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Excerpt from Villa America by Liza Klaussmann, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Villa America

A Novel

by Liza Klaussmann

Villa America by Liza Klaussmann X
Villa America by Liza Klaussmann
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2015, 432 pages

    Paperback:
    Jun 2016, 432 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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About this Book

Print Excerpt


Next she selected small tips of pine and black maple and dogwood and witch hazel to make a copse for her farm. Then she collected tender heads of Indian grass and planted them in rows in the moss: her wheat field.

She was collecting violets when the storm came. It swept with a sudden violence over the stables and the sunken garden and the hothouse and the pasture beyond, clattered across the house like horses' hooves hitting the ground.

Sara quickly picked up the bowl as well as the violets, which she held lightly in her hand so as not to crush the petals, and hurried towards the house. When she looked back to make sure Hoytie was behind her, she saw that her middle sister was standing, staring up at the deluge.

"Hoytie," she called out. "Hurry up. You'll be soaked."

Hoytie turned to her. Then she stamped her foot angrily and, raising her eleven-year-old fist to the sky, cried indignantly: "It's . . . raining . . . on . . . me."

Sara laughed. "Oh, Hoytie, it's raining on all of us. Come on."

When the girls reached the entrance hall, one of the maids came running with towels. Sara took them and began drying her sister off, catching glimpses of the two of them in the flashing mirrors that hung on the walls.

She wondered at her sister's declaration, how it was some people seemed sure of their place in the world. For her part, she had no idea where she belonged or where she would end up.

When she'd dried off a bit, Sara retrieved the small farmhouse she'd painted — wooden sticks brushed white, the windowsills yellow — and placed it atop her green hill. Then she took her diorama into the Turkish smoking room, where her parents kept all their Middle Eastern treasures.

She set the bowl down on the polished wooden floor, went to one of the glass cases, and pilfered two gold Egyptian figurines: Ramses II and his wife Nefertari.

She placed the king and queen in front of the yellow and white house. They sat there solemnly presiding over their beautiful, lush farm.

Then, as the last touch, she took the delicate purple flowers she'd carried through the storm and floated them on the moat she'd carved out. A perfumed violet-blue sea.

Excerpted from Villa America by Liza Klaussmann. Copyright © 2015 by Liza Klaussmann. Excerpted by permission of Little Brown & Company. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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