The Guineveres

The Guineveres

eBook - 2016
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Baker & Taylor
Left by their parents to be raised by nuns, four girls with the same name are bound by their pain and secrets until the assistance they provide to four comatose soldiers tests their bond and their perceptions of home in unexpected ways. A first novel.

McMillan Palgrave

“Deft and lovely…The perfect weight, in all ways. It’s suitable for a vacation, and you can describe it in one inviting line, but then it keeps unfolding and deepening, taking unexpected turns.” The New York Times Book Review

To four girls who have nothing, their friendship is everything: they are each other’s confidants, teachers, and family. The girls are all named Guinevere—Vere, Gwen, Ginny, and Win—and it is the surprise of finding another Guinevere in their midst that first brings them together. They come to The Sisters of the Supreme Adoration convent by different paths, delivered by their families, each with her own complicated, heartbreaking story that she safeguards. Gwen is all Hollywood glamour and swagger; Ginny is a budding artiste with a sentiment to match; Win’s tough bravado isn’t even skin deep; and Vere is the only one who seems to be a believer, trying to hold onto her faith that her mother will one day return for her. However, the girls are more than the sum of their parts and together they form the all powerful and confident The Guineveres, bound by the extraordinary coincidence of their names and girded against the indignities of their plain, sequestered lives.

The nuns who raise them teach the Guineveres that faith is about waiting: waiting for the mail, for weekly wash day, for a miracle, or for the day they turn eighteen and are allowed to leave the convent. But the Guineveres grow tired of waiting. And so when four comatose soldiers from the War looming outside arrive at the convent, the girls realize that these men may hold their ticket out.

In prose shot through with beauty, Sarah Domet weaves together the Guineveres’ past, present, and future, as well as the stories of the female saints they were raised on, to capture the wonder and tumult of girlhood and the magical thinking of young women as they cross over to adulthood.

Publisher: Flatiron Books,, 2016
ISBN: 9781250086600
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Baker & Taylor Axis 360
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks


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Apr 11, 2018

A pretty run-of-the-mill "orphan" coming of age story. The "life at boarding school" scenario is pretty well mined at this point (Bronte, Rowling, etc..) and there's nothing new here. I had trouble seeing any of the four girls as individuals, they were not sharply drawn enough to stand apart from the group. The "backstory" chapters were basically a litany of contemporary social problems. And the vividly horrific life stories of the various saints did not add much to the contemporary narrative.

Still, as the emotional stakes grow higher toward the end , the account of how schoolgirl ideas about romance can actually grow into devotion was rather moving. But there is an unsatisfying ending for the Guinevere who is the main narrator.

Apr 01, 2018

Gave up a third of the way through. In my opinion The four Guineveres weren't real people nor was the time period discernible from the setting description. (What WAS the time period anyway?) Sorry I wasted my time with this book; there are too many other titles on my To Read list.

Feb 16, 2017

It’s possible a catholic background is necessary to fully appreciate this coming of age story of four girls named Guinevere who bond for the simply reason of their names after each was abandoned by their family in a convent/orphanage. Domet totally nails the magical thinking and vulnerability of teen-age girls.

Oct 27, 2016

I really enjoyed this unique coming-of-age story. Four girls named Guinevere become close after being left by their families to grow up in a convent, from which they desperately want to escape. They see a chance to leave when wounded soldiers arrive at the convent, and the girls form a plan to return to the outside world to nurse "their boys"--if the boys ever wake up from their comatose states. Charming and bittersweet, the book shows us how the girls wrestle with questions of friendship, faith, and forgiveness. I loved Sarah Domet's writing--she created a beautiful and melancholic world filled with hope and tragedy and characters who embodied the same qualities. I'm already eager to read more from her.


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