by Eva Stachniak
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COUNTESS SOPHIE POTOCKA lies on her deathbed in a Berlin palace, a tumour ravaging her body. Stunningly beautiful, the regal, graceful woman who became the toast of her society in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries still has secrets to protect, betrayals to avenge and stories to tell. How did the naive, young "Dou-Dou," daughter of a Greek peasant cattle trader, rise to become Sophie Potocka—courtesan, courtier, countess and confidante to tsars, queens and kings throughout Europe? 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 ofVenus 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’s Garden of Venus is an eminently satisfying and captivating read.
EVA STACHNIAK was born in Poland, arriving in Canada in 1981 on an English scholarship to McGill University in Montreal. Her first short story appeared in the Antigonish Review in 1994. Her debut novel, Necessary Lies, received excellent reviews and won the Amazon.com/Books in Canada First Novel Award. A communications professor at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, Eva Stachniak lives in Toronto.
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