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As a young girl, Sylvie revels in the idyll of living in Madagascar, a magical island. When her family moves to Europe to further the children’s studies, however, they are caught in the whirlwind of World War II. For four years, they hide in the deep valleys of France away from the German occupation. They experience fear, starvation, and insecurity—but, through it all, they have hope.

American GIs bring them that hope and, later, freedom. For Sylvie, they also bring a new love. She marries Eric, a young naval officer, and follows him to the United Sates, where she is filled with love for her new country. It seems as if Sylvie’s existence follows history by pure coincidence as she builds a life with her engineer husband in Hawaii, where a son is born to them. As her narrative ebbs and flows, she experiences a host of events that shape her—from meeting scientists who worked on the hydrogen bomb to being introduced to Ronald Reagan.

But there is a mystery in her life that Sylvie does not grasp because of her sheltered upbringing. She will have to meet her nemesis face-to-face and survive. Her quest and love for America helps her understand the true meaning of her life.

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