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Lila's Protege
Jeannine Van Eperen
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In 1954 Jeffrey Laurance leaves all he has known behind him to embark on a singing career in the United States, fostered by Lila Lubow, a beautiful actress who discovers him in a small fishing village in France and sees his potential. Lila had made a similar trip herself when she left a small town in Austria to find fame and fortune. Will being Lila’s protégé bring the young man success and happiness?

He stood in the shadowy doorway, heard the gulls' angry cries, and smiled to himself as he moved from the rusty half-screened door and leaned against the drab, grey stucco building. Once the building had been gleaming white, but time, dust, salt air, and general neglect now left it, like most buildings in St.Yves, shoddy and dull.

At the inland outskirts of the village, a small forest of stunted trees where gypsies camped from time to time gave a little relief to the flat surroundings of the Landes region. The oyster beds that provided the main livelihood harvested little in recent years, so the economy was one of daily subsistence, nothing more. A few vineyards several miles hence struggled for existence producing crops good only for making cheap wine for the natives.

It had rained earlier in the day. A few puddles still lingered on the dirt road that bisected the village which bore little to distinguish it from the other villages in the vicinity except for the children’s home at the north edge of the settlement. There was a post office, butcher shop, bank, a minuscule general store, a small seedy hotel, pâtisserie with a small cardboard sign in its window proclaiming it a bus station, a Catholic Church whose spire rose higher than the scant trees around it, some derelict vacant lots, a cluster of small residences, a few run-down boarding houses with loose clapboards and peeling paint, and a bistro that bore the town’s only neon sign. The sign was pink and proudly spelled out Yves in the bistro’s small window. The “s”, however, was only partially illuminated.

The young man heard the click as the sign was turned on and the soft buzzing sound the sign sporadically emitted. His profile was etched in the sign’s pink glow. He was shabbily dressed in cheap and well-worn clothing, a brown cotton pullover shirt and darker brown corduroy trousers, but his long dark lashes, emerald green eyes, dark wavy hair, finely chiseled chin and nose, sensuous lips, and slim physique led one not to notice his attire for long. He gave a shrill whistle. A few moments later a large Alsatian dog ran up to him. He patted her head.

“Good girl, Greta, you stayed out of the puddles.” He breathed deeply enjoying the sea air, then walked inside to be confronted with the familiar smell of stale cigarettes, cheap wine and ale, and fried fish.

“There is a foreign ship in the harbor, Jef,” Yves, the owner of the bar said. “American. Not a fishing boat, a yacht like the ones in the Arcachon Harbor.”

FAR-Award-winning author, Jeannine Van Eperen, currently lives in Wisconsin, the state of her birth, but she lived for many years in New Mexico and sets many of her novels in New Mexico and Albuquerque, the place she calls home. You Can Bank on It is a fictionalized version of her early years working in the Albuquerque National Bank and also the Bank of New Mexico. She is a people-watcher and “what-ifs” often become the basis for stories. Some incidents happened but most are made up, just as the characters are.

Jeannine attended schools in Chicago and Albuquerque, attended the University of New Mexico, College of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande and Western States University College of Law in Anaheim, California.

Besides the banking industry, Jeannine worked in the insurance industry as an office manager, in the travel industry as a motel manager, and was the director of publicity at the University of Albuquerque. She and husband Lou love travel and have been to all fifty of the United States and Puerto Rico, most Canadian Provinces and thirty countries. She is particularly fond of New Zealand and England. She is a private pilot, enjoys reading, euchre, downhill skiing and needlework.

Fiction Books :: General Books

ISBN: 1597058580
ISBN(13-digit): 978159705858
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Wings e Press
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 508
Paper Weight (lb): 14.9

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