Skillfully weaves historical details into absorbing biographical profiles while also capturing the charm of Venice... Mackrell explores [the] eventful lives [of] three remarkable women [who] differed in many ways, but points out their similarities in motivation, independence, daring unconventionality, and historic roles in Venice and social culture. Her astute commentary is particularly illuminating, enlarging the reader's understanding of these individuals and the larger framework of their worlds. Well-chosen photographs and comprehensive notes and bibliography enhance the volume. The Unfinished Palazzo tells the stories of notoriously eccentric women: the Marchesa Luisa Casati, from Milan, a champion exhibitionist who considered her life (and especially her person) to be a work of art; Doris, Lady Castlerosse, an Englishwoman whose lovers included both Winston Churchill and his son, Randolph; and finally [Peggy] Guggenheim, the American art patron who bequeathed the mansion to her family's foundation as a museum of modern art. ... Their life stories are flashy, a kaleidoscope of bad marriages, bad divorces, Fortuny dresses, outlandish costume parties, fashionable portraits, excessive champagne, famous lovers, pickup lovers, alienated children and overlapping celebrity acquaintances. ... In more enlightened times these women might have had solid accomplishments...but Mackrell's documentation of their relentless self-absorption and unfiltered vanity argues against it.