From Orange Prize-winning author and Guggenheim Fellow, Valerie Martin comes a timeless story of female agency.
by Valerie Martin
Doubleday, February 2024
(via The Friedrich Agency)
It’s 1954 on far-flung Verona Island, a tropical paradise with a fragile economy and a rising crime rate. Prostitution is legal and Lila Gulliver is proud of her business, a high-end brothel where her clients are guaranteed privacy and discretion. When Carità Bercy, a young, destitute, and beautiful blind woman arrives at her door seeking employment, Lila decides to give her a chance.
Carità proves a valuable asset to the house, as well as a psychological puzzle to her employer. One hot night, Ian Drohan, the young scion of the wealthiest family on the island, visits Lila’s house and falls madly in love with Carità. Lila doubts his sincerity and fears for Carità‘s future. Carità has no such fears. In fact, Carità is a reckless force of nature, determined to succeed in ways Lila hasn’t even contemplated.
Valerie Martin is the author of 11 novels, including The Ghost of the Mary Celeste, The Confessions of Edward Day, Trespass, and Property; four collections of short fiction; and Salvation, a biography of Saint Francis of Assisi. She has been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as the Kafka Prize (for Mary Reilly) and Britain’s Orange Prize (for Property).