Following the strong tradition of Portuguese female writers, novelist Julieta Almeida Rodrigues brings to Eleonora and Joseph her experience of both the 1974 revolution in Portugal and her life in diplomatic circles around the world. The life of Joseph Correia da Serra has been the subject of biographies in Portuguese, while his contacts with Thomas Jefferson deserve to be explored in English. In addition, Eleonora Fonseca Pimentel's narration from prison is a striking frame from which to foreground issues of passion, patriarchy, inequality, slavery, and struggles for female independence. A must read of imaginary lives in European and American intellectual circles at the end of the eighteenth century!
Kenneth David Jackson, Professor of Portuguese, Yale University
Like Plutarch, Julieta Almeida Rodrigues gives us a book tuned into two voices. She aptly brings to light the much neglected Southern European Enlightenment, adding the irresistible Thomas Jefferson to plot and discussions. The social and moral issues that fall under scrutiny in this historical novel are well worth contemplating, and debating, in the twenty-first century.
José Sasportes, Portuguese Writer and Former Minister of Culture of Portugal
Eleonora and Joseph. Two distinct lives with parallel destinies, portrayed with literary and sociological imagination by Julieta Almeida Rodrigues. Lives that plunge us into Les Lumières, the French Revolution, and the apocalyptic events that followed. Thomas Jefferson gives this well-conceived story its beginning and its end. He introduces us to the lure of a century that glorified freedom without abolishing slavery, and that proclaimed equality without eliminating privilege. Remarkably, it is also a story about human nature and the unchanging ways of the world.
José Luís Cardoso, Research Professor, Institute of Social Sciences, The University of Lisbon and Fellow, Lisbon Academy of Sciences
With a historian's gift for dogged research and a writer's eye for detail, Julieta Almeida Rodrigues brings to life the trajectories of two colorful eighteenth century characters, Eleanora Fonseca Pimentel and Joseph Correia da Serra. Lovers of historical fiction will enjoy their separate but entwined stories as they play out against the crumbling Neapolitan Republic.
Novelist Helene Stapinski. Author of Murder in Matera: A True Story of Passion, Family and Forgiveness in Southern Italy
Eleonora is a poet and revolutionary, Joseph a conflicted man navigating a career in the church, botany and diplomacy. The personal and intellectual drama of Eleonora Fonseca Pimentel and Joseph Correia da Serra plays out amidst the revolutions sweeping Europe at the end of the eighteenth century and the intellectual oasis of Jefferson's Monticello whose master's own internal contradictions presage the war that would later engulf America as well. An absorbing tale of passion, clashing ideals, guilt and devotion.
Ambassador Laura Kennedy
There is a jewel in this novel, delicate and stoic at the same time. It is the Madre Superiore, the Reverend Mother, in charge of the female section of the Vicaria prison where Eleonora is imprisoned for her political activity. A feminist avant la lettre, she professes a gender ideology before her times. Compassionate, she touches the reader in tantalizing ways. Rodrigues's novel is a page turner—I was glued to the pages from beginning to end.
Novelist Amadeu Lopes Sabino, author of A Lua de Bruxelas
Eleonora and Joseph. An enticing take on the Enlightenment set in eighteenth century Naples and the newly minted United States, as seen through the lens of two powerful historical figures: doomed revolutionary poet, Eleonora Fonseca Pimentel and Abbé Joseph Correia da Serra, artfully re-imagined as star-crossed lovers. Thomas Jefferson, debating ideas with Correia in Monticello, is a wonderful part of this story.
Novelist Hope C. Tarr w/a Hope Carey
Parallel to Eleanora and Joseph's story we find in this novel a passionate portrait of Thomas Jefferson's way of life. Here, the author details not only Jefferson's family's domestic life on the Monticello plantation, but also his illicit relationship with a younger black slave with whom he fathered a number of children. Eleonora and Joseph is a compelling read for both European and American audiences.
Zília Osório de Castro, Professor (ret), Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, The New University of Lisbon, and Fellow, Portuguese Academy of History
NEW ACADEMIA PUBLISHING