A Long Way from Verona

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Jane Gardam’s marvelous stories of young girls on the threshold of womanhood—God on the Rocks and Crusoe’s Daughter—have delighted fans and critics alike. These “modern classics” (The Independent) are now joined by a new novel that is equally fresh and genuine, comic and touching. Jessica Vye introduces herself with an enigmatic pronouncement: “I ought to tell you at the beginning that I am not quite normal, having had a violent experience at the age of nine.” A revered author has told Jessica that she is, beyond all doubt, a born writer. This proves an accurate prediction of the future, one that indelibly colors her life at school and her preception of the world. Jessica has always known that her destiny would be shaped by her refusal to conform, her compulsion to tell the absolute truth, and her dedication to observing the strange wartime world that surrounds her. What she doesn’t know, however, is that the experiences and ideas that set her apart will also lead her to a new and wholly unexpected life. Told with grace and inimitable wit, A Long Way to Verona is a wise and vivid portrait of adolescent discovery and impending adulthood.

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