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Beautiful, romantic and spirited, Pannonica, known as Nica, named after her father's favorite moth, was born in 1913 to extraordinary, eccentric privilege and a storied history. The Rothschild family had, in only five generations, risen from the ghetto in Frankfurt to stately homes in England. As a child, Nica took her daily walks, dressed in white, with her two sisters and governess around the parkland of the vast house at Tring, Hertfordshire, among kangaroos, giant tortoises, emus and zebras, all part of the exotic menagerie collected by her uncle Walter. As a debutante, she was taught to fly by a saxophonist and introduced to jazz by her brother Victor; she married Baron Jules de Koenigswarter, settled in a château in France and had five children. When World War II broke out, Nica and her five children narrowly escaped back to England, but soon after, she set out to find her husband who was fighting with the Free French Army in Africa, where she helped the war effort by being a decoder, a driver and organizing supplies and equipment. In the early 1950s Nica heard "'Round Midnight" by the jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk and, as if under a powerful spell, abandoned her marriage and moved to New York to find him. She devoted herself to helping Monk and other musicians: she bailed them out of jail, paid their bills, took them to the hospital, even drove them to their gigs, and her convertible Bentley could always be seen parked outside downtown clubs or up in Harlem. Charlie Parker would notoriously die in her apartment in the Stanhope Hotel. But it was Monk who was the love of her life and whom she cared for until his death in 1982. Hannah Rothschild has drawn on archival material and her own interviews in this quest to find out who her great-aunt really was and how she fit into a family that, although passionate about music and entomology, was reactionary in always favoring men over women. Part musical odyssey, part love story, The Baroness is a fascinating portrait of a modern figure ahead of her time who dared to live as she wanted, finally, at the very center of New York's jazz scene.
Una novela deslumbrante sobre el amor, un famoso cuadro desaparecido y un oscuro secreto del pasado. Una brillante combinación de thriller, romance y sátira sobre el mundo del arte. Annie McDee busca en una destartalada tienda de segunda mano de Londres un regalo para su nuevo, aunque poco recomendable, amante. Escondida entre trastos apolillados, una pintura llama su atención y, tras invertir sus escasos ahorros en el regalo, Annie prepara también una deliciosa cena... aunque él nunca aparece. Ahora tiene en casa un cuadro que empieza a acumular polvo. Y que resulta ser La improbabilidad del amor, la gran obra perdida de uno de los pintores franceses más influyentes del siglo XVIII. Este hallazgo fortuito conducirá a Annie al lado más oscuro del mundo del arte, enfrentada a gente que haría cualquier cosa por poseer la pintura. Para un oligarca ruso exiliado, una avariciosa jequesa, un subastador desesperado, unmarchante sin escrúpulos y muchos otros, este cuadro simboliza sus grandes esperanzas y sus peores miedos. En su búsqueda de la verdadera identidad de la obra, Annie desvelará algunos de los más terribles secretos de la historia de Europa. Y descubrirá que es capaz de amar de nuevo. Reseñas:«Destinada a ser un best seller.»Sunday Times «Una obra de arte.»Daily Mail «Deliciosa.»The Times «Inteligente, divertida, seductora y totalmente humana.»The Independent «Excelente.»The Lady «Absorbente.»Metro «Gustará a todo tipo de lectores.»Daily Express
Wickedly funny, this totally engaging, richly observed first novel by Hannah Rothschild is a tour de force. Its sweeping narrative and cast of wildly colorful characters takes you behind the scenes of a London auction house, into the secret operations of a powerful art dealer, to a flamboyant eighteenth-century-style dinner party, and into a modest living room in Berlin, among many other unexpected settings. In The Improbability of Love we meet Annie McDee, thirty-one, who is working as a chef for two rather sinister art dealers. Recovering from the end of a long-term relationship, she is searching in a neglected secondhand shop for a birthday present for her unsuitable new lover. Hidden behind a rubber plant on top of a file cabinet, a grimy painting catches her eye. After spending her meager savings on the picture, Annie prepares an elaborate birthday dinner for two, only to be stood up. The painting becomes hers, and as it turns out, Annie has stumbled across a lost masterpiece by one of the most important French painters of the eighteenth century. But who painted this masterpiece is not clear at first. Soon Annie finds herself pursued by interested parties who would do anything to possess her picture. For a gloomy, exiled Russian oligarch, an avaricious sheikha, a desperate auctioneer, and an unscrupulous dealer, among others, the painting embodies their greatest hopes and fears. In her search for the painting's identity, Annie will unwittingly uncover some of the darkest secrets of European history--as well as the possibility of falling in love again.Irreverent, witty, bittersweet, The Improbability of Love draws an unforgettable portrait of the London art scene, but it is also an exuberant and unexpected journey through life's highs and lows and the complexities of love and loss. From the Hardcover edition.
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