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Debut novelist Vanderbilt (yes, those Vanderbilts) charmingly wends her way through the memories of wealthy widow Lily Crisp. Lily's story spools from her beloved Olivetti typewriter at the family home in southern France. Lily recounts her travels and her life on an Idaho ranch with Paul, her husband, and his French mother. The house, inherited from her mother-in-law, and passed on to Lily after Paul's death, holds a mystery in the form of a longtime lodger who may or may not have something to do with a slowly teased out tragic secret that sits at the center of Lily and Paul's marriage. Meanwhile, a hunky handyman Lily retains admires more than Lily's typewritten remembrances. Things are slow to start, but about halfway in, the plot picks up and events past and present collide in surprising ways. The story may meander too much for some readers, but those who relish delightful prose and quirky adventuresses should be satisfied. (Oct.)
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In Vanderbilt’s sensuous and scenic debut novel, 50-year-old Lily Crisp leaves her home on an Idaho ranch and escapes to southern France in the hope of putting her life in perspective just two years after her beloved husband Paul’s untimely death. Spending her days basking in sunshine on a French terrace, she obsessively types her history of love and loss on an old typewriter she names Madame Olivetti. And is often happily interrupted by Yves, the strapping young handyman attracted to older women. As Lily’s past comes alive through her fingers on the keys, she begins to understand the fragility and beauty of life. Vanderbilt carefully paints a stunning portrait of love in its many forms—passionate love, married love, sexual love, familial love—set against the lush backdrops of the village on the Côte d’Azur and the rain forest in Chiapas, Mexico. Juggling between the past and present, this emotional tale illuminates the multiple layers of a woman’s healing heart as Lily Crisp realizes that many pages of her life are yet to be written. --Annie McCormickSee all Editorial Reviews
If only I could remember the people who recommended this ridiculous wannabee Lady Chatterley. Watching cotton grow is more seductive than this silly animal coupling. Read morePublished on July 29, 2012 by rooddoood 565
I found this book a wonderful escape in the bleak grey of winter. Lilly looks back on her life while spending time at the family's home on the Cote d'Azure. Read morePublished on January 11, 2011 by P. Salvaggio
i read a lot and it nice when you get a really great book that you cant put down and dont want to end. i hope Annie writes morePublished on June 24, 2009 by susan smith
After her husband Paul dies very unexpectedly,Lily Crisp feels she needs a brief respite from everyday responsibilities to ponder the future, but mostly to savor the past. Read morePublished on December 23, 2008 by Amazon Customer
It IS totally hard to imagine that this is Annie Vanderbilt's first novel (referencing the prior reviewer!)... And yes, she best be working on another book! Read morePublished on December 14, 2008 by Sara L. White
Rating: 4.5 stars
"The Secret Papers of Madame Olivetti" is a wonderfully written novel about Lily Crisp, who takes her typewriter, also known as Madame Olivetti, to her... Read more
THIS BOOK IS RICH IN DESCRIPTION AND TOTALLY CAPTIVATES THE READER WITH THE INTERWOVEN STORY LINE SPICED UP WITH A LITTLE SEXUAL INTRIGUE. Read more