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Starred Review
April 1, 2005

Mosby has painted an achingly beautiful portrait of a woman hovering desperately on the edge of self-realization. Raised by an indifferent mother and an unyielding father, New York debutante Lavinia Gibbs is not quite beautiful enough and far too clever to dazzle the rarified social circle in which she travels  —  nor does she want to settle into a mind numbing marital routine in order to escape the stigma of spinsterhood. When a thirty-something Lavinia has the temerity to break off her better-late-than-never engagement to a suitably stuffy member of the upper crust, she willingly shoulders the ill will of her parents and siblings, fleeing to pre-World War II Paris with a small monthly allowance and a large dollop of hope. Diminished by both her family and society, she takes her first shaky steps toward freedom and fulfillment by embarking upon a steamy affair with a married Frenchman. However, when the Germans march into Paris, she discovers that passion and love exact a heavy price that must be paid in full. With a surprise ending reminiscent of Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, this poignant character study traces the precarious evolution of a heart and a mind.