After an idyllic childhood in Brittany, sixteen-year-old Mimi is hired as a governess to a Boston family and boards the Lusitania for America. Having grown up with the romantic tale of her grandparents—who met on a Paris-bound train and married the next day—Mimi expects no less passion in her own life.
At twenty-one, she marries a popular fraternity boy, but this is no fairy-tale love and seven years later she is on her own with two daughters. Mimi finds exciting work in Hollywood, dubbing films into French for export. Most of her attention, however, is devoted to the proper upbringing of rebellious Gwen and obedient Jane, who ache to break away from their mother’s loving but domineering grip.
Mimi’s granddaughter, Bridget Dole, explores the aspirations of these three women and their Victorian ancestors against the backdrop of some of the greatest historical events of their time. This absorbing family history—based on carefully researched records, Mimi’s account of life in Brittany, a collection of vivid letters and journals, and the author’s own personal memories—reveals one family’s past in Europe and its beginnings in America.