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The Marchesa

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  324 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
From the award-winning and internationally acclaimed author of The Almond Picker comes this sumptuous family saga set in nineteenth-century Sicily. Costanza Safamita is the beloved daughter of the Baron Domenico Safamita: Red-haired, gawky, and shy, she is considered an outsider by many on her family's estate. But when her adoring father makes her the sole heir to the Safa ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 24th 2008 by Picador (first published January 1st 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Laura
Sep 01, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
C'è una frase da qualche parte che dice qualcosa tipo: " la felicità non è altro che un intermezzo tra le infelicità", o qualcosa del genere. Io sinceramente non l'ho mai vista in questo modo, forse perchè sono giovane, forse perchè cerco di essere ottimista.
Ma ci sono storie che ti fanno riflettere. "la zia marchesa" è infatti realmente esistita, ed è una lontana prozia dell'autrice stessa. La sua storia è una storia che lascia il segno, tutta percorsa da passioni fortissime, tormentata, una st
...more
Callie S.
Jul 10, 2012 Callie S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Storia squisitamente femminile, come femminile è la più parte delle voci e delle emozioni che si intrecciano nel dipingere la figura della sfortunata Costanza, figlia dell'amore e all'amore, sino all'ultimo, sacrificata. Corale, amarissimo e intenso nel tratteggiare ogni figura - ed è una commedia-tragedia umana zeppa di personaggi - "La zia marchesa" è il ritratto di una Sicilia ancora sospesa tra fasti borbonici e rinnovamenti unitari, sonnacchiosa matrona dalla straripante bellezza e dalle fe ...more
Roberta
Nov 28, 2016 Roberta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un romanzo dalle reminiscenze pirandelliane. Abbiamo una famigli nobile nella Sicilia di metà ottocento. Si parte innocentemente con la nascita di Costanza, la figlia rossa di pelo del barone Domenico Safamita e della nipote Caterina. La loro è unione incestuosa ma accettata perché nobile. Un po' meno accettata è la piccola Costanza, che viene del tutto privata dell'amore materno dalla madre stessa. E nulla vale l'affetto del padre, del nonno e della servitù. La piccola cresce pensando di essere ...more
Lisetta
Sep 01, 2012 Lisetta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La storia di una famiglia, quella dei Safamita, narrata a pi�� voci: la voce dei nobili aggrappati con tutte le forze ai loro antichi privilegi; la voce dei bambini sofferenti perch�� poco amati o amati ���malamente���; le voci del popolo sottomesso, che comincia, in questi anni cruciali a ribellarsi e a lottare affinch�� vengano riconosciuti i loro diritti.
Cos�� attraverso l���intreccio sapiente dei ���cunti��� e i pettegolezzi delle serve e servitori di casa Safamita, dei racconti e dei ricor
...more
Emma
This is the second book I’ve read by Simonetta Agnello Hornby and I truly loved it. Although they’re both set in Sicily, The Marchesa is quite different from The Almond Picker, which was the first one I read and also her first novel.

I found the story of The Marchesa really drew me in, I loved her character and the sense of time and place that Hornby creates. By the end I could just not put it down and I think now she is one of my favourite authors.
Phoebe
Jan 03, 2008 Phoebe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really tried to read this book but couldnt get into it at all. Maybe because the author had a tendency to write in passive voice or maybe because none of the characters were sympathetic or maybe because there were two many characters and not enough action to move the story forward. Or probably a combination of all these things. Sorry, book, but I tried.
Pat
Simonetta Agnello Hornby is the author of the better-known "The Almond Picker", an entertaining tale of family squabbles and revenge which is not without a hint of sadness.
In "The Marchesa" Agnello Hornby embarks upon another family saga, taking as her main character Costanza Safamita, later the Marchesa Sabbiamena, who really lived: Adored by her supposed father but unloved by her mother, the young Costanza turns to the servants for solace and the story is told through the memories of her one-
...more
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Life is like a braid. The first strand is that of duty, ..
.. the second is that of possessions and the third is that of love.
And if a person has three fine, long strands, then the braid is very beautiful and she will live a happy life.’

‘What’s the use of the old sayings if they’re not true?’

Costanza is a skinny, shy young woman with flame-red hair. She is also the adored daughter of Baron Domenico Safamita. Their country estate boasts twenty-five servants, and the days glide by. ‘The bearing o
...more
Simona Filice
Aug 26, 2013 Simona Filice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I discovered Simonetta Agnello Hornby last year and now I know a couple of stuff:
1- she's a great woman
(If you watch one of her interviews you will figure it out in 5 seconds. All you need is youtube - sorry beatles, love is anachronistic stuff.)
2- she's a brilliant writer
(that's the easy one. you are on goodreads, aren't you? ok, find her. Half work is done. Let your instinct do the rest :))
3- she's been living in London since she was 20s but she's never forgotten Her Sicily. Culture, people, l
...more
Claudia Sesto
Apr 09, 2014 Claudia Sesto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Porgi amor.......
Ambientato nella Sicilia della fine dell'ottocento-inizi novecento, un periodo molto delicato dove avvenne anche il passaggio dai vari regni all'Italia unita, quindi in pieno risorgimento, ci viene raccontata la storia di una potente e ricca famiglia i Safamita e di una loro figlia Costanza.
Tutto incentrato su questa figura femminile, diversa da tutti gli altri anche nell'aspetto rossa di capelli e bianca come il latte, che in un modo tutto suo riesce a conquistare una propria
...more
HalcyonDaze
I thoroughly enjoyed The Almond Picker even though I read it some years ago. I entered these pages with high expectations and found myself feeling led up interesting paths that then meandered here and there and upon arrival had a sense of dissatisfaction and ennui.
Extensive and at times rather clumsy story telling for me smothered a tale of time, morals, society and place that didn't feel special, or inviting, or that interesting, but rather like a musty pair of curtains that should have been d
...more
Bari
Feb 02, 2008 Bari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: girls -I hate to stereotype, but it makes sense here
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elisa
Jul 04, 2016 Elisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italian, historical, 2016
La zia marchesa is the story of an aristorcatic family in post-unification Sicily (I.e.the second half of the 19th century) and as such the comparison with a thematically similar masterpiece like The Leopard (Il Gattopardo) is inevitable. Il Gattopardo happens to be one of my favourite Italian novels so I was a bit hesitant going in with La zia marchesa. In fact my fears dissolved quickly. Angnello Hornby is not Tomasi di Lampedusa but she is a strong writer who can paint a convincing portait of ...more
Antonietta
Complessivamente molto accurata e documentata anche storicamente, la storia, ispirata ad una nobile siciliana realmente vissuta, riesce a trasmettere un'idea precisa della Sicilia gattopardesca, vissuta tra nobili e contadini poverissimi fino a pochi decenni fa.
L'unico neo, già riscontrato in altri romanzi della Agnello, è che la conclusione non è all'altezza della trama totale, quasi ci fosse molto entusiasmo iniziale nello scrivere, che piano piano va scemando.
Complessivamente comunque un vot
...more
Rowena
Sep 08, 2011 Rowena rated it liked it
Found this book on the street - beautifully written but so relentlessly depressing. The marchesa is an outcast her whole life, ridiculed for her unusual looks, yet treated with deference simply for her wealth. She makes a poor marriage, and only finds love toward the end of her life. Gorgeous setting (and mouthwatering descriptions of food) but the plot was rather lacking.
Elisa
Feb 10, 2015 Elisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mi aspettavo una saga familiare pi�� avvincente, invece la narrazione �� un po' troppo focalizzata sulle convenzioni sociali. Mi piace l'idea di aprire ogni capitolo con un detto siciliano, per�� delle traduzioni non avrebbero fatto male...
Elizabeth
(English title: The Marchesa: A Novel) The fictional life of a noblewoman in 19th-century Sicily. The book is well written, and it kept me reading, but on the whole it was just depressing. Not as good as "The Almond Picker."
Danielle
Jan 07, 2016 Danielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite books...
love yourself... A romantic love story that begins not as romantic.
Chiara
L'ho lasciato in disparte dopo una trentina di pagine. L'ho trovato pesante nello stile, un po' come un cannolo siciliano. Ci riproverò più avanti, forse.
Lia
Mar 17, 2014 Lia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Απο τα βιβλια που λες οτι δεν τελειώνει με τιποτα. Πολλες περιγραφές, πολλα προσωπα καμμιά ιδιαίτερη πλοκή. Απο τα βιβλια που ξεκινάς και στη δεύτερη σελίδα σε πιάνει ο ύπνος.
Susan
Oct 31, 2012 Susan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't get into it. I think it might have been the translation to English. It just wasn't readable.
Samantha
Sep 07, 2011 Samantha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bellissimo.
Antonella
Antonella rated it it was amazing
Aug 22, 2016
Carmen Díaz
Carmen Díaz rated it it was ok
May 22, 2008
Mag
Mag rated it it was amazing
Apr 21, 2016
Giulia B.
Giulia B. rated it really liked it
Nov 15, 2010
Mave
Mave rated it liked it
Jul 13, 2013
Elio Galluzzi
Elio Galluzzi rated it it was amazing
Mar 09, 2015
Laura Rajaa
Laura Rajaa rated it really liked it
Aug 29, 2016
Hege Gagnat
Hege Gagnat rated it really liked it
Apr 15, 2013
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Simonetta Agnello Hornby is an Italian lawyer and writer born in Palermo in 1945, who later acquired British citizenship. She left Sicily at the age of 21 to get married in England. Simonetta Agnello Hornby studied English at Cambridge before returning to her native Sicily to complete a law degree. Armed with a Fullbright grant she moved to America for a year to furthered her studies. She returned ...more
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