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Publisher's Summary

The glamorous capital city of Italy is brought to startling life in The Rome Affair, a compelling summer story by Karen Swan.

It's 1974, and Elena Damiani lives a gilded life. Born to wealth and a noted beauty, no door is closed to her, no man can resist her. At 26 she is already onto her third husband when she meets her love match. But he is the one man she can never have, and all the beauty and money in the world can't change it.

It's 2017, and Francesca Hackett is living la dolce vita in Rome, leading tourist groups around the Eternal City and forgetting the ghosts she left behind in London. When she finds a stolen designer handbag in her dustbin and returns it, she is brought into the orbit of her grand neighbour who lives across the piazza - famed socialite Viscontessa Elena dei Damiani Pignatelli della Mirandola. Though the purse is stolen, Elena greets the return of the bag with exultation, for it contains an unopened letter written by her husband on his deathbed 12 years earlier.

Mutually intrigued by each other, the two women agree to collaborate on a project, with Cesca interviewing Elena for her memoirs. As summer unfurls, Elena tells her sensational stories, leaving Cesca in her thrall. But when a priceless diamond ring found in an ancient tunnel below the city streets is ascribed to Elena, Cesca begins to suspect a shocking secret at the heart of Elena's life.

©2017 Karen Swan (P)2017 Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd

What listeners say about The Rome Affair

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A “Social Butterfly” she was not!

Given the upbringing Elena had, of an ultra rich pampered -beyond -belief lifestyle, it’s little wonder that she thought she deserved everything she desired with impunity. However she wasn’t unscathed by it all. She was used and abused as well. Cesca was the ideal person to write Elena’s memoirs. She was astute and clever. The setting was grand, the city ancient. I really liked the book as it was different.

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Great story

I really loved this, Karen Swan has become a favourite, even though there is always way too much rich and unrealistic people, the stories are interesting, I feel like I always learn something historical reading her stories.

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  • rebeccah prince
  • 22-01-2018

Intriguing and entertaining

I have listened to a few of Swan's books and this did not disappoint. I like how her female characters are strong and although may be victims, like Eleanor is in this book, they don’t behave like victims. They are strong, detailed and charismatic. Francesca is highly relatable and likeable. Her curious mind and self efficiency are representative of a modern women and her and Eleanor both contrast and conflict as well as some similarities. Although I had some idea of the plot twist I was enthralled by the clever ending, which does not rely on the love interest to solve or really be overly part of. I like the detail included about the history and secret architecture of Rome, as I usually get frustrated when I read books aimed at women as the intellectual details are often left out. Beautifully read, couldn’t want for more from a entertaining and intriguing story.

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  • JEM
  • 25-10-2017

Extremely enjoyable.

Great story but you need to concentrate as it jumps backwards and forwards between years.
Narrator brilliant as usual.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jules c
  • 29-04-2018

Hard to listen to

Sadly because I have loved all the previous books by this author I did not enjoy this one. The last 3 hours were the best but the rest rambled and the back and forth did not translate well in audible version. Characters did not come to life for me at all.

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  • Little sue
  • 22-02-2018

Captivating

Captivating from begin to end , love,lust,lies and it's all set in beautiful Roma it's brilliant

1 person found this helpful

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  • Agnieszka Bania
  • 24-08-2017

An intriguing story

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes - it is beautifully read, unlike a lot of audible books I've listened to.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Rome Affair?

When you realise that it was Veto's brother that was in the heart of it all.

What about Katie Scarfe’s performance did you like?

everything - she created perfect atmosphere for the book

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I could never do that with any book. It was nice coming back to it every day

Any additional comments?

Very interesting story, I just wish it went deeper when going back to the past so that we could "live" in those moments more - would make a great series

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  • L Sutherland
  • 29-11-2020

Never fails to amaze

I love Karen Swan, she manages to find the right mix of mystery, intrigue and romance every time.

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  • Cherub 37
  • 19-10-2020

Utter Brilliance

I have read every book released by Karen Swan, and I had presumed that by now I would be able to work out the endings. I was very much mistaken. This book has lots of twists and turns and had me make an audiable gasp at the end. Utter brilliance which I will go back and listen to again as I loved the characters and narrator.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-08-2019

Another great story from Karen Swan

This is the third story I have listened to by Karen Swan and it was equally good. Her stories are so intricately devised with so many facets. Not a boring moment in them. I shall be listening to all her other stories. The narration is also excellent and Katie Scarfe superb.

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  • Justine wright
  • 02-08-2019

loved it from the start.

I felt like I was Rome every time the streets and different plazas were mentioned. the story was so beautiful.

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  • H Mac
  • 14-05-2019

Good story excellently narrated

An unusual plot which captures the spirit of Rome. Different and enjoyable. It has encouraged me to listen to more Karen Swan.

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