At the heart of Isadora & Lucia  is the story of a young woman whose namesake is the renowned dancer, Isadora Duncan. The contemporary Isadora goes to Oxford to study Lucia Joyce, daughter of James Joyce, for a thesis proposal. Later she travels to Italy where she continues her research when not distracted by the poet, Rufus Galsworthy.  When she flees with her family to Switzerland everything changes and Isadora must resolve how to right her world.


Isadora & Lucia is a coming-of-age novel about a modern woman named Isadora Duncan. Her namesake is the famous dancer from history. At the age of twenty-four she goes to Oxford in the spring of 2010 to prepare a proposal for a doctoral thesis about Lucia Joyce, daughter of the acclaimed Irish author, James Joyce. There she boards with Clive and Antonia Galsworthy. Antonia is an academic friend of her father’s who proves to be closer to her family than Isadora at first realizes. The couple introduce her to Lewis Dodgson, who as well as being a librarian at Radcliffe Camera, is a photographer keen on taking her picture. A chance encounter with a woman visiting Oxford leads her to Helen, who becomes her soul sister. Helen teaches Isadora to express herself through dance.
Come summer, Isadora travels to Vignola, Italy, as a guest of Clive and Antonia. While staying at their villa she meets the Galsworthy’s son, Rufus, who is a poet. Isadora falls for him, which sparks the jealousy of his cousin, Lucia Riciutti. Rufus takes pleasure in showing Isadora the Italian Riviera. Later that summer Isadora travels with Rufus to Trieste to continue her research on Lucia Joyce.
At the end of the summer Isadora’s parents arrive for a visit before taking up a post in Switzerland where her father will spend a year on sabbatical from the University of Toronto. Following a festive twenty-fifth birthday party, Isadora feels betrayed by her father and Antonia. There is a scene that causes a scandal and changes her fortunes.
In Switzerland Isadora locks herself in her garret bedroom at her parents’ apartment desperate for solitude to sort out her life. Soon she finds solace at a dance studio she discovers in Lausanne with the help of Helen. Lucia Joyce had taken classes in the same dance style in her youth, only to be discouraged by her family who had cut her dance career short in order that she could be her father’s creative muse. Isadora becomes her own woman rather than falling victim to that same fate. In the end she returns to Italy where she is reunited with Rufus.

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Donna M. Wootton – Canadian Author