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3.41 of 5 stars 3.41  ·  rating details  ·  375 ratings  ·  119 reviews
Marlena de Blasi, the acclaimed author of such delectable memoirs as A Thousand Days in Venice and That Summer in Sicily, now brings her luminous prose to the world of fiction with this remarkable debut novel. Set against the backdrop of Europe as it moves inexorably toward World War II, Amandine follows a young orphan’s journey in search of her heritage.

The story opens in...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 18th 2010 by Ballantine Books (first published May 2010)
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I won on GR's give-a-ways and was a bit disappointed. The synopsis was interesting, the book was not. It was a bit hard to follow, since the narrator changed often, and it was a bit confusing as to who was thinking and when someone was speaking.

This is the story of Amandine, a girl who was taken to a convent to be raised. Amandine at age 5 finds that she is an orphan and wants to find her mother. Set in 1930-1940's during World War II, there is some wartime details and how it must have been to l...more
Tara Chevrestt
I was so looking forward to this novel and it is with much disappointment that I write this.. It stank. I do have one good thing to say about it before I start my litany of complaints tho. The heroine, Amandine, is endearing and likeable. The story begins with her as a baby with a heart problem and follows her as she grows up in a nunnery wondering who her parents were and living way past everyone's expectations.

However, the writing style is terrible. First of all, it is written in present tense...more
Book Concierge
In Krakow in 1931, a baby girl is conceived out of wedlock. The child’s grandmother, a countess, believes that she is protecting her daughter when she claims that the baby didn’t survive. In truth, the countess deposits the infant at a remote convent in the French countryside, leaving her with a great sum of money and in the care of a young governess named Solange. Solange names the baby Amandine, and they form a special bond. But even Solange’s love cannot protect Amandine from the disdain of t...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
It was hard to get into this book, but I really did like it at the end! The beginning is confusing because the author expresses thoughts of individuals in italics. Whan you begin you don't know whose thoughts you are following. When you come to know the different characters there is no difficulty knowing whose thoughts are being projected. I wasn't until the last 3/4 of the book that I could understand why the author chose to use this technique. It is the thoughts of the characters that play a c...more
I borrowed a friend's advance uncorrected proof that she won here on Firstreads. Despite a lot of dark content, the story is just beautiful. I loved Amandine and the relationship between her and Solange. The author's writing style fit so nicely with the story, too. The prose is lovely, and somehow the whole story seems a little distant to the reader, almost surreal, which helped me get through some of the tougher moments. If not for that distance, I surely would have been crying at several diffe...more
Amandine is a rather sweeping, almost epic (without the length) tale of the aforementioned young girl’s life and journey through World War II France. It is more than that, though, and Amandine becomes a thoroughly enticing tale that interweaves, almost seamlessly, three very intriguing plotlines/character interfaces.[return][return]The first plotline is that of Contessa Valeska Czartoryski and her daughter, Andzelika, from whom Amandine the child is born. The countess is a well-rounded character...more
I thought this book started out nicely and was fairly interesting. However, while the second half of this book is realistic (with war time issues) it fails to give us the same details as provided in the first half as time speeds up and the characters cross the countryside over a 10 month period of time- without much detail or interaction with the reader. I felt that I lost connection with Amandine and Solange as they crossed the countryside. I wanted to know how they felt at being so completely...more
Jul 07, 2011 Debra rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Debra by: Cindy
At first the book was very hard to read. It was confusing as to which person was speaking and there was a lot of background information about the characters. After about 70 pages the story became interesting and I was glad I kept with it. Heartwarming story about an infant girl who is sent to a convent to be raised and wants to find her Mother.
This book had many of the components I desire in a book...a foreign location, mystery, WWII time period and unconditional love. It only lacked a romantic angle, and I didn't even miss that. This author, Marlena de Blasi, has written several books about her own experiences as a chef who visited Italy many years ago, fell in love with an Italian, and stayed there. Any book by her I eagerly read.
The plot starts in Poland in 1931, when a baby, born out-of-wedlock to a young woman of inheritance and...more
This historical fiction was a surprise... I liked it! Based on true people/events, it's a sad, yet endearing story. I won this copy from Goodreads, and am glad I did. I might not have read it otherwise.
if you love France, you'll enjoy this novel - a "can't put it down once you start" book! Set in Poland and France from early 1900s through post WWII, it's a good insight into how the French people lived under the Vichy regime and Gestapo/SS. A love story of loss of her mother due to "class differences", a domineering grandmother and resultant search for her mother. A good summer read! Novel is by Marlena deBlasi, author of "A Thousand Days in Venice, Tuscany" - both non-fiction books on her life...more
Amandine de Crecy, a motherless girl being raised in a convent in the south of France, is the central character in this novel set on the cusp of the Second World War. Abandoned at the convent by her birth family, Amandine is raised by the nuns and a former novitiate, Solange Jouffroi. Amandine dreams of finding her mother, and as France capitulates to the Nazis, she and Solange take to the road in search of information about Amandine's mother. Along the way they face the dangers of Nazi occupati...more
Susan Bright
I just finished reading an advance copy of Amandine, which I recieved from Ballantine Books. When a short lived love affair results in the birth of a girl with a weak heart, the child’s grandmother, a countess decides to take matters into her own hands. Thinking she is protecting her unwed daughter, she tells her the child has died and takes her to a remote convent to be raised by a young Governess named Solange. The Countess arrange for the child’s financial needs to be met and in return is ass...more
Ultimately, I really enjoyed this book, but it took me a little while to get into it. However, once I got about 100 pages in, I couldn't put it down.

I loved the characters and could completely feel for them. I actually gasped at one point and was mentally pleading, "no, no, no!" in a couple of different spots in the story. I love when I can get that wrapped up in a story!

What kept me from rating this 5 stars, is that the beginning was hard to follow with the internal monologues. I didn't know th...more
Evie Maiolo
A touching story that was hard to put down, yet written in a way that keeps you at a distance, thus not allowing the reader to emotionally relate to the characters. This was my only disappointment in this book.

From the innocent Amandine who seems to have maturity beyond her years; her heroic and loyal guardian Solange; to the ruthless and hard hearted Mater Paul, the story is full of so much tragedy and hope that it could have evoked a much more emotional response if written perhaps a little les...more
Amandine is born to a noble/aristocratic Polish family's young unwed daughter. The grandmother takes Amandine to a convent in France and sets up her care and then tells her daughter that the baby died of heart complications. After spending almost her entire childhood being raised and educated in the convent, Amandine's caretaker, Solange, decides to leave and bring Amandine with her to her family in the country. WWII is underway, and with the German occupation of France, Amandine and Solange str...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In the fall of 1916, Count Antoni Czaritoski shoots his mistress, the Baroness Urszula Droutzky, and then shoots himself. Fortuitously Andzelika, the Count’s daughter and Pitor, the late Baroness’ brother meet in 1920 and produce a little girl. When the Countess Valeska Czaritoski learns Pitor’s true lineage she attempts to convince Andzelika to end the pregnancy. Unable to convince Andzelika the Countess arranges a guardian for the child and fakes the child’s death. Likewise, the Countess purc...more
Amandine is the first novel written by Marlena de Blasi, an author known for her memoir writing. The story is captivating and the author’s writing is simply beautiful, filled with sense details and unforgettable characters. Amandine is born out of wedlock into an aristocratic family in Krakow, Poland in 1931. She is born with a heart defect and not expected to survive. Under the pretext of bringing her to a hospital in Switzerland, Amandine’s grandmother brings her to a remote convent in France...more
Thank you, Goodreads, for this giveaway.
I just read (and re-read) the last page of this book and was left with chills... This was a lovely story written in beautiful prose. Unlike others who reviewed this book, I didn't mind the switch from 1st to 3rd person and felt that it enhanced and contributed to the overall feeling of hope (with a big dose of melancholy) that was prominent in all of the characters. I found myself empathizing constantly with the child, Amandine, and believed in her will,...more
I enjoyed this book. I struggled a little bit but last night was the right night to read it I guess because I finished it, with about 150 pages!

Basically we have a story of a girl gets pregnant by a young man, unknown to either one of them that he is the brother of the lady her father had an affair with and died over. Her mother knows though and takes revenge by telling her that the baby was sick and didn't make it.

However, the mother has lied. Shocker! She took the baby to a convent to have he...more
This was a First Reads win for me, and I received a copy of the "advance uncorrected proofs." Let me first say that I really liked this book. Whatever criticisms I have about it could have been addressed in the final product, but I don't know that they were. My only complaints are regarding the switching from third person to first person. Usually, when the author switches to first person, the text is in italics (this took some time to get used to, as early on one is not always sure exactly which...more
Amandine was sent to a convent as a baby because her mother dallied with a brother of the woman who was mistress to her grandmother's husband. Since her husband and his mistress committed suicide together the grandmother wants to avoid any hint of scandal. Furthermore, the child has a heart condition which gradually heals with time and care.

The baby has no history so she is called Amandine by Solange, the woman engaged to care for her. She grows to be cherished by almost all the sisters who lov...more
Amandine was a novel full of magical words in an unsettling time in Europe's history. The story centers around a baby left at a French convent with no trace left of her past. Raised as an orphan, she has to surpass a childhood full of trials all the while longing for the mother she never had the chance to get to know. Though World War 2's effects rage through France, she sets out on a journey with her caretaker to find her family, but this itself is no easy task. This part of the novel takes th...more
I received a free advance uncorrected proof through Goodreads giveaways. The author has a wonderful way with descriptions - objects, scenery, character movements, and especially food. It is poetry. I can see why she is a bestselling author in memoirs. I especially liked Solange's first person POV chapter, maybe because the writing seemed more comfortable and natural. I wouldn't call it epic, but several interesting and unexpected things happen along the way. I liked seeing how different people h...more
The opening of this story still makes me think how on earth was this allowed to happen? How can a mother tell her daughter her baby did not survive and then shift that baby off for a potentially lifelong lie? And then I think to myself, I know this is a fictional story but these things have happened in reality in the past and will more than likely happen again in the future, although it may be harder to carry out these days. It’s sad. It leaves me feeling very sad for all of those concerned, for...more
Lauren Murphy
This review was first posted @ The Australian Bookshelf

Amandine is Marlena De Blasi’s first novel following much success with her travel memoirs that tell a tale of her falling in love with a Venetian man and moving to Italy where she moves from Venice to the countryside. I really quite enjoy De Blasi’s writing style which is full of rich pose and poetic descriptions of sceneries, cultures and cuisine. See my reviews for A Thousands Days in Venice and Tuscan Secrets.

Amandine is a baby girl who i...more
Linda C
I thought this was a lovely little book. While it was initially somewhat difficult to get into, I liked it very much by the end. The writing was lovely; the author managed to convey both the horrors of WWII and the fact that life did go on during the war. So many books set in WWII Europe or England basically hit you over the head with bad things happening. This book was incredibly subtle; the many deaths/disasters were written so softly, that the power came from the internal monologues or from t...more
I truly enjoyed reading this book, from beginning to end. Normally, there are spots in books that I deem too long and kind of skim over. Not in this one!

I loved the writing, with De Blasi's lush descriptions of WWII era France, food (got hungry a lot while reading), and people. I simply fell in love with the title character, Amandine. I wept with her, empathised with her, laughed with her, and ultimately, wanted to adopt her.

Her characterizations are wonderful, for each person. You sometimes des...more
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