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Amandine: A Novel
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Amandine: A Novel

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  550 Ratings  ·  140 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
ebook, 336 pages
Published May 18th 2010 by Ballantine Books (first published May 2010)
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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
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved 98% of this book. It's a wonderful story filled with small delights and vivid descriptions told with love. It was hard to put down- so easy to read and such an interesting time and place to read about. Each page was a feast of word and image beauty. The characters were suitably loveable or hateful. There is suspense, drama and culture enough for anyone but it probably would appeal to women more as there are marvellously tender parts related to babies and young children, from a mother's a ...more
Izabella ⋆ Pages Full of Stars ⋆
The premise was interesting but I read first 50 pages and the writing style really isn't for me. I may come back to it some day, if I change my mind, however for now it's "dnf".
Feb 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, hf
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
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
Jun 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 27, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways, abandoned
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  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.
Jun 08, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Charlotte Wallace
This was a sweet story with some interesting characters and a hapoy ending with room for a sequel.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really disliked this book. It had potential to be an interesting historical novel. Some of the characters had the potential to be interesting but they weren't given enough space. The story was too piecemeal and didn't focus enough on any one character. It slipped too often into schlocky and superficial characters and tropes. Some of it was quite offensive, content warning (s/assault) for the spoilers: (view spoiler) ...more
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have groused about this before, but I really hate it when the ending to a book is ambiguous. In this book, shortly before WWII, an infant girl is left with a convent in France, because the baby's royal Polish grandmother doesn't want her family's name to be ruined by this "tragedy." The first half of the book details the baby's growing up in the convent (not a pleasurable experience) and the second half occurs when young Amandine and her guardian leave the convent to head to the guardian's mot ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny that there are so many low ratings. I found this book engaging and interesting. The switching of points of view, the thought monologues and the changing tenses made this book more interesting than if it had been a straight third-person-past type novel.
I enjoyed the way the characters were built up, though the male characters were very 2-dimensional. Especially when compared to the female characters who were for the most part, complex and detailed. Worth reading again and sharing.
May 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lauren K
Jul 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
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
Jul 21, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
Oct 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda C
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
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
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
Apr 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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