A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE

The secret daughter of a French politician and a famous actress drops the startling revelation that will shatter her family in this beguiling debut novel of intrigue and betrayal.

NAMED ONE OF SUMMER’S BEST BOOKS BY The Skimm • Marie Claire LitHub Subway Book Review • Paperback Paris

Margot Louve is a secret: the child of a longstanding affair between an influential French politician with presidential ambitions and a prominent stage actress. This hidden family exists in stolen moments in a small Parisian apartment on the Left Bank.

It is a house of cards that Margot—fueled by a longing to be seen and heard—decides to tumble. The summer of her seventeenth birthday, she meets the man who will set her plan in motion: a well-regarded journalist whose trust seems surprisingly easy to gain. But as Margot is drawn into an adult world she struggles to comprehend, she learns how one impulsive decision can threaten a family’s love with ruin, shattering the lives of those around her in ways she could never have imagined.

Exposing the seams between private lives and public faces, The Margot Affair is a novel of deceit, desire, and transgression—and the exhilarating knife-edge upon which the danger of telling the truth outweighs the cost of keeping secrets.
“A diary and a page-turner and a masterful debut, all at once.”—Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

“Gorgeous . . . very French. . . in lush, lyrical prose that perfectly captures the heightened emotion and confusion of being a young woman with a bruised heart and limited experience. Though the book seems to be about an absent father, it’s more about a tricky mother, and about motherhood in general. It asks the ultimate question about this most complicated of relationships: What will a mother do for her child?”—Sarah Lyall, The New York Times (Daily Review)

"Drumming with tension, The Margot Affair grapples with the complexity of familial love."Marie Claire 
 
“[A] perfect mix of literary and entertaining . . . This is one of those books that you didn’t know you needed until you read the first few pages and you go: oh, I’m home.”—LitHub

“Unusual and accomplished . . .  Ms. Lemoine’s story moves in intriguing leaps and twists until her real subject is revealed. . . . Using clever anecdotes, nods to French cinema and allusions to Bonjour Tristesse, Françoise Sagan’s classic coming-of-age tale, the novel asks what exactly makes a “good mother.” . . . Good novels can supply insights into other cultures, and, for outsiders, one of this book’s pleasures is the glimpse it affords into French mores and habits. . . . Here she lifts the window slats not just on the covert behavior of consenting adults, but on many facets of bourgeois Parisian life.”The Economist
 
“ . . . one juicy book. It’s a commentary about the tolls of secrets and power—and will make you feel like you’re sitting in a Parisian café the whole time.”—The Skimm

“Subtle, beautiful, serious.”—Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!

“A deeply immersive novel about the ways in which your family may fail you . . . Written in graceful prose carrying clairvoyant insights, its wisdom stayed with me.”—Ling Ma, author of Severance

“A stunning debut, simmering with tension and sensuality. This jewel of a novel examines the in-between spaces in life. . . . A mesmerizing story by an important new voice.”Crystal Hana Kim, author of If You Leave Me   

“Astonishing . . . Sanaë Lemoine is fearless and almost unbearably tender in her exploration of all the ways we both exalt and wound one another.”—Stacey D’Erasmo, author of Wonderland 

“An extraordinary, gorgeous novel . . . With exquisite precision and insight, The Margot Affair builds to an unexpected heat.”—Idra Novey, author of Those Who Knew

“Poised, coolly beguiling, and deeply compelling, Lemoine’s debut casts a powerful spell.”—Hermione Hoby, author of Neon in Daylight
 
“A brave portrayal of love in all of its complexities."—Jessica Andrews, author of Saltwater

“Powerful and affecting . . . truly exceptional.”—Rivka Galchen, author of Little Labors