The Summer of Katya
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In the golden summer of 1914, Jean-Marc Montjean, recently graduated from medical school, comes to the small French village of Salies to assist the village physician. His first assignment is to treat the brother of a beautiful woman named Katya Treville. As he and her family become friendly, he realizes they are haunted by an old, dark secret . . . but he can’t help falling deeply in love with Katya.
Jean-Marc is warned by Katya’s brother that she is delicate and that he should curb his attentions, but he is young, hopeful, and in love . . . and he is certain that Katya returns his affections. When Jean-Marc learns that the Trevilles are planning to leave the village forever, he insists on a final meeting with Katya. That meeting and the events that follow turn what was an idyllic romance into an unending nightmare. Katya’s secret is revealed in a thrilling tale that is part love story and part psychological thriller, and the chilling climax will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned.
“You are a strange and exceptional person. Do you know that? May one say that much without being guilty of boring you with automatic, boyish gallantry?” “One may.” We passed around the terrace to the sulky, where the patient old mare stood stoically, occasionally fluttering a shoulder muscle to discomfit the flies. “Until tomorrow then?” she said. I smiled at her and nodded. “Until tomorrow.” And she returned to the house. As I approached the trap I noticed a pebble of particularly
muttered some apology or another and plied my pestle with unnecessary vigor. Midafternoon the wind changed, the clouds were herded away to the west, and the sunlight returned—quite inconsiderately, it seemed to me. The day wore on and the slanting rays of the sun had plunged the arcades on the west side of the square into deep shadow when, for the thousandth time, my attention strayed from my pharmaceutical drudgery and I looked out my window in worried anticipation. She was just passing out of
I am making no judgments concerning Mlle Treville’s character. I am simply recounting the tale as told to me. Well . . . the rest is simple enough. Monsieur Treville, believing the young man to be a prowler or burglar, shot him dead. The judicial investigators found no reason to doubt his version of the event, but of course parlor gossip fabricated its own narrative. Outraged father . . . in flagrante delicto . . . that sort of thing. The more generously disposed of their friends suggested that
returned, by which time Monsieur Treville had gone up to his room, and Paul and Katya were sitting in the salon with only one lamp lit and no fire in the hearth. “Papa wished you a good night,” Paul said. “And he asked me to thank you for bringing us to the fête.” “Yes,” Katya added, “I don’t remember when he enjoyed himself so much. It was good of you, Jean-Marc.” The words had the vacant sound of social rote, and she appeared worried and distant. Paul rose. “Well, I think I shall go up
oversized teddy bear with which he staged a comic wrestling match to my giggling delight, ending up on the floor with the teddy bear triumphantly astride his chest as he begged for mercy. I wonder what happened to that teddy bear? Mother never said so, but I suspect she threw it out in a rage when he disappointed her again. The only time she ever spoke of this one-night visit she shook her head fatalistically and said, “All that man had to do was unbutton his suspenders and I got pregnant.” The