THE ADVENTURES OF
A Coming of Age Story for Adults
MARIA ELENA SANDOVICI
Genre: Contemporary / Women’s Fiction / Coming of Age
Date of Publication: April 7, 2017
Number of Pages: 160
Ana Petrescu (aka Miss Vulpe) is a troubled teenager determined to solve the mystery of her parents' double suicide. Escaping the scrutiny of her legal guardian and the unwanted interference of several therapists, she starts looking up people from her mother's past. Her sleuthing requires her to lie about her identity, her age, and her lack of experience with men. While impersonating Miss Vulpe is more fun than going to school, there's bound to be trouble and heartache when her web of lies unravels.
Excerpt from The Adventures of Miss Vulpe
By Maria Elena Sandovici
Rogers smiled at me. The bayou grew darker. Trees were sprouting out of the water, half green, half swallowed by rot. The insects grew louder. The old man still didn’t speak. The wooden construction with the shabby pier where we stopped didn’t strike me as a dwelling fit for living. Was it the old woman’s boat house? Rogers nodded at me, and I grabbed my backpack. I was trying to look through the trees to see the actual house, but all I saw was green wilderness. Rogers gave the man money. Not much. He gave him a fistful of bills, the largest of which was probably a ten. The money looked crumpled and sweaty and I then realized that Rogers was nervous too, even if he now seemed to me more grown up than his thirteen years. The man reached into a satchel I hadn’t noticed before, and handed Rogers something that looked like a dead animal. I thought I’d already caught malaria and was seeing things.
“It’s a squirrel,” Rogers explained. “Mawmaw will cook it for supper. It’s real good.”
At that the man in the boat smiled for the first time since we’d met him. We stepped onto the pier. I figured the boards might be rotten, but Rogers led the way carrying his squirrel, and if his boyish hand was sweating onto its matted fur, his smile didn’t waver. So I mimicked his confidence and followed.
The old woman was sitting in a rocker on the porch. I didn’t see her at first. She had her minou with her, that crazy black cat that was constantly watching us. She said something in French.
“English, Mawmaw,” Rogers said.
“So you the rich boy,” she said to me, taking the squirrel from Rogers. I half hoped he was joking about us eating that beast, though the other, more adventurous side of me was dying to taste it. The old woman clicked her tongue, and I wasn’t sure if it was at the dead squirrel or at me, the rich boy. Her eyes made me uncomfortable. Though she was white, she had the eyes of the people on the train.
“You eat squirrel before?” she asked, laughing.
I shook my head. “No, Ma’am.”
“You’ll like it,” she said and her eyes became kinder. She reached a bony hand to tousle my hair, and she winked at me as she opened the creaky door and went into the house. We grabbed our backpacks and we followed. Minou sat in the doorway and spat. The old woman scolded her in French and threatened her with a gnarly broom. Minou spat again, undeterred and refused to budge. The door stayed open letting in the wet heat of the bayou.
Maria Elena Sandovici lives in Houston with her dog. She travels to Bucharest often and also to Spain, but her favorite trip remains 45 South to Galveston. She has an art studio at Hardy and Nance in the Warehouse District, open the third Saturday of every month, blogs daily at havewatercolorswilltravel.com, and writes poetry in the voice of her dog. She is also the author of three previous novels about women who are struggling with finding their place in the world.
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