A youth yanked out of the only life he's known to live on the other side of the Atlantic with a grandmother he's never seen before...A mother who shrugs off her son's anguish with breezy assurances like, "You'll love America, Emile."...A father's sudden disappearance from his son's life with no explanation or even a good-bye...
French-born Emile de Bonnery lands in the strange environment of 1960s Atlanta with decidedly mixed emotions. Some memories make Emile want to believe the best of his father. Others cause him to fear the worst. Does his mother know more than she's willing to tell?
Determined to learn the truth, Emile finds an ally and friend, who seems to be hiding secrets of her own. Together they search for answers--and what they find changes everything.
Musser's competent writing marks her latest lengthy foray into inspirational fiction. The novel spans four decades of the life of Emile de Bonnery, a French-born boy who, at age 13, unexpectedly must leave the only home he's ever known for Atlanta in the 1960s. Torn between his belief that his father has abandoned him and his mother for another woman and the idea that his father is a spy, Emile's anger and grief hinder his transition into American life. Then, he meets the odd and strangely attractive Eternity Jones (hence the word play on the title) and is plunged into issues of poverty, racism, alcoholism, faith and abuse. Musser is an excellent writer, but some of the plot developments seem contrived, as when Emile's grandmother pays for a room for an African-American neighbor of Eternity's to celebrate the hotel's desegregation or invites Eternity's family to her home for Thanksgiving dinner. The second half of the too-long novel loses steam. Historical and cultural details enrich the text but the excessive newspaper clippings feel like padding. Although the happily-ever-after ending forgoes any loose ends, Musser keeps the reader guessing about Emile's father until the final pages. Fans of The Swan House should enjoy this.
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Baker Publishing Group
September 30, 2007
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