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The Girl in the White Cape

Barbara Sapienza



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01 November 2023
Fifteen-year-old Elena lives in a church attic in San Francisco’s Richmond neighborhood, where she is cared for by her guardian, a kind Russian priest named Father Al. Six days a week, Father Al sends her out of Our Lady, across the meadows and ponds of Golden Gate Park, and all the way to Baba Vera’s house on Taraval Street for Baba’s version of school.

Unlike regular school, however, Elena’s learning is unnerving. Baba Vera’s preposterous demands, dizzying antics, and house—which is full of skeletons, brooms, strange implements, and guinea pigs, among other oddities—seem straight out of a Russian fairy tale Father Al used to read to Elena . . . not life in 2020. If not for her beloved doll, Kukla—bequeathed to her by the mother she never got to know, but of whom she often dreams—Elena would be overwhelmed. Yet she works hard at every task given her, understanding intuitively that there is a purpose to every one of her grandmother’s strange assignments.

Frank, a young taxi driver, enters Elena’s world on the day he delivers a strange, witch-like woman named Anya to Our Lady. Upon meeting Anya and Elena, a dream-world begins to spin for him—and he feels a deep, protective pull toward Elena. In the days that follow, Frank devotes himself to saving her from the harm he is sure Anya intends toward her. What he comes to understand, as he enters more deeply into Elena’s story, is that she has magic of her own. He thought he was supposed to save her—but in the end, the two of them may just save each other.

Imprint:   Miscellaneous
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 215mm,  Width: 139mm, 
ISBN:   9781647425036
ISBN 10:   1647425034
Pages:   256
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Barbara Sapienza, PhD, is a retired clinical psychologist and an alumna of San Francisco State University’s creative writing master’s program. She writes and paints, nourished by her spiritual practices of meditation, tai chi, and dance. Her family, friends, and grandchildren are her teachers. Her first novel, Anchor Out (She Writes Press, 2017), received an IPPY Bronze for Best Regional Fiction, West Coast. Her second novel, The Laundress (She Writes Press, 2020), received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. Sapienza lives in Sausalito, California, with her husband.

Reviews for The Girl in the White Cape

I identify with Elena's journey as she faces the unknown and opens herself to magical connections with others. She is afraid, but she still leans into and trusts an inner intuition that guides her, teaching us that even as we encounter darkness, new ways of seeing can be found. -Gail Warner, author of Weaving Myself Awake: Voicing the Sacred Through Poetry

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