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0803741499 (ISBN13: 9780803741492)
Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.
Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family’s island mansion called Tu Reviens.
Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.” With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn’t know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.
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The house on the cliff looks like a ship disappearing into fog. The spire a mast, the trees whipping against its base, the waves of a ravening sea.
Or maybe Jane just has ships on the brain, seeing as she’s inside one that’s doing all it can to consume her attention. A wave rolls the yacht, catches her off balance, and she sits down, triumphantly landing in the general vicinity of where she aimed. Another wave propels her, in slow motion, against the yacht’s lounge window.
“I haven’t spent a lot of time in boats. I guess you get used to it,” she says.
Jane’s traveling companion, Kiran, lies on her back in the lounge’s long window seat, her eyes closed. Kiran isn’t seasick. She’s bored. She gives no indication of having heard.
“I guess my aunt Magnolia must have gotten used to it,” says Jane.
“My family makes me want to die,” Kiran says. “I hope we drown.” This yacht is named The Kiran.
Through the lounge window, Jane can see Patrick, who captains the yacht, on deck in the rain, drenched, trying to catch a cleat with a rope. He’s young, maybe early twenties, a white guy with short dark hair, a deep winter tan, and blue eyes so bright that Jane had noticed them immediately. Someone was apparently supposed to be waiting on the dock to help him but didn’t show up.
“Kiran?” says Jane. “Should we maybe help Patrick?”
“Help him with what?”
“I don’t know. Docking the boat?”
“Are you kidding?” says Kiran. “Patrick can do everything by himself.”
“Patrick doesn’t need anybody,” Kiran says. “Ever.”
“Okay,” Jane says, wondering if this is an expression of Kiran’s general, equal-opportunity sarcasm, or if she’s got some specific problem with Patrick. It can be hard to tell with someone like Kiran.
Outside, Patrick catches the cleat successfully, then, his body taut, pulls on the rope, arm over arm, bringing the yacht up against the dock. It’s kind of impressive. Maybe he can do everything.
“Who is Patrick, anyway?”
“Patrick Yellan,” Kiran says. “Ravi and I grew up with him. He works for my father. So does his little sister, Ivy. So did his parents, until a couple years ago. They died in a car accident, in France. Sorry,” she adds, with a glance at Jane. “I don’t mean to remind you of travel accidents.”
“It’s okay,” Jane says automatically, filing these names and facts away with the other information she’s collected. Kiran is British American on her father’s side and British Indian on her mother’s, though her parents are divorced and her father’s now remarried. Also, she’s revoltingly wealthy. Jane’s never had a friend before who grew up with her own servants. Is Kiran my friend? thinks Jane. Acquaintance? Maybe my mentor? Not now, maybe, but in the past. Kiran, four years older than Jane, went to college in Jane’s hometown and tutored Jane in writing while she was in high school.
Ravi is Kiran’s twin brother, Jane remembers. Jane’s never met Ravi, but he visited Kiran sometimes in college. Her tutoring sessions had been different when Ravi was in town. Kiran would arrive late, her face alight, her manner less strict, less intense.
“Is Patrick in charge of transportation to and from the island?” asks Jane.
“I guess,” Kiran says. “Partly, anyway. A couple other people chip in too.”
“Do Patrick and his sister live at the house?”
“Everyone lives at the house.”
“So, is it nice to come home?” asks Jane. “Because you get to see the friends you grew up with?”
Jane is fishing, because she’s trying to figure out how these servant relationships work, when one person is so rich.
Kiran doesn’t answer right away, just stares straight ahead, her mouth tight, until Jane begins to wonder if her question was rude.
Then Kiran says, “I guess there was a time when seeing Patrick again, after a long absence, made me feel like I was coming home.”
“Oh,” says Jane. “But . . . not anymore?”
“Eh, it’s complicated,” Kiran says, with a short sigh. “Let’s not talk about it now. He could hear us.”
Patrick would have to have superpowers to hear a word of this conversation, but Jane recognizes a dismissal when she hears one. Peering through the window, she can make out the shapes of other boats, big ones, little ones, vaguely, through the downpour, docked in this tiny bay. Kiran’s father, Octavian Thrash IV, owns those boats, this bay, this island off the eastern seaboard, those waving trees, that massive house far above. “How will we get to the house?” she asks. She can see no road. “Will we ascend through the rain, like scuba divers?”
Kiran snorts, then surprises Jane by shooting her a small, approving smile. “By car,” she says, not elaborating. “I’ve missed the funny way you talk. Your clothes too.”
Jane’s gold zigzag shirt and wine-colored corduroys make her look like one of Aunt Magnolia’s sea creatures. A maroon clownfish, a coral grouper. Jane supposes she never dresses without thinking of Aunt Magnolia. “Okay,” she says. “And when’s the spring gala?”