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Starred Review

Lavinia Gibbs flees her life of privilege in 1930s New York and heads to Paris. Born at the turn of the century, she has disgraced her family by spurning her boring fiancé. Lavinia settles into a quiet middle-aged life of small activities until her restlessness propels her to begin working for Gaston Lesseur, a banker who is readying the apartment of his late father-in-law for sale. Gaston, an occasional lothario who is fond of his wife and will never leave her, is taken with Lavinia’s American independence. What begins as an employer/employee relationship conducted mostly through correspondence explodes into a passionate affaire de coeur. With the drumbeat of war sounding evermore in the background, Mosby takes her readers through the heady details of a new romance that blinds lovers to the costs of adultery. The tensions of war and the strain of an illicit union collide in the author’s now signature twist of fate, resulting in an ending both startling and fitting. Mosby first introduced Lavinia in The Season of Lillian Dawes. Readers entranced with the beautiful precision of Twilight will demand this earlier title. Highly recommended.