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About The Book

From the acclaimed author of Red Island House, an elegant, raw, and emotionally charged novel that reveals a trio caught in the grip of desire, deception, and regret.

When Mira Ward relocates to Rome with her husband, Nick, she looks forward to a time of exploration and awakening. Young, beautiful, and in love, Mira is on the verge of a writing career, and giddy with the prospect of living abroad.

On the trip over, Mira meets Zenin, an older Italian billionaire, who captivates Mira with his worldly mystique. A few weeks later, idle and adrift in her new life, Mira agrees to a seemingly innocent lunch with Zenin and is soon catapulted into an intense affair, which quickly moves beyond her control. Her job as a travel writer allows for clandestine trysts and opulent getaways to Paris, Monte Carlo, London, and Venice, and over the next few years, she struggles between resisting and giving in to this man who has such a hold on her. As her marriage erodes, so too does Mira’s sense of self, until she no longer resembles the free spirit she was on her arrival in the Eternal City.

A modern-day take on the tale of innocent Americans abroad, Lost Hearts in Italy is an unforgettable coming-of-age story in which cultures collide, innocence dissolves, and those we know most intimately remain foreign to us.

About The Author

Photograph by Daniela Foresto

Andrea Lee is the author of five books, including the National Book Award–nominated memoir Russian Journal, the novels Red Island House, Lost Hearts in Italy and Sarah Phillips, and the story collection Interesting Women. A former staff writer for The New Yorker, she has written for The New York Times MagazineVogue, W, and The New York Times Book Review. Born in Philadelphia, she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard University and now lives in Italy.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (March 23, 2021)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982181208

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Raves and Reviews

Praise for Lost Hearts in Italy

“A premise worthy of Edith Wharton . . . A singularly stylish writer, Lee has carved out a niche for herself by taking on class, culture, sex—and matrimony—with a clear-eyed candor that can feel thrillingly transgressive.” —Vogue

“Exquisite . . . This is an archetypal tale, but Lee sails it into new realms with her slicing insights into racial, cultural, sexual, and class divides; candid explications of the eroticism of wealth and revenge; and, most stunningly, resplendent descriptions of Italy’s transfixing beauty; haunting, blood-stained past; and steely knowingness. Each enrapturing scene shimmers with sensual, psychological, and historical nuance. Each encounter is choreographed with the deadly elegance and precision of a fencing match.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Lustrous, textured canniness . . . Lee’s prose shimmers so effectively.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Few writers can so swiftly evoke private, familial mythologies or cast a colder eye on the assured and entitled, American and European, black and white. . . . The drama in Lost Hearts in Italy is not one of revenge or comeuppance, but something more real. While it is not without wrenching scenes of power and passion, betrayal and bitterness, the truth that emerges is an adult one of acceptance. Lee is less interested in judgment or condemnation than in evoking something far more subtle: acceptance.” —Newsday

“In chillingly urbane prose, Lee takes the full measure of her character’s folly, as they prove faithless not only to each other but to themselves.” —The New Yorker

“Elegantly structured . . . [Lee] powerfully orchestrates the clash of cultures and wills through the interweaving of her characters’s memories, which build in an emotional crescendo.” —Publishers Weekly

“Features a protagonist who could aptly be described as an anti-heroine: the modern version of a classic Jamesian type, the American innocent abroad . . . One can’t help thinking of James’s Daisy Miller and the enticement of her own Rome sojourn. . . . An astringently probing look at the deep costs of shallowness and the perils of reckless innocence.” —The Wall Street Journal

“With prose as elegant and sharp as a diamond scalpel, Lee examines why people wreck their present lives for motives they can never really explain.” —The Seattle Times

“Lee has a talent for descriptive writing. . . . Pleasing and evocative.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Spicy . . . a can’t-miss summer read . . . When you curl up with an Andrea Lee story, there are guarantees: You know you’ll get first-rate writing that won’t put you to sleep; you’re sure to learn a naughty phrase in Italian, Russian, or French; and you’re definitely going to meet savvy, stylish, globe-trotting sisters who have great careers and even greater sex.” —Essence

“The portraits are incisive, the cultural insights fresh, and the deliquescent prose a pleasure to read. . . . Delicious.” —Library Journal

“Reads like an uber-travelogue for sophisticates who read Vanity Fair and Vogue, who set great store by designer clothes, the very best food, luxury hotels and the insidious glamour of literature and history . . . in lush, lustful sentences of longing . . . [Italy is] passionately constructed for readers who can only dream of such richness.” —The Washington Post

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