A very brief novella which reads like a biography. I found it a wistful and elegiac portrait of a woman determined to create her own life within the confines her destiny.
Even though she was grateful to Paola Malatesta for having always supported her in the past, seeing her, on the day after her son's birth, caused Barbara the most grievous torments. For months afterwards, Barbara said she could not summon up any of the zest she had once shown for the games that had delighted her in her youth. She wrote to her cousin, 'I am no longer as cheerful, and I have lost my taste for telling stories.'