Marlena de Blasi
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
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.
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