book cover of Invitation to a Bonfire
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Invitation to a Bonfire

(2018)
A novel by

 
 
Selected by Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Parade, Oprah.com, and MSN.com as one of the best books to read this summer!

The seductive story of a dangerous love triangle, inspired by the infamous Nabokov marriage, with a spellbinding psychological thriller at its core.


In the 1920s, Zoya Andropova, a young refugee from the Soviet Union, finds herself in the alien landscape of an elite all-girls New Jersey boarding school. Having lost her family, her home, and her sense of purpose, Zoya struggles to belong, a task made more difficult by the malice her peers heap on scholarship students and her new country's paranoia about Russian spies. When she meets the visiting writer and fellow Russian émigré Leo Orlov--whose books Zoya has privately obsessed over for years--her luck seems to have taken a turn for the better. But she soon discovers that Leo is not the solution to her loneliness: he's committed to his art and bound by the sinister orchestrations of his brilliant wife, Vera.

As the reader unravels the mystery of Zoya, Lev, and Vera's fate, Zoya is faced with mounting pressure to figure out who she is and what kind of life she wants to build. Grappling with class distinctions, national allegiance, and ethical fidelity--not to mention the powerful magnetism of sex--Invitation to a Bonfire investigates how one's identity is formed, irrevocably, through a series of momentary decisions, including how to survive, who to love, and whether to pay the complicated price of happiness.

Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"The way Adrienne Celt so completely inhabits the voices and lives of her characters is an amazing thing to behold. A dazzling stylist and a powerful writer, she has given us a rich, tapestried story of love, loneliness, and betrayal." - Nathan Hill

"A sexy, brilliant and gripping novel about the fine line between passion and obsession." - Edan Lepucki

"Engrossing, endearing, phenomenal - this book will set you on fire. In this brilliant novel, Adrienne Celt's lush prose and mousetrap plot deliver a wild wonder." - Alissa Nutting

"A dangerously seductive and viciously smart read. Celt proves herself a master of form, effortlessly moving from the punch of noir to the sumptuousness of Nabokov. She is a writer to envy." - Erika Swyler


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