Laughter, tears, the transformative power of love, unexpected revelations, and striking natural beauty: these are the ingredients that combine to make best-selling author Virginie Grimaldi’s English debut the feel-good read of 2024. Grimaldi is among France’s top ten contemporary authors and her uplifting, unputdownable literary novels have quickly garnered her millions of adoring fans. This, her American debut, is among her most delicately wrought and emotionally compelling novels to date.
Emma and Agathe are sisters. They were thick as thieves when they were young but have always been as different as can be. Agathe, the younger sister, is disorderly, chaotic, and fiery. Five years older, Emma has always been the more mature sister, the defender, the protector, the worrier. Their relationship as adults is scarred by a tragedy that transformed their happy, ordinary childhoods into something much more complex and challenging. For a long time, Emma hasn’t wanted to be involved in Agathe’s life. But then they must return together to the Basque Country, to the house of their adored grandmother, to empty out her home and in the process to reconcile, to remember, and to pour out what is in their hearts.
The story alternates between Agathe and Emma’s childhood and their present day, with everything in between, and readers see them as young girls, teenagers, young women, mothers, wives, partners, individuals, sisters. This is a story that encompasses whole lives, complex lives, women’s lives, asking all the while how the scars of the past can be healed and what, in the end, is a good life.
Virginie Grimaldi was born in 1977 in Bordeaux, where she still lives. She is the author of nine novels and was the most read French writer for three consecutive years (in 2019, 2020, and 2021). Her novels have been bestsellers in Europe and have been translated into more than twenty languages.