Laura Kalpakian Educating Waverley

ISBN 13: 9780380806607

Educating Waverley

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9780380806607: Educating Waverley

In 1939 young Waverley Scott arrives on remote Isadora Island in the Puget Sound. She is to be a student at Temple School -- banished because her features too closely resemble those of her mother's married employer.

The headmistress of this all-girl school, Sophia Westervelt, has a mysterious past and a passion for education. She instills achievement into her students, confident that one day they will have "dinner with the King of Sweden," because they will win the Nobel Prize. Under Sophia's direction, Waverley grows as her own abilities and vision expand. But far away in Europe, nations clash, and even isolated Isadora Island feels the impact.

Sophia struggles to keep Temple School going, though formidable forces combine against her. And in the midst of this turmoil, Waverley experiences love for the first time -- a love so fierce that, like her education, it will shape the rest of her life.

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About the Author:

Laura Kalpakian has received a National Endowment of the Arts, a Pushcart Prize, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award, and the first Anahid Literary Award for an American Writer of Armenian descent. Her novels include Steps and Exes, Graced Land, Caveat, and These Latter Days. Her short fiction has been gathered in three collections, including Fair Augusto, which won the PEN/West Award for Best Short Fiction. She lives in Washington State with her two sons.

From Publishers Weekly:

Kalpakian's narrative skill and interest in generational legacies are evident in her latest novel, in which the theory of progressive education becomes the catalyst for a fateful intertwining of several lives. The setting is Temple School, founded by Sophia Westerveldt, the daughter of a lumber tycoon. Sophia had an affair with avant-garde painter Denis Aron in France, where she'd gone to develop her artistic sensibility before WWI. After the war she returned to Washington and, with her husband, started the experimental school for "North American Women of the Future" on Kalpakian's trademark setting, Isadora Island in Puget Sound. Waverly Scott, the 14-year-old illegitimate daughter of a rich man and his secretary, arrives at the school in 1939. Although Temple is past its prime, the next two years are the most important of Waverly's life, because she meets Avril Aron, the daughter of Sophia's old lover, who in 1940 is sent from occupied Paris. Avril and Waverly eventually become "Wavril," two bodies, one soul. Both girls fall for Sandy Lomax, a local boy with aspirations, who becomes Wavril's lover in a teen menage a trois. Their summer of love is cut short when Waverly's mother removes her from the school. While Waverly fails to adjust to mainstream life, Avril marries Sandy and gives birth to a daughter before an accident changes everybody's life. Two decades later, Waverly returns to Isadora, where, adopting the nom de plume of Nona York, she becomes a successful romance writer. Memories of her youth are forcefully rekindled when her summer temp turns out to bear the legacy of long-ago love. References to characters in her previous Steps and Exes add depth to Kalpakian's story, but the narrative's main appeal lies in the well-kept secrets that eventually surface, casting the shadow of history on destinies formed in the wake of tragic events.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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