ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Based on the true story of French 19th century Count de Castelnau and his illicit love affair with an upper class daughter of Brazilian Portuguese descent, this novel is told through the voices of the main characters, and the lawyer called in to deal with the count's estate after his death in Melbourne. Francois is on an exploration in Brazil when he falls seriously ill and is delivered to the Fonceca plantation by his native guide. Carolina, the headstrong 16yo daughter falls passionately in love with the older Count, and he reciprocates - without telling her he has a wife and son back in France. When they are forced to marry by Carolina's brutal brother, she discovers her perilous position - but makes a decision which will have far-reaching consequences. Francois takes a position in the newly prosperous city of Melbourne, and the two maintain a façade of respectability, but their secrets undermine their happiness. It took me a little while to get used to the various forms of narration, but the story is one of those fact-is-stranger-than-fiction tales, and quite engrossing, with vivid characterisation and colourful settings. Lindy
Caroline Petit was born in Washington D.C., raised in Maryland and now lives in Melbourne with her husband. She is a graduate of Chatham College in Pittsburgh that included studying at The London School of Economics, and holds advance degrees from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Melbourne's School of Law and a Graduate Arts Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing from RMIT. Her previous novels, The Fat Man s Daughter and Deep Night, were published in the US by Soho Press.