A woman from a small island in the South Pacific seeks her fortune in America.
Born in New Caledonia, a tropical French territory between Australia and New Zealand, Yvette knew from an early age that she wanted to travel the world and eventually achieve financial independence. When U.S. soldiers arrive following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, she seizes the opportunity to leave the island, falling in love with Glen, an American. After five years of touring the world with their magic act, Yvette leaves Glen in Cairo, and settles in Los Angeles with dreams of becoming a movie director. Landing her first job as a saleswoman in a gift shop, she keeps her eyes open for more lucrative enterprises, and soon discovers the growing chinchilla craze. When that fad collapses, she turns to real estate and begins working as an agent selling luxury condominiums. As she navigates the cutthroat world of high-end real estate, she takes advantage of the city’s many cultural opportunities. She also meets a kindred spirit in Russ, who possesses a lust for independence and travel equal to her own. Though their respective passions occasionally diverge, they learn how to maintain a strong relationship while still giving each other the freedom they both require. This autobiographical novel adequately captures the heady post-war period in Los Angeles through the eyes of an immigrant struggling to achieve the American Dream, but the author never affords the reader a close enough look at the strong, savvy heroine. Instead of developing a fully realized narrative of her remarkable journey, O’Connor covers only Yvette’s arrival in the US, and the beginning of her success. The story of how she found happiness both in business and in love is often buried under superficial anecdotes about cocktail parties, acquaintances and office politics.
A breezy tale leaving much untold.