Set in Lombardy during the Spanish occupation of the late 1620s, The Betrothed tells the story of two young lovers, Renzo and Lucia, prevented from marrying by the petty tyrant Don Rodrigo, who desires Lucia for himself. Forced to flee, they are then cruelly separated, and must face many dangers including plague, famine and imprisonment, and confront a variety of strange characters – the mysterious Nun of Monza, the fiery Father Cristoforo and the sinister ‘Unnamed’ – in their struggle to be reunited. A vigorous portrayal of enduring passion, The Betrothed‘s exploration of love, power and faith presents a whirling panorama of seventeenth-century Italian life and is one of the greatest European historical novels.
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Alessandro Manzoni was born in 1785 near Lake Como, Italy. Sent to boarding school at the age of five, he felt estranged from his family, particularly when his mother left his father. As a young man Manzoni subscribed to the… More about Alessandro Manzoni
“This is not just a book; it offers consolation to the whole of humanity.” —Giuseppe Verdi
“[Manzoni is] the only Italian literary figure whom his countrymen consider worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Dante . . . It is almost impossible to accept this book as a first novel. Through the virtuosity with which its creator deploys and refines his raw materials, the story of Renzo and Lucia . . . consistently transcends its considerable potential for sentimentality . . . The mélange of tones, styles and methods within the book makes the experience of reading it one of the most rewarding—and simultaneously most challenging—in nineteenth-century fiction.” —from the Introduction by Jonathan Keates