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Burning Marguerite

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One winter morning James Jack Wright finds ninety-four-year-old Marguerite Deo—the woman he has always known as “Tante”—lying dead in the woods outside his cabin, clad only in a flowered nightgown. With this arresting scene, Elizabeth Inness-Brown ushers readers into her mysterious and lyrical narrative, the story of two closely braided lives that forces a reconsideration of our notions of maternity, loyalty, love, and perhaps death itself.

As James Jack sets out to fulfill Marguerite’s unusual last wishes, the narrative unveils the secrets of their pasts. It arcs from Depression-era New Orleans to a barren New England island at the turn of the century, from an illicit passion and an unforgivable crime to the relationship between a small boy and a tough, reclusive woman who turns out to possess an unsuspected capacity for love.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Dec 24, 2001 – The tragic family circumstances that bring together a young man and the "aunt" who raises him are the subject of this lyrical first novel, which ranges in setting from the rocky Northeast to the sultry South. The story begins on a tiny New England island in the late 1990s, as James Jack discovers the dead body of the 94-year-old woman he knew as his aunt, Marguerite Anne Bernadette-Marie Deo, as he is returning to the cottage they shared. The death sets off a series of parallel flashbacks revealing a tangled web of tragedy and murder that forms the backbone of the two characters' overlapping pasts, with fire as a recurring motif. It was a fire that led to Jack being placed in Deo's care, and that story is relayed, as is some of Jack's twisted family history. A tender account of his budding relationship with Faith, a woman who enters his life just before Deo's death, serves as counterpoint to the story of Deo's early life and her ill-fated affair with a Native American laborer that resulted in a shocking murder. Inness-Brown probes her characters deftly and thoroughly, using landscape and sense of place to augment the plot as the setting shifts to New Orleans and back to New England. Occasionally the chronology of the narrative gets a bit muddled as it switches back and forth between the flashbacks of Jack, Faith and Deo, but there's no doubt about this author's ability to convey the complex passions of her characters. Following on the heels of two well-reviewed short story collections (Satin Palms and Here), this novel represents a solid building block in the foundation of a promising career. Northeast 6-city author tour.
Burning Marguerite
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Feb 12, 2002
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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