June 4 marks the publication of one the year’s best novels, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls by Anton Disclafani. An exquisite coming of age period piece set amidst the Great Depression, the novel features a strong charismatic female character who is modern in the 1930s and a feminist before there was even such a thing.
About the Book:
A lush, sexy, evocative debut novel of family secrets and girls’-school rituals, set in the 1930s South.
It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.
Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea’s expulsion from her family, but it isn’t long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is an immersive, transporting page-turner—a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression—and the major debut of an important new writer.
About the Author:
Anton DiSclafani grew up in northern Florida, where she rode horses, competing nationally. She graduated from Emory University and received her MFA from Washington University, where she currently teaches creative writing. She lives in St. Louis.
Check back tomorrow for my interview with Anton and look for a review this week.