Delaune Michel hails from what must be one of the most literary families in all of Louisiana, if not America (in my opinion!). Her mother, Elizabeth Nell Dubus, is an accomplished author in her own right. Her uncle, Andre Dubus, was well-known for his award winning short fiction, and of course everyone has heard of cousins Andre Dubus III (House of Sand and Fog) and James Lee Burke.
Delaune's debut novel, The Aftermath of Dreaming, was published in 2006. I was lucky enough to get an ARC as a bookseller, and I knew that I was holding something very special - and not just because she's from Louisiana, either! Her follow-up title, The Safety of Secrets, hit the shelves in late May. I finally had a chance to curl up with it last Friday evening and I didn't stop until it was finished.
Safety is the story of Fiona and Patricia, best of friends from first grade forward. Both of them are adults navigating their way through Hollywood. Each has followed her own path, but they remain close, sort of. Their lives and their careers have stretched their friendship to a point that it seems as though it almost never was, especially after Patricia spills the beans on a secret the two have kept for over two decades. It seems true that Hollywood does indeed change people and Fiona is forced to face the fact that their friendship may not be able to weather the current events.
Michel maintains something of a light tone throughout the novel in spite of its sometimes tense and very serious moments. It's refreshing, witty, smart, and thought provoking. Overall, it's a story that women everywhere can relate to. Anyone who's ever had a best friend, anyone who's ever trusted their most intimate of thoughts and feelings with another person, will understand and sympathize with these characters.
So join me Saturday in welcoming Delaune, a fellow Louisiana gal and a superb author, to my blog. I'll also be giving away a copy of Delaune's book - more details to come!