1930s America, southern high society: part love story, part coming-of-age novel, this is the moving, raw and exquisitely vivid story of an uncommon girl navigating a treacherous road to womanhood.
Thea Atwell is fifteen years old in 1930, when, following a scandal for which she has been held responsible, she is 'exiled' from her wealthy and isolated Florida family to a debutante boarding school in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. As Thea grapples with the truth about her role in the tragic events of 1929, she finds herself enmeshed in the world of the Yonahlossee Riding Camp, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty and equestrienne prowess; where young women are indoctrinated in the importance of 'female education' yet expected to be married by twenty-one; a world so rarified as to be rendered immune (at least on the surface) to the Depression looming at the periphery, all overseen by a young headmaster who has paid a high price for abandoning his own privileged roots...
DiSclafani's name is being bandied around in the same breath as The Secret History's Donna Tartt... A clever and compelling coming-of-age novel - Glamour
Beautiful...steamy...it's a spectacular debut - Adriana Trigiani
Sultry - Independent
Darkly addictive - Express
Sumptuous - Stylist
Exciting, passionate and beautifully vivid - Red
Brilliantly atmospheric - Heat
I fell completely under the spell of Anton DiSclafani's amazing first novel and was gripped by its lush and dreamy evocations of Southern decorum, family secrets, and boarding school rituals. DiSclafani is wildly talented, and this is a sexy, suspenseful, gorgeously written book - Curtis Sittenfeld