Carole DeSanti

Carole DeSanti

Carole DeSanti is a novelist and book editor.  DeSanti’s first novel The Unruly Passions of Eugénie R. evolved over years of semi-clandestine research and writing on the side of her day job in publishing.  A response to such classics as Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and Zola’s Nana, the novel explores a woman’s journey from crisis and self-doubt to awakening and consciousness during the turbulent era of Second Empire France and the Siege of Paris. A New York Times Book Review Editors Choice in 2012, Unruly Passions has been hailed as “a magnificent novel in scope and achievement, powerfully written yet delicately evocative” (Fay Weldon) and “the poem of female desires: sexual, artistic, political, intellectual, maternal. And all these unfold amid a richness of historical detail, rendered in elegant 19th-century-style prose” (The New York Times Book Review). She is currently at work on a new novel, Plunder: The Exploits and Adventures of the Notorious Pyrates Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

Over the course of her publishing career Carole has held various editorial positions at Dutton and Viking Penguin, now divisions of Penguin Random House. Her publishing work is distinguished by a commitment to quality and integrity, her discovery of significant new voices in memoir and fiction, and for her support of women writers. 

Carole's reviews and essays have been published in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Guardian, and The Women's Review of Books. She has been profiled in Poets & Writers Magazine and Psychology Today and awarded fellowships and residencies at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center, Hedgebrook, and Aspen Words.  

Starting in September of 2019, Carole will teach an advanced fiction workshop at Smith College as the Elizabeth Drew Professor of English Language and Literature. 

Books

The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R.

The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R.

Love and war converge in this lush, epic story of a young woman's struggle with life and love during and after the Second Empire (1860-1871), an era that was absinthe-soaked, fueled by railway money and prostitution, and transformed by cataclysmic social upheaval.

Eugenie R., born in France's foie gras country, follows the man she loves to Paris, but soon finds herself marooned, pregnant, and penniless. She gives birth to a daughter she is forced to abandon and spends the next ten years fighting to get her back. An outcast, Eugenie takes to the streets, navigating her way up from ruin and charting the treacherous waters of sexual commerce. Along the way she falls in love with an artist, a woman, and a revolutionary. The capital, the gleaming center of art and civilization in Europe, is enjoying its final years of wanton prosperity before galloping headlong into the Franco-Prussian War. For Eugenie it is a conflicted landscape--grisly, evocative, and addictive. As the gates of the city close against the advancing army, Eugenie must make a decision between past and present--between the people she loves most.

 The Unruly Passions of Eugenie R. is a testament to the power of love, friendship, and the art of self-creation.

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, March 2012)