A Venetian Affair was written by Andrea Di Robilant. It is about two lovers from back in 1750’s. His family has a connection to one of the lovers – an ancestor named Andrea Memmo. Andrea Di Robilant’s father found a pile of very old letters that had been abandoned. Eventually, the letters were woven into a story about what happened to Andrea Memmo and Guistiniana Wynne.
Without giving away too much of the story, Guistiniana Wynne was the eldest daughter of her family. The prologue of the book describes her as “a bright and beautiful Anglo-Venetian of illegitimate birth.” She fell in love with Andrea Memmo, who was from the upper class. They used servants to secretly send notes to each other, and tried to meet together as much as possible.
Unfortunately for the two lovers, Guistiniana’s mother was adamantly opposed to their interest in each other. She brought Guistiniana along with her to plays, where her daughter and Andrea could secretly see each other. Sometimes, the lovers used hand-gestures to “talk” to each other when her mother wasn’t watching.
The lovers eventually found some secret spaces where they could be together without anyone watching over them. The content of their letters to each other sometimes were very hopeful and very emotional at other times. Guistiniana’s letters to “her Memmo” at times included some jealousy if he had been seen with other women.
Of course, there was a lot of situations where they were unable to see each other. Mrs. Wynne moved her family out of Venice and back to England (after a scandal about her was revealed). The mother tried her best to get Guistiniana married off to very rich men who were decades older than her daughter.
There’s a lot more to this story than what I have written here. The two lovers continued to send letters to each other when they could, even after Andrea was ready to marry someone else, and Guistiniana finally got married to a man that wasn’t Andrea.