The Suitors

Cécile David-Weill. Other Press, $16.95 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-1-59051-573-0
The paper-thin narrative of David-Weill’s third novel doesn’t diminish the book’s delightful rendering of L’Agapanthe, an old French family’s summer estate on Cap d’Antibes dedicated to the art of gracious living. Told in the first person by 30-year-old Laure, the story follows a scheme devised by an eccentric family friend that Laure and her sister set in motion to keep the estate in the family after their parents decide to sell. The sisters invite a series of wealthy men to L’Agapanthe hoping to seduce one into marriage, thereby keeping the estate in the family. Included are each weekend’s formal menus and room assignments, plus descriptions of the guests themselves; their occupations, backgrounds, and ability to fit into a rarefied atmosphere where one’s opinions on culture are only somewhat more important than their level of bourgeois pretentions. Though the sisterly relationship is explored, the estate itself assumes center stage alongside the intricate set of mores and manners of the French elite. David-Weill (Crush) draws readers in as graciously as any good hostess, but because of her personal background—she comes from an old-monied French family who vacation on Cap d’Antibes—readers may wonder if this is a roman à clef and will likely try to play a who’s who guessing game. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2012
Release date: 02/26/2013
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