Betrayal and a double suicide are among the legacies bequeathed by an aristocratic Polish family to a frail baby girl, illegitimately born in 1931.
Ostensibly to protect her young daughter from shame, but at least as much to vindicate her own unhealed anguish, the child's grandmother, the countess Valeska, abandons the infant in a convent in the south of France, convincing her daughter of her baby's death.
Bright, curious, fearless, the child Amandine wants to know who she is, who is her mother, and where she comes from. Championed by Solange her young French governess and tormented by the aging Abbess and the convent's flock of spoiled upper-class students, Amandine confronts the tragic events of her childhood with unusual courage and grace.
As war looms outside the convent doors, Solange and Amandine flee their oppressors, setting out for Solange's childhood home in the north. What begins as a two-day journey by train becomes a perilous years-long odyssey across Occupied France.
Marlena de Blasi is the bestselling author of A Thousand Days in Venice, Tuscan Secrets, An Umbrian Love Story and That Summer in Sicily. She has been a chef, a journalist, a food and wine consultant and a restaurant critic. She is also the author of two cookbooks of Italian food. She and her husband, Fernando, moved from Venice to San Casciano where Tuscan Secrets was written and now live in Orvieto, the setting for An Umbrian Love Story. Marlena and Fernando also run their own business leading small gastronomic tours through Tuscany and Umbria.
Allen and Unwin
Author: Marlena de Blasi