An intricate tale of both individual stories and of a country in a time of change, where ownership is at once everything and nothing, and where belonging, by contrast, is all
Manon Gaudet is unhappily married to the owner of a Louisiana sugar plantation. She misses her family and longs for the vibrant lifestyle of her native New Orleans, but most of all, she longs to be free of the suffocating domestic situation. The tension revolves around Sarah, a slave girl who may have been given to Manon as a wedding present from her aunt, whose young son Walter is living proof of where Manon’s husband’s inclinations lie.
This private drama is being played out against a brooding atmosphere of slave unrest and bloody uprisings. And if the attacks reach Manon’s house, no one can be sure which way Sarah will turn . . .
Winner of the 2003 Orange Prize for Fiction.
Valerie Martin is the author of ten novels, including Trespass, Mary Reilly, Italian Fever, and Property, three collections of short fiction, and a biography of St. Francis of Assisi, titled Salvation. She has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as the Kafka Prize (for Mary Reilly) and Britain’s Orange Prize (for Property). Among others, Martin’s last novel, The Confessions of Edward Day was a New York Times notable book for 2009.
A new novel The Ghost of the Mary Celeste was published by Nan Talese/Random House in January of 2014, and a middle-grade reader Anton and Cecil: Cats at Sea co-written with Valerie’s niece Lisa Martin, came out from Algonquin in October of 2013.
Valerie Martin has taught in many writing programs, including Mt. Holyoke College, University of Massachusetts, and Sarah Lawrence College. She resides in Dutchess County, New York and is currently Professor of English at Mt. Holyoke College