Young, beautiful, fallen, Sophie Glavani has brought shame on her family. She realises that she must now learn the art of seduction in order to survive in turbulent times.
Her beauty and charm are so great that the world is entranced. Men are driven to madness, women moved to jealousy. She leads the King of Poland in the Polonaise.
Now, dying and surrounded by her family, Sophie relives her life’s dance for the final time. Her journey from fallen woman to Countess, the men she has captivated, the hearts she has broken. Eva Stachniak creates a brilliant eighteenth-century world and weaves compelling a tale of a courtesan’s love, her life and her death.
In a saga that sweeps from the olive groves of Greece to the teeming bazaars of Istanbul, from a draughty Berlin palace to the inner chambers of Marie Antoinette’s gilded Parisian boudoir, Garden of Venus is a story of an extraordinary life stitched into the fabric of one of the most tumultuous periods in European history. This is an exquisitely crafted novel, infused with passionate intelligence and graced with evocative, wholly convincing details of time and place.A brilliant second novel following her award-winning Necessary Lies, Eva Stachniak’sGarden of Venus is an eminently satisfying and captivating read.
Garden of Venus has been published in the U.K. as Dancing With Kings.
Garden of Venus represents an important achievement in the larger context of Canadian historical fiction writing.
The Globe and Mail
The telling is engaging – at times riveting – leaving behind a visceral sense of a woman’s arduous life …Stachniak writes with brief, often poetic sentences, managing to create a rich sense of place and period through evocative details.
Quill & Quire
Historical fiction of the very best kind.