'What a vivid and complete world . . . vigorous and intense, energetic and absorbing. Clare Clark is one of those writers who can see into the past and help us feel its texture. An extraordinary feat of imagination.' -- Hilary Mantel, author of 'Wolf Hall' ' New York Times Book Review'Editor's Choice * Longlisted for the Orange Prize' For fifteen 'sols 'a day and a trunk of linen and lace, she had sold herself into exile, the property of the King of France until, in a savage land on the other side of the world, a man she had never met might take her in marriage...' It is 1704, and Elisabeth is among those virtuous few who will be known as casket girls, women recruited through churches to travel from France to Louisiana as wives for its lonely, struggling settlers. Educated and skeptical, she has little hope for happiness in her new life, but she finds herself surprisingly, passionately in love with her charismatic, ruthlessly ambitious new husband. Betrayal is as much a part of the new world as the old, though, and Elisabeth will find many surprises in her new home--deception by those she loves and love for those she never expected to know. 'Powerful . . . Clark's commitment to historical color is matched by the dramatic arc of an engrossing story.' --'Washington Post' 'Genuinely a story to lose yourself in, an intense and satisfying read.' --'Times '(UK) CLARE CLARK is the author of 'The Great Stink, ' a 'Washington Post 'Best Book of the Year, and 'The Nature of Monsters.' Praised by Hilary Mantel, Amanda Foreman, and the 'New York Times Book Review 'for her verve and intelligence . . . [and] the originality of her imagination, Clare Clark has become a rising star in historical fiction. Elisabeth is among twenty-three girls who set sail from Francefor the new colony of Louisiana tobe married to strangers. Although she has little hope for happiness in her new life, she finds herself passionately in love with her new husband, Jean-Claude, a charismatic and ruthlessly ambitious soldier. But betrayal is as much a part of the new world as the old, and when Elisabeth finds herself deceived by her husband she also finds herself bound to a poor cabin boy in a way she never anticipated. Clark creates a world that is both incredibly real and incredibly dazzling. And with the same compelling prose and vividly realized characters that won her widespread acclaim for'The Great Stink'and 'The Nature of Monsters,' she takes us deep into the heart of colonial French Louisiana.'