The Demoiselle Bundle
The first novel in Joanna Biggar’s Demoiselle Trilogy, That Paris Year, follows five smart, adventurous young women who arrive on the banks of the Seine in 1962 for their junior year abroad. What they get is an education of a different sort. J. J., the self-appointed chronicler of the group, tracks their adventures — intellectual, artistic, political, amorous — in those golden days prior to the Kennedy assassination.
Melanie’s Song picks up twelve years later, when one of the demoiselles goes missing. J.J., now a journalist, decides to uncover the fate of the missing Melanie Hart. Once the quietest and most obedient of the group, Melanie has left a trail of letters, journals, and postcards suggesting a psychotic break or a spiritual epiphany. Rumors abound — but what really happened? And where has Melanie gone?
This 2-for-1 bundle gives readers a chance to start from the beginning, tracking the evolution of five women friends through the tumultuous years of the 1960’s and 70’s. In these two books, Biggar intertwines cultural revolutions with personal and romantic upheavals, creating a portrait a unique time in history, and of five women prepared to take advantage of every liberty offered, every shackle removed.
That Paris Year
In 1962, five young women set off from California to spend their junior year abroad at the famous Sorbonne. What they get is an education of an entirely different order. Set in the months leading up to the Kennedy assassination, That Paris Year captures a particular time in history, just before the dawn of the sexual revolution, when women — and men — were re-evaluating their place in the world around them, re-examining the demands of family, society, and self. Plunged into a world where exhausting days of study are juggled with late nights in smoky cafes, each of our heroines must navigate her own way through the pleasures and pitfalls of living in the City of Light. As seen through the eyes of J.J., the group’s self-appointed chronicler, the five interwoven narratives of That Paris Year offer a multi-faceted portrait of what it meant to be an ambitious, intelligent American woman in those charged years between the complacency of the 1950s and the cultural and political upheavals that were to follow.
Set in the era of Woodstock and Watergate, Melanie’s Song centers on a young woman’s mysterious disappearance, and on her friend’s determined search for her.
Melanie, who fled her marriage to a straight-laced classical musician in order to hitch-hike to Woodstock and San Francisco, was last seen at a commune in the California hills. Rumors abound: that she took up with a Black radical; that she had his child; that she and her lover, armed, ran a bank heist a la Patty Hearst; that she developed a mystical gift for spiritual healing; that she died in a possible accidental, possibly staged commune fire.
Trying to sift truth from invention pulls her friend, the young reporter, J.J., into the underbelly of the sexual and social revolutions of the 60s and early 70s, where she encounters corrupt cops, paranoid hippies, activists, mystics, drug-runners,and most astonishingly, Melanie’s own parents. Risking her job, her connections, her life, J.J. follows Melanie’s trail, determined to find out what happened to her once-compliant friend now turned, it seems, into a rebel angel.