Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon begins where Andrea Di Robilant’s A Venetian Affair left off. Lucia Mocenigo, one of the author's ancestors, was the eldest daughter of Andrea Memmo, and she married at seventeen into one of the best-known patrician families in Venice. When the Republic fell in 1797 to Napoleon, Lucia went to Vienna, where she became friends with Josephine Bonaparte. Later, Lucia moved back to Venice, where she became Byron’s landlord. She died in the 1850s, when she was in her 80s.
Lucia is a compelling look into the life of an intriguing woman. She was at the heart of European political change, as her letters to her husband and sister show. What Di Robilant does successfully in this book, as he did in A Venetian Affair, is bring the event s and people to life. Everything Lucia, her husband Alvise, and her son Alvisetto, do is documented here with precision. Sometimes with too much precision: when her son was a teenager, Lucia obsessively worried over his progress in school. But in all, Lucia was an impressive woman who rose to the challenges she faced with courage.