Eleonora and Joseph. Passion, Tragedy, and Revolution in the Age of Enlightenment. A Novel. by Julieta Almeida Rodrigues has been recognized for its outstanding writing, design and overall market appeal out of thousands of books submitted into the Book Excellence Awards.

Julieta Almeida Rodrigues became a multi award-winning author with her debut novel, Eleonora and Joseph. Passion, Tragedy, and Revolution in the Age of Enlightenment. A Novel. Besides being a Book Excellence Award Finalist  in the Europe category 2024, she is also the Fiction Winner of the Literary Titan Gold Book Award, 2023, the Historical Fiction Winner of the Maincrest Media Book Award, 2023, and the Fiction Winner of the Hollywood Book Festival, 2023. In 2022, she won the Grand Prize Goethe Award for Late Historical Fiction, which recognizes emerging new talent and outstanding works in Post-1750s Historical Fiction. A Ph.D. from Columbia University, Rodrigues has spoken at international forums such as the Foreign Service Institute, the U.S. Department of State, The Chawton House Library, and The American-Portuguese Studies Association. A member of the Steering Committee of the Historical Novel Society New York City Chapter, Rodrigues divides her time between Portugal and the United States.  

This one-on-one interview shares Julieta’s background and experience writing Eleonora and Joseph. Passion, Tragedy, and Revolution in the Age of Enlightenment. A Novel.

Tell us about Eleonora and Joseph.

Eleonora and Joseph is a dual narrative told from Eleonora and Joseph’s alternating points of view. Thomas Jefferson plays a key role in the novel, as he creates the circumstances that bring Eleonora’s memoir to new life many years after its creation. The scenes in Monticello are fascinating, with Joseph and Jefferson discussing a wide range of topics, including slavery, revolution, love, and science. The discussions move us from European capitals such as Lisbon, London, and Paris, to the cultured new world of Philadelphia, and the chic soirées of Washington.

What is the overall takeaway of the book?

Eleonora and Joseph is a passionate novel of love and revolution. In 1799, Eleonora Fonseca Pimentel stands before the High Court of the Kingdom of Naples, accused of treason. While in prison, she pens a memoir giving details of the life events that led up to her arrest. Years later in Monticello, Joseph Correia da Serra and Thomas Jefferson take turns discussing Eleonora’s luminous and tragic fate.

What inspired you to write Eleonora and Joseph?

Eleonora Fonseca Pimentel was a revolutionary in the Neapolitan Revolution of 1799, and paid dearly for this with her life. I discovered her while walking  the streets of Naples one bright and crisp Saturday morning, more than a decade ago: her name had been given to a local school. Since she was virtually unknown to the English-speaking world, what better way than to give her a voice through a prison memoir, written before her execution? Having Portuguese roots like myself, Eleonora’s story attracted my attention as a woman deserving historical accuracy and subtle characterization.

How did you feel when you found out you received a Book Excellence Award?

Eleonora and Joseph is my debut novel, published in 2020 after a long period of ripening to find a literary voice that expressed my inner self. I taught at Georgetown University, I was an interpreter for major world organizations, and I traveled the world. I published two collections of short stories – that I still love! – entitled The Rogue and Other Portuguese Stories (2014) and On the Way to Red Square (2006). It is a great honor to be distinguished with a Book Excellence Award, and it is a priority of mine to give this occasion the exposure it deserves. In Europe, women are proud, not ashamed, of their golden years. I would love to do a TED talk entitled, “The Exhilaration of Life after Seventy.”

How did your background and experience influence your writing?

Born in Portugal, I have spent my adult life in both America and Europe. I love fiction and I love history, so the genre comes naturally to me. Before I started my writing career, I examined in silence the many lives of those who crossed my path. I am inherently curious, so I needed to map those lives in time and space and later, transform those observations, or thoughts, into plots. This is why I once said: “Writing is like breathing, it’s the sum of you.”

What is one message you would like readers to remember?

I would like readers to achieve a higher level of spiritual awareness upon reading Eleonora and Joseph. Eleonora Fonseca Pimentel taught us that it is worth fighting for democracy and creating a free and open society. Eleonora’s message is unequivocally valid today: speak the truth, exercise a moral code of conduct, and be engaged!

Purchasing the Book

Eleonora and Joseph. Passion, Tragedy, and Revolution in the Age of Enlightenment. A Novel. is available for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Nook, Google Play and other online bookstores. Readers are encouraged to purchase their copy today: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08K3HGZYX

To connect with Julieta and receive updates on new book releases, visit: https://www.julietaalmeidarodriguesauthor.com/. You can also find her on social media on Instagram, Facebook and Goodreads.

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