Project Description

Read an excerpt
26 April 2022
RRP: $32.99
ISBN: 9781922711434
Paperback, 384 pages
234 x 153 mm
Historical Fiction

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The Natural History of Love

by Caroline Petit

For fans of Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things and Pip Williams’ The Dictionary of Lost Words, The Natural History of Love is based upon the true story of 19th century French explorer, naturalist and diploma the Count de Castelnau and his lover Madame Fonçeca; a sweeping historical narrative set in the wilds of Brazil, salons of Paris and the early days of Melbourne’s settlement.

When Melbourne lawyer Nathan Smithson takes on the case of mad, wealthy Edward Fonçeca’s inheritance trial against his ruthless brother in 1902, he must unearth long-buried family secrets to have any chance of winning.

Brazil, 1852: François, the Count de Castelnau and French Consul to Bahia falls dangerously ill on a naturalist expedition and is delivered by a rainforest tribesman to the Fonçeca household. Carolina Fonçeca is 16 years old and longing to leave the confines of her family’s remote Brazilian sugar plantation. With a head full of Balzac and dreams of Parisian life, she is instantly beguiled by the middle-aged Frenchman. What Carolina doesn’t know is that François has a wife and son back in France. Desperate for a new life, she makes a decision that will haunt her forever.

PRAISE for The Natural History of Love

‘A gripping tale of forbidden love, evolution and family inheritance that sinks in its claws and won’t let go.’
Melissa Ashley

‘This has got the makings of a movie in it.’ David Bevan, ABC Radio Adelaide

Absorbing, entertaining historical fiction that takes the reader on a wild journey.’ North Melbourne Books

About the Author

Caroline Petit was born in Washington D.C., raised in Maryland and now lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband. She is a graduate of Chatham College in Pittsburgh and holds advance degrees from Johns Hopkins University, the London School of Economics, and the University of Melbourne’s School of Law. Her previous novels, The Fat Man’s Daughter and Deep Night were published in the US by Soho Press.