The Inside Flap:
Combining the romance of the Age of Innocence
and the indomitable spirit of Sense and Sensibility, Out of Eden
delivers a moving story of two women's struggle for control over
their lives and their happiness, which takes the reader from the
societies of New York and Paris to the western frontier, where rigid
rules of decorum are not easily broken. Lydia Fulgate is a widowed
American who arrives in Paris in the second half of the nineteenth
century to enmesh herself in the best social circles in hopes of
finding romance and her destiny. Charlotte Duret is a charming French
woman who becomes disinherited and, in effect, loses her chance
in the Parisian marriage game. What these women have in common,
besides a shared interest in a certain wealthy count, is the growing
realization that their lives and freedoms are governed by men and
the rigid rules of their social set. Lydia and Charlotte boldly
resolve to the pool their remaining money and move to the American
frontier, where their survival will not depend on the largess of
men, but rather on their own wits and hard work.
Determined to create an independent women's community
on the Kansas prairie, the two women extract promises from their
friends to visit and perhaps even join them. While they meet with
some success in establishing their own ranch, they are unprepared
for the hazards that accompany farming life. Lydia and Charlotte's
hope for total autonomy is continually met with skepticism and mistrust.
The allure of the West had promised to be an ideal place for social
renegades; nonetheless, the structured rules of society permeate
even the frontier. These doubts threaten not only their dream but
also their friendship, pushing them both to make costly decisions
about the choices they have made.
Lydia and Charlotte's story is one of extraordinary
strength, perseverance, and love - a powerful portrait of women
in battle for identity and freedom.