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Monday, Oct. 5, 2009

Gilded Youth: Three Lives in France’s Belle Epoque (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), by Kate Cambor

Book Review

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They are not familiar to most of us, but their associations are well known: Jeanne Hugo was Victor Hugo’s granddaughter, Jean-Baptiste Charcot was the son of a respected neurologist who mentored Sigmund Freud, and Leon Daudet was the son of popular writer Alphonse Daudet. As children of France’s cultural elite, they knew each other well. In Gilded Youth, Kate Cambor opens their lives as windows onto the lost world of Europe at the turn of the last century. A beautiful writer, she crafts biographical detail into lucid prose illuminating a universal story of childhood dreams wilting under the dry, burning sun of reality.