Marlena de Blasi, the bestselling author of A Thousand Days in Venice (over 50,000 copies now sold in ANZ), brings her luminous prose to the world of fiction with this remarkable debut novel. Set against the backdrop of Europe as it moves inexorably toward World War II, Amandine follows a young orphan’s journey in search of her heritage.
The story opens in Krakow in 1931, as a baby girl is conceived out of wedlock, the byproduct of a foolish heart and a tragic inheritance. The child’s grandmother, a countess, believes she is protecting her daughter when she claims that the baby didn’t survive. In truth, however, she deposits the infant at a remote convent in the French countryside, leaving her in the care of a young governess named Solange.
But even Solange’s unconditional love cannot protect Amandine. Disliked and mistrusted by the abbess and the convent girls, the curious Amandine finds her childhood troubled with challenges and questions. Eventually, Solange is forced to choose between the cruel life of the convent and the terrors of war looming outside its doors. With a purseful of worthless francs, the two flee north toward Solange’s childhood home. But what should have been a two-day journey by train becomes a perilous odyssey across Occupied France. Amandine’s mother, meanwhile, still mourns and dreams of the child she thinks she lost forever.
Marlena de Blasi’s epic novel winds its way toward a dramatic and compelling conclusion, as mother and daughter draw ever nearer. Amandine is a sumptuous tale of persistent hope and unexpected love.
To read my review of Amandine click here