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Publication in France:
15 March 2018

368 pages

The Lovers of the Summer of ’44

Karine Lebert

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Gemma Harper is a young and ambitious New Yorker whose certainties in life falter when her mother dies. She is drawn to a Normandy that is unfamiliar to her in a quest to discover her origins, which have some connection to a certain Philippine, a woman who led a storybook existence during the Second World War.

2000. Gemma is a sales director in New York. Just like the city in which she lives, she is young, vibrant, pragmatic and attractive.

When her mother dies, Gemma receives a curious letter from a private detective. The missive contains surprising information about an unknown woman who is allegedly her grandmother.

This sets something off inside Gemma and she sets out alone to discover who this mysterious woman named Philippine was. Her quest takes her to Normandy, where she travels around interviewing people who knew Philippine.

As she hears more stories, Gemma realises that everything began in 1944 when the young woman met a Cajun GI from Louisiana called Ethan while engaged in black market activities in Deauville.

Two women, two destinies, two continents, two eras. One is on a quest, and the second gradually reveals her story. Gemma finds a new sense of purpose in life and comes to understand how Philippine paid the price for her freedom.


Karine Lebert was a biographer for fifteen years and then a journalist at Paris Normandie. Her works include Les Sortilèges de Tremblay (2012) and with Presses de la Cité Ce que Fanny veut… (2015), Les Saisons du mensonge (2016) and Les Demoiselles de Beaune (2017).

More information in french