Fri 24 Apr 2009
Like so many authors, Julie Berry was a reader as a child, but she grew up on a farm, so there were also many things to do — play with the pigs, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, cats, and dogs; catch minnows, crawdads (crayfish for the northerners), frogs, and turtles; and probably muck out stables and other icky chores, but she described it as “[h]eaven.” The youngest of seven children, she’s now got four sons of her own, a husband, a cat, a B.S. in communications from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an M.F.A. from the Vermont College of the Fine Arts, and a published novel — this one.
Our heroine, Lucinda Chapdelaine, is the daughter of wealthy merchants — or was, until they passed away under odd circumstances. Now she’s an assistant in her uncle’s jewelry shop; well, essentially the slave of her aunt, who works her to the bone, abuses her, and tells Lucinda that she should be grateful for all that they’ve done since her parents died and left her with nothing. One day a mysterious woman comes into the shop, and asks to have Lucinda’s uncle reset a jewel for her. It’s actually a very large pearl, and it sets off an odd series of events that turn Lucinda’s life completely upside down. Who is the mysterious woman? Why do so many people want the pearl? And will her life ever settle down? (more…)