Novelist, essayist and moralist Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) is one of America's greatest writers, most famous for his remarkable novel The Scarlet Letter. Historian and best-selling author Simon Schama is the writer and presenter of BBC TV's hugely popular 'The History of Britain' series.
Taking up his place at the University of Padua, the youthful Giovanni Guasconti is enchanted to discover a nearby garden of the most exquisite beauty. In it abides a young woman, perhaps the most beautiful Giovanni has ever seen. Yet as he looks out from an upstairs window, he soon learns that, far from stemming from the gentle hand of Mother Nature, the garden – and the matchless Beatrice – are in fact the result of a monstrous abomination of creativity.