Cover image for A hundred suns
Title:
A hundred suns
ISBN:
9781250231475
Edition:
First edition.
Physical Description:
387 pages ; 25 cm
Geographic Term:
Summary:
"An evocative historical novel set in 1930's Indochine, about the American wife of a Michelin heir who journeys to the French colony in the name of family fortune, and the glamorous, tumultuous world she finds herself in-and the truth she may be running from. On a humid afternoon in 1933, American Jessie Lesage steps off a boat from Paris and onto the shores of Vietnam. Accompanying her French husband Victor, an heir to the Michelin rubber fortune, she's certain that their new life is full of promise, for while the rest of the world is sinking into economic depression, Indochine is gold for the Michelins. Jessie knows that their vast plantations near Saigon are the key to the family's prosperity, and while they have been marred in scandal, she needs them to succeed for her husband's sake-and to ensure that her trail of secrets stays hidden in the past. Jessie dives into the glamorous colonial world, where money is king and morals are brushed aside, and meets Marcelle de Fabry, a spellbinding French woman with a moneyed Indochinese lover, the silk tycoon Khoi Nguyen. Descending on Jessie's world like a hurricane, Marcelle proves to be an exuberant guide to ex-pat life. But hidden beneath her vivacious exterior is a fierce desire to put the colony back in the hands of its people, starting with the Michelin plantations, fueled by a terrible wrong committed against her and Khoi's loved ones in Paris. Yet it doesn't take long for the sun-drenched days and champagne-soaked nights to catch up with Jessie. With an increasingly fractured mind, her affection for Indochine falters. And as a fiery political struggle builds around her, Jessie begins to wonder what's real in a friendship that she suspects may be nothing but a house of cards. Motivated by love, driven by ambition, and seeking self-preservation at all costs, Jessie and Marcelle each toe the line between friend and foe, ethics and excess. Cast against the stylish backdrop of 1930s Indochine, in a time and place defined by contrasts and convictions, A Hundred Suns is historical fiction at its lush, suspenseful best"--
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Summary

Summary

On a humid afternoon in 1933, American Jessie Lesage steps off a boat from Paris and onto the shores of Vietnam. Accompanying her French husband, an heir to the Michelin rubber fortune, she's certain that their new life is full of promise. Jessie knows that their vast plantations near Saigon are the key to the family's prosperity, and while they have been marred in scandal, she needs them to succeed for her husband's sake--and to ensure that her trail of secrets stays hidden in the past. Jessie dives into the glamorous colonial world and meets Marcelle de Fabry, a spellbinding French woman who proves to be an exuberant guide to ex-pat life. But hidden beneath her vivacious exterior is a fierce desire to put the colony back in the hands of its people, starting with the Michelin plantations.It doesn't take long for the sun-drenched days and champagne-soaked nights to catch up with Jessie. With an increasingly fractured mind, her affection for Indochine falters. And as a fiery political struggle builds around her, Jessie begins to wonder what's real in a friendship that she suspects may be nothing but a house of cards. Motivated by love, driven by ambition, and seeking self-preservation at all costs, Jessie and Marcelle each toe the line between friend and foe, ethics and excess. Cast against the stylish backdrop of 1930s Indochine, A Hundred Suns is historical fiction at its lush, suspenseful best.


Author Notes

KARIN TANABE is the author of four novels, including The Gilded Years (soon to be a major motion picture starring Zendaya, who will produce alongside Reese Witherspoon/Hello Sunshine for Sony/Tristar). A former Politico reporter, her writing has also appeared in The Washington Post, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, and Newsday. She has made frequent appearances as a celebrity and politics expert on Entertaining Tonight, CNN, and The CBS Early Show.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Tanabe (The Gilded Years) transports readers to the beauty and danger of 1930s Indochina in this stirring, elegant romance. American-born Jessie Lesage leaves Paris with her French husband, Victor, and their daughter, Lucie, in 1933 so that Victor, whose family owns the Michelin tire company, can oversee his family's rubber plantations in Phu Rieng, Cochinchina. Once Jessie arrives in Hanoi, she meets Marcelle de Fabry, the wife of Arnaud de Fabry, a successful Hanoi financier. Marcelle introduces Jessie to the excesses of the colony, inviting Jessie onto a sailboat belonging to her lover, Khoi Nguyen, a silk scion and Communist sympathizer. After Jessie meets Hugh "Red" Redvers, a handsome British man working to expand the railroad in Indochina, Red gives her opium and encourages her to visit the rubber plantations to witness the conditions faced by the workers, which she had yet to see firsthand. As she tries to reconcile love for her husband with her newfound outrage at his industry's abuses, her emotional torment and opium use lead to hallucinations. Tanabe's richly drawn novel is complete with multidimensional characters who gradually reveal their secrets, leading Jessie to discover that her frequent bouts of confusion are not only caused by opium. Fans of historical fiction will be enthralled. Agent: Bridget Matzie, Aevitas Creative Management. (Apr.)


Kirkus Review

Just a month after moving to Hanoi in 1933, Jessie Lesage has lost her husband and daughter in the train station. Why will no one believe her? Why does everyone insist she arrived alone? Happily married to Victor, a lesser member of the renowned Michelin family, Jessie has transformed from the eldest child of impoverished Virginian parents into a polished Parisian socialite. With their young daughter, Lucie, she is eager to help her husband gain a stronger foothold in the family business by moving to French colonial Indochina, where Victor can personally oversee the rubber plantations and factories. Given the recent unrest among the workers, still derogatively called "coolies" in the 1930s, the Michelins need a strong hand to quell potential worker uprisings. Of course, Jessie has a few personal reasons for wanting to leave France, too, including her meddlesome mother-in-law and her own past. Once in Hanoi, the Lesages meet the French expatriates, including Arnaud de Fabry, a prominent financier, and his wife, Marcelle. A former fashion model--turned--bon vivant with an Indochinois silk tycoon for a lover, Marcelle quickly tucks Jessie under her wing. Soon, however, the shadows thicken. Not surprisingly, Victor does discover a communist overseer at one of the plantations. More strangely, on a business mission from Victor, Jessie witnesses a policeman (an officer eager to impress the Michelins) tossing the body of a tortured man into the streets, an event that sets in motion a plot of dastardly intent. Shifting focus back and forth between characters, Tanabe (The Diplomat's Daughter, 2017, etc.) reveals secrets in exquisitely paced steps--just when the reader thinks she knows who can be trusted, Tanabe's tale twists into another back alley, exposing another unexpected skeleton in a closet. With doubt clouding every corner, Tanabe ratchets up the tension as Marcelle seeks political and personal vengeance, and Jessie increasingly cannot tell reality from imagination. A smart, riveting psychological thriller. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.