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“When I untied the ribbons and started reading Audrey’s letters, I was profoundly mesmerized and could think of nothing else….”

 

So begins Eve Sprunt’s enthralling journey into her Aunt Audrey’s past. What she discovers and shares with readers is a story she admits she’d find “rather far-fetched” if she encountered it in a novel.

Growing up, Eve had thought her schoolteacher aunt fussy and old-fashioned. This view was reinforced by her mother—Audrey’s younger sister—who was fond of referring to Audrey as a “drudge.” But, as Eve would discover in dozens of carefully preserved letters she’d written to her colleagues and friends, the reality was vastly more interesting.

Wanting more for herself than the hermetic life of an “old-maid” college instructor, Audrey applied for and received one of the earliest Fulbright travel grants. It carried her to Pakistan—a destination that remains exotic to this day—where she experienced a fateful encounter with a divorced American photographer. Was Brix’s subsequent proposal of marriage the answer to her dreams—or did it signal the end of her career, her hard-won freedom, herself?

Happy endings are different for each of us. Just like Eve—who came to see aspects of herself in her Aunt Audrey—readers will race to learn of the choice Audrey made, and its consequences.