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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Rosetta A Scandalous True Story by Alexandra Joel

(Empress Eugenie painted by Winterhalter, Wikipedia)

This intriguing story of Alexandra Joel's 'wicked' great-grandmother reads like a novel.  It's a fascinating Edwardian tale.

Beautiful dark-eyed Rosetta broke every social convention in Edwardian Australia by leaving her husband and daughter for an oriental fortune-teller.  Unhappily married, Rosetta immediately fell for the charming exotic half-Chinese Zeno and her new life began... They worked at Sydney's amazing Wonderland City for a while, but true success came when they 'ran off' to London where Zeno pretended to be a Japanese professor and started rejuvenating radiation treatments and Rosetta pretended to be an American! These treatments became popular with aristocrats such as Lady Diana Cooper and even royalty. Princess Charlotte of Prussia and even former Empress Eugenie were clients.

Joel combines this tale with the details of her detective-like search for Rosetta in a moving way. Questions about her great-grandmother remained in the back of her mind, and she felt that the fact that Rosetta had deserted her only child was part of her identity so one day she decided to search for the truth...

I just loved this book. This is highly recommended for lovers of biography and history.

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