In 1899, Victorine Texier abandons her small French village, her husband, and her two young children to follow her lover to Indochina. She has fallen for Antoine, her childhood sweetheart, and when his work sends him to Asia she is compelled to go with him, and to leave everything she knows behind. Their five weeks together onboard the ship to Indochina are a kind of honeymoon, a prelude to their liberation in a sultry new world of frangipani trees and monsoons. Victorine gives herself over completely to this exhilarating new life of colonial extravagance — that is, until she encounters her youngest sister, who has also been living in Hanoi and Saigon. This reunion, both joyous and tense, reminds Victorine all too painfully of her life and family in France and forces her to confront exactly what she has done. Vividly narrated through a series of flashbacks, Victorine is a richly textured and passionate story of rebellion, guilt, and unruly love.
From the Trade Paperback edition.