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Amandine : a novel / Marlena de Blasi.

By: De Blasi, Marlena.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, c2010Description: 389 pages ; 19 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781741757125 (pbk); 9781742377551 (pbk).Subject(s): Nobility -- Poland -- Fiction | Illegitimate children -- Fiction | Girls -- Fiction | Guardian and ward -- Fiction | Convents -- Fiction | Governesses -- Fiction | Birthmothers -- Fiction | World War, 1939-1945 -- France -- Fiction | Nobility Poland FictionGenre/Form: Historical fiction.DDC classification: 813/.6
Contents:
1931-39 : Montpellier -- May-June 1940 : Krakow, Paris -- June 1940 : Montpellier -- June 1940-April 1941 : journey through France -- April-July 1941 : letters from Andzelika to Janusz -- May 1941 : the same village in Bourgogne -- May 1941-November 1945 : Val-d'Oise -- November 1945 : on a train in Paris.
Summary: Krakow, 1931. A baby girl is born out of wedlock, and deposited at a remote convent in the French countryside. Amandine is raised by her governess, Solange. As global war looms, the two flee toward Solange's childhood home, and begin a perilous, years-long odyssey across Occupied France-- and deeper into the treacheries of war.
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Item type Current location Collection Call number Copy number Status Date due
Fiction Davis (Central) Library
Fiction Collection
Fiction Collection DEB 1 Checked out 05/10/2020

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

The first novel from internationally bestselling author, Marlena de Blasi, Amandine is a sweeping historical drama of love, loss and family.

1931-39 : Montpellier -- May-June 1940 : Krakow, Paris -- June 1940 : Montpellier -- June 1940-April 1941 : journey through France -- April-July 1941 : letters from Andzelika to Janusz -- May 1941 : the same village in Bourgogne -- May 1941-November 1945 : Val-d'Oise -- November 1945 : on a train in Paris.

Krakow, 1931. A baby girl is born out of wedlock, and deposited at a remote convent in the French countryside. Amandine is raised by her governess, Solange. As global war looms, the two flee toward Solange's childhood home, and begin a perilous, years-long odyssey across Occupied France-- and deeper into the treacheries of war.

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Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Part 1 1931-39 Montpellier Chapter One Old plane trees reach limb to limb over the wide avenue and, under the parasols of yellow September leaves, a wide black Packard glides. Stippled light, rose and bronze, falls here and there upon three passengers. Funereal in their silence, there are two women and a man. One of the two women holds an infant. A small wedge of light lies across the infant's face, makes blue-black gems of its eyes. The infant is not disturbed by the light, neither closes its eyes to it nor looks away but keeps its gaze, steady and thoughtful, upon the woman who sits on the tufted gray divan across from it, her head turned to face the window. Sullen, aloof, a black-liveried chauffeur drives more slowly than he might. The only sound is the pft, pft, pft of tires rolling over asphalt. I wish she would keep the creature covered. Why has she taken off its bonnet? Undone all the swaddling when we're so close to the convent? We must be coming upon it. I won't ask Jean-Pierre another time how much longer? How much longer? My neck hurts from twisting it to look away from the creature for all these hours. I can't help but see now how she's grown. I've not really looked at her since the night she was born. What possessed me to ask the nurse to bring her to me then? I'd forbidden Andzelika to see her, and yet I called for her. Seeing her was like seeing Andzelika for the first time. I reached out for her just as I'd reached for my daughter. My arms ached for her as though she were mine. She is mine. I must think of her that way. She is mine and it is I who have chosen not to keep her. Andzelika is seventeen. An unripe seventeen who mourns the boy and cares nothing for the child. Her maternal impulse benumbed, it's as though she carried it and bore it only for him. A dubious gift for he who'd run so fast and far from her. Cunning. Like all his tribe. Of all the boys and men to whom Andzelika might have given herself, why to him? What is this viperous pull between his family and mine? Were not two deaths enough to extinguish it? If only I'd understood on that first evening who he was. Fierce black eyes, fine white hand raking the great shock of his glossy hair. A bolshevik's scorn in the depth of his bow. I can hear Stas saying, "Ciotka Valeska, Aunt Valeska, may I present my friend from the academy, Piotr Droutskoy." Yes, yes, welcome. Of course, be welcome. Your name means nothing, you mean nothing. Another knight-errant, are you? Or a blue-blooded cavalier of slender means? Yes, you'll round out the table nicely for a fortnight. I might have shot him right there in the courtyard in the fickle light of the torchières. Had I understood. Rather I welcomed him. Stas's chum. Yes, yes, please do stay. Adam scurried to take their things up to the third floor. And then he took Andzelika. The brother of Antoni's adored, whorish girl took my daughter. The brother of the enchanting baroness Urszula. Urszula. The wide Titian flanks of her twined about my husband even in death. How many nights had they slept like that? Antoni's hunting expeditions, his business in Prague, in Vienna. Visits to the farms, the villages. Always with her. Always with Urszula. Two bursts from a pistol so they could sleep like that forever. Will I never be free from the sight of her, of them? Toussaint stood behind me as I looked from the doorway that morning, his hands iron grips upon my shoulders. What was it that he whispered then? "Even Rudolf and his baroness had the decency to cover themselves." Toussaint moved in front of me then, bent to retrieve Antoni's kontusz from the marble flags of the floor where it had been flung. How he'd loved that coat, symbol of his sympathy for the peasants. He'd push the split sleeves high above those of his shirt or his leather jacket and strut about, the breeze inflating the long fullness of it as he went. Toussaint covered them with the coat, the right shroud for a Excerpted from Amandine: A Novel by Marlena de Blasi All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

The best-selling author of such culinary treasures as A Thousand Days in Tuscany and A Thousand Days in Venice makes her fiction debut with this historical novel set in World War II France. The story centers on Amandine, an aristocratic child raised as an orphan in a convent. We follow her as she survives the hardships and cruelty of both life in the convent and the war-torn world. As Amandine experiences loss after loss, her longing grows for the mother she never knew. Yet Amandine is able to embrace the beauty and love of those who care for her. VERDICT The sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Amandine's journey through life are palpable, and the reader shares in the sensual nature of the food described. The story is captivating, the characters are alive, and readers will hunger for more as the novel ends. Truly, de Blasi can be considered the Julia Child of fiction. A wonderful read for both fans of historical fiction and women's fiction and one that shouldn't be missed. [Library marketing.]-Melody Ballard, Pima Cty. P.L., Tucson, AZ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

De Blasi, a bestselling memoirist (A Thousand Days in Venice) and food-writer, makes a solid fiction debut with this poignant tale of an orphan growing up in Europe as it descends into WWII. Amandine Gilberte Noiret de Crecy, an illegitimate child born into Polish royalty and ditched at five months by her grandmother at a convent in Montpellier, grows up surrounded by a loving governess, Solange Jouffroi, and adoring nuns and priests. Yet the bitter abbess, Mother Paul, who runs the convent, inexplicably loathes her. Aware of this hatred and longing to find her birth mother, Amandine becomes a serious child who believes there is something wrong with her. After a rash of scarlet fever breaks out at the convent, Solange decides to take Amandine to live with her family, and not long after they leave the convent grounds, they are confronted with the horror the war has brought to France, which has especially dire consequences for Solange. In de Blasi's tale of unexpected turns taken during the search for understanding and identity, she balances heartbreak, loneliness, fear, and hope with aplomb. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

Orphaned Amandine grows up in a convent in southern France. The inconvenient offspring of Eastern European nobility, she had been spirited out of Poland to Montpellier in infancy. Daily she has to endure the implacable ill will of the Abbess, who keeps her aloof from the rest of the children in the convent school. But Amandine's spirited governess treats her tenderly and helps Amandine through the normal anxieties of a young girl wondering where or even who her mother might be. Amandine's unrequited yearnings stoke her imagination, growing yet more intense as she reaches young adulthood. Then the Nazi invasion of France upends her serene environment but offers new opportunities for Amandine to fulfill the quest to discover her first identity. Wartime France provides a vivid, dramatic background, and De Blasi's experience as a food writer makes her descriptions of meals throughout the book even more evocative.--Knoblauch, Mark Copyright 2010 Booklist