THE ADVENTURES OF
A Coming of Age Story for Adults
MARIA ELENA SANDOVICI
Genre: Contemporary / Women’s Fiction / Coming of Age
Date of Publication: April 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 160
Ana Petrescu (aka Miss Vulpe) is a troubled teenager determined to solve the mystery of her parents’ double suicide. Escaping the scrutiny of her legal guardian and the unwanted interference of several therapists, she starts looking up people from her mother’s past. Her sleuthing requires her to lie about her identity, her age, and her lack of experience with men. While impersonating Miss Vulpe is more fun than going to school, there’s bound to be trouble and heartache when her web of lies unravels.
Who hasn’t, at age 16, wanted more control over his/her everyday life? Ana in The Adventures of Miss Vulpe is no exception. What she can control his her behavior, and that’s where the adventures of Miss Vulpe begin. Ana acts out by lying, stealing, selling fake drugs, rebelling against her guardian, and getting kicked out of Swiss boarding schools. But what Ana really wants is answers about her mother’s life and her alleged suicide.
When Ana finds some clues in her childhood home, she embarks on a journey that provides answers but also propels her into the adult world for which no amount of makeup and attitude can prepare her. As Ana is slowly handed the answers to her questions, she is beset by uncertainty, confusion, and a hefty dose of puppy love for an older man (who, by the way, is one of my favorite characters).
As the story unfolds, some things become clear, and some don’t. Maria Elena Sandovici does a good job of hiding truths from both Ana and the reader, parceling out information and barraging everyone with a big reveal toward the end.
A compelling feature, for me at least, is that the story as a whole has an old world feel, maybe because most of the modern parts take place in Romania, and the flashbacks involving Rogers (Ana’s guardian) and Richard (well, you’ll find out who Richard is in due time) take place in the bayous of Louisiana. The flashbacks start in the 1980s and speed toward the present, clashing and crashing and culminating in more twists and turns than a train wreck. After all the drama settles, the author gently closes the loops and ties the loose ends, leaving Ana with a sense of reconciliation, answers, and hope.
Maria Elena Sandovici lives in Houston with her dog. She travels to Bucharest often and also to Spain, but her favorite trip remains 45 South to Galveston. She has an art studio at Hardy and Nance in the Warehouse District, open the third Saturday of every month, blogs daily at havewatercolorswilltravel.com, and writes poetry in the voice of her dog. She is also the author of three previous novels about women who are struggling with finding their place in the world.
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