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It was summertime, and the tourists in Paris were thick and the food delicious, but I remember very little about the beauty of the city, the sites, or the art in the Louvre. The memory that always surfaces, all these years later, is the man sitting at a little table by a sidewalk café gaping at me and my beautiful sister as we walked down the street. He watched us in wonder and kept watching, tipping way back in his chair, trying to get a better look as we moved past, only to fall over backwards onto the cobblestones.
He laughed at himself as we laughed at him, and he stood and bowed and blew kisses our way. I admit, we were charmed. It was a long way from home for two little American girls who grew up in the middle of nowhere, where chickens and horses and huge fields of grain were more prevalent than people. But the man at the café, who seemed so awed by us, made us feel welcome, silly as he was. Paris made me feel beautiful, and I promised myself I would return someday.
That was twenty-three years ago, and I have yet to return. My books made it to France before I did. L’infini + un, Nos Faces Cachées, and now, La Loi du Coeur, grace the shelves of stores on cobblestone streets. Three of my novels have been published for French readers all over the globe, my stories traveling to places I have never been.
But in December, I will return to France for the Montreuil Book Fair, and I can’t wait. Not only will I return to Paris, but with my new release, La Loi du Coeur, I get to invite French language readers to visit my part of the world as well. The setting of La Loi Du Coeur is Levan, Utah, the small town where I was raised. I get to introduce you to the quiet expanse of rolling hills and views that go on forever. Together, we will travel the dusty streets of the little community where I grew up. It isn’t a perfect place. There are no perfect places. But it is home, and I can’t wait to open my doors to you as I welcome my main character, Moses Wright, to Levan in La Loi du Coeur.
When my French language readers turn the pages of La Loi Du Coeur, they will read the story of the brilliant but troubled Moses and small-town girl Georgia Shepherd, who isn’t so very different from the girl I was at eighteen. Maybe you will get to know me better as you get to know Georgia, a girl with a big heart and very little real-world experience. In La Loi du Coeur, I get to share myself, my life, and my town—with all its faults and foibles—with people around the world, and I marvel at the full circle my life has made.
Maybe you won’t relate to Moses—he might be hard for you to love—but I hope you’ll try. The child of a white heroin-addict mother who died days after his birth, and an unknown black father, Moses Wright has spent his whole life being passed around. He is feared. He is resented. He is lost. And he is gifted with a strange and glorious talent to paint and see things others cannot, making him stand out even more in a town made up of people who are nothing like him.
Maybe you will sympathize with him, a troubled young artist, who goes to live with his maternal grandmother in Levan to finish high school. Maybe, like Moses, you will feel like an outsider, trying to understand the people and the culture of this small town. Maybe, like Moses, you will want to run far, far away and never look back. But you might find yourself falling in love too, in spite of everything.
My life was forever changed all those years ago when I got to experience people and places I had only dreamed of. Now it is your chance to come into my world. Open the pages of La Loi du Coeur, and let your heart lead the way. I promise you, the journey will be worth it.