, and all the
beauty and money in the world can't change it.
2017 and Francesca Hackett is
living la dolce vita in Rome, leading tourist groups around the Eternal City
and forgetting the ghosts she left behind in London. When she finds a stolen
designer handbag in her dustbin and returns it, she is brought into the orbit of
her grand neighbour who lives across the piazza – famed socialite Viscontessa Elena
dei Damiani Pignatelli della Mirandola. Though the purse is stolen, Elena
greets the return of the bag with exultation for it contains an unopened letter
written by her husband on his deathbed, twelve years earlier.
Mutually intrigued by each other,
the two women agree to collaborate on a project, with Cesca interviewing Elena
for her memoirs. As summer unfurls, Elena tells her sensational stories,
leaving Cesca in her thrall. But when a priceless diamond ring found in an
ancient tunnel below the city streets is ascribed to Elena, Cesca begins to
suspect a shocking secret at the heart of Elena's life.
Karen Swan began her career in
fashion journalism before giving it all up to raise her three children and a
puppy, and to pursue her ambition of becoming a writer. She lives in the forest
in Sussex, writing her books in a treehouse overlooking the Downs. Her books
include Christmas at Tiffany's, Summer at
Tiffany's, The Perfect Present, Christmas on Primrose Hill, Christmas Under the
Stars and The Paris Secret.