It is 1811 and Napoleon’s empire now incorporates almost the entire Italian peninsula. Two French travellers meet on the road to Milan — a brash young man, bored with his official career, and a shy, secretive woman, desperate to escape the narrow confines of provincial life. Both are drawn by Italy’s classical and artistic heritage, but the Italy they encounter is a country in the ferment of social and political change. Opened to new ways of seeing by their Italian experiences, both travellers glimpse the possibility of a different life. But can individuals determine their future when the course of history is about to change? Based on episodes in the youth of the French writer Stendhal, the novel uses his Italian diary as frame, interweaving it with fictional events and characters to evoke this pivotal moment in history.
Ann Pearson grew up in Suffolk, England, and did an honours degree in French at the University of London before moving to Vancouver, where she completed a PhD in French literature. Subsequently, she taught French for a number of years before joining the Arts One program at the University of British Columbia. She is currently working on a second Napoleonic-era novel, set in Cornwall this time.
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