Born to immigrant parents in Minnesota just before the turn of the century, Frances Frankowski grew up coveting the life of her best friend, Rosalie Mendel. And yet, decades later, when the women reconnect in San Francisco, their lives have diverged. Rosalie is a housewife and mother, while Frances works for the Office of Naval Intelligence and has just been given a top-secret assignment: marry handsome spy Ainslie Conway and move to the Galápagos Islands to investigate the Germans living there in the build-up to World War II.
Amid active volcanoes, forbidding wildlife and flora, and unfriendly neighbors, Ainslie and Frances carve out a life for themselves. But the secrets they harbor—from their friends, from their enemies, and even from each other—may be their undoing.
About the author
Allison Amend, a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, is the author of the novels A Nearly Perfect Copy, Stations West, which was a finalist for the 2011 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the Oklahoma Book Award, and Enchanted Islands. She is also the author of the Independent Publisher’s Award-winning short story collection Things That Pass for Love. She lives in New York City where she teaches creative writing.
Amend vividly imagines the life of Frances Conway over 80 years of radical change in the United States and the world, exploring topics as diverse as the complexity of female friendship over time, the changing roles allowed women, and the unexpected turns of a life well lived.