Amanda Craig

Rough Paradise

Savage Lands

By

Harvill Secker 384pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Savage Lands begins promisingly, with Elizabeth Savaret, an intelligent young woman, travelling from France to the colony of Louisiana in 1704. Penniless and orphaned, she is one of twenty-three girls who might otherwise never be wed. Before the year is up, she must be married to one of the hundred men wanting a wife. Her grudging aunt can’t wait to see the last of her, but her godfather gives her a soft, warm green quilt and three volumes of Montaigne to take with her into the colony. These two gifts become poles between which Elizabeth’s character oscillates, for both sensuality and the gifts of the intellect offer different temptations in her future life.

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