by Catherine Texier
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In this lush, lyrical, and marvelously evocative novel, Catherine Texier takes a mystery from her family's past and draws from it a portrait of a remarkable woman, her great-grandmother Victorine. A young schoolteacher in a quiet province in France, Victorine had married and had two children. But when she falls desperately in love, she makes a startling choice, leaving her family for her lover and a new life in Indochina. On a single day in 1940, as Victorine reflects on her past, we travel back with her, from the willow-lined canals of her childhood home in Vendie to sun-drenched days and languorous nights along the Mekong River at the dawn of the 20th century. Hers is an unforgettable story of adventure and self-discovery, of a woman's struggle between duty and independence, tradition and freedom, longing and regret.