Lavinia tells the story of Lavinia, a young woman in the early days of Italy. She is the foretold wife of Aeneas, one of the survivors of the Trojan War. Virgil spoke of her in his epic poem, The Aeneid, but she had no voice.
Le Guin has corrected that error and tells Lavinia's story in her own voice. Lavinia is the daughter of a king, and must choose between a horde of suitors all wanting her lands and her wealth. Lavinia, however, knows there is a foreigner coming for her, one from a distant land. She knows this because she has been visited by someone she calls 'the poet'--Virgil. After speaking with her, Virgil wishes he had corrected his story when he had the chance.
Lavinia's story is a story of love, passion, politics, religion, and the strength of a young woman determined to decide her own fate.