It's 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 26 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.
It's 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 12 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.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By rebeccah prince on 22-01-18
Intriguing and entertaining
I have listened to a few of Swan's books and this did not disappoint. I like how her female characters are strong and although may be victims, like Eleanor is in this book, they don’t behave like victims. They are strong, detailed and charismatic. Francesca is highly relatable and likeable. Her curious mind and self efficiency are representative of a modern women and her and Eleanor both contrast and conflict as well as some similarities. Although I had some idea of the plot twist I was enthralled by the clever ending, which does not rely on the love interest to solve or really be overly part of. I like the detail included about the history and secret architecture of Rome, as I usually get frustrated when I read books aimed at women as the intellectual details are often left out. Beautifully read, couldn’t want for more from a entertaining and intriguing story.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful