FLORENCE IN ECSTASY evokes the beauty of the Florentine landscape as vividly as it depicts the physical, and spiritual, turmoil of a young woman on the edge. Jessie Chaffee’s Hannah is never defined by her illness alone, but by the breadth of her intelligence and the depth of her emotional life. This is a remarkable debut—frank, serious, eloquent.
— Alice McDermott, National Book Award-winning author of “Charming Billy” and “Someone”
Jessie Chaffee’s protagonist Hannah finds herself in Florence far from home, unseen, unknown, estranged even from her body: in the most literal sense, in ecstasy. Chaffee’s fierce debut brings Hannah’s struggles, discoveries, and sweet triumphs to life.
— Claire Messud, New York Times best-selling author of “The Emperor's Children” and “The Woman Upstairs”

Published by The Unnamed Press on May 16, 2017

Order from
The Unnamed Press  Amazon
or your local bookstore


“Be ready to be provoked and transported by Florence in Ecstasy, a haunting, beautiful novel of womanhood, the saints, and the mysteries of the body. Jessie Chaffee writes all this, and more, with a lyrical, fierce fragility.”
— Krys Lee, author of How I Became a North Korean

“Jessie Chaffee’s luminous debut is a hypnotic, addictive read . . . Hannah of Boston tiptoes toward her own kind of hideous rapture, a beauty so devastating that we cannot look away.” 
— Katherine Howeauthor of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

Florence in Ecstasy is a deeply affecting novel. It reminds us how easily the self can be lost and sometimes, with great difficulty, recreated. In perfectly calibrated prose, Jessie Chaffee depicts a woman in the throes of a devastating existential reckoning.” 
— Linsey Abrams, author of Our History in New York