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L'America
Martha McPhee
Adult Fiction MCPHEE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A soft clash of civilizations disrupts romance in this rapturous but socially acute fable of cross-class love. Sojourning in Europe, 18-year-old Beth, raised by her hippie father on a Pennsylvania commune, finds her polar opposite in Cesare, handsome scion of a 500-year-old Italian banking dynasty. For the motherless Beth, Cesare represents the allure of rootedness and gracious traditions. For Cesare, straitjacketed by family, class expectations and a prospective banking career he dreads, Beth represents America's wide-open possibilities, headquartered at her father's egalitarian but entrepreneurial commune, a refuge for dreamers of all stripes seeking to reinvent themselves. Besotted as they are with each other, Beth and Cesare find themselves drawn apart-Cesare back to the comforting confines of his hometown, Beth to New York, where her idea of home is a succession of illegal sublets and where she commercializes her love of Italy by writing cookbooks and starting restaurants. McPhee's lush, erotically charged prose evokes their erotic obsession-and the glamorous Old World locales where it blossoms-but, as in her well-received family sagas Bright Angel Time and Gorgeous Lies, McPhee's real subject is the larger forces that shape individual lives and passions. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Beth is the adored only child of a Pennsylvania hippie commune leader who spends his whole life grieving over the death of his young wife when Beth was two. Cesare is the son of an ancient Italian banking family whose 500-year-old history dictates that he follow in the footsteps of 19 generations of bankers. When they fall in love in Greece in the Eighties (he is 24 and she just 18), they don't yet know that they don't stand a chance. Year after year, their love and diametrically opposed fates both nourish and torture them; sacrifices of geography, career ambitions, and familial ties deep-six all efforts at compromise or peaceful acceptance of their irreconcilable differences. Theirs is the sort of smart, passionate, all-consuming, impossible love affair that is both breathtakingly sensual, shockingly selfish, and, finally, bafflingly cruel. In her third novel (after Bright Angel Time and Gorgeous Lies), McPhee draws the reader into the lives of this irresistibly spirited, intensely determined couple even though we know by page 12 that their love is doomed. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/05.]-Beth E. Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Cesare
Male
Italian
Surrounded by wealthy and family history; having an affair with Beth.

Beth
Female
American
Raised in a commune by her eccentric father and then by her eccentric grandmother; travels to Europe; falls in love with Cesare.
College student



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