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On a cloudless summer afternoon in 1789, labourers working in the fields around Montsignac, a village in Gascony, saw a man fall out of the sky. The balloon had drifted over a wooded ridge and into their valley. The farmworkers, straightening up one by one, shaded their eyes against the dazzle of the sun on crimson and blue silk. The thing hung in the sky - sumptuous, menacing - like a sign from God or the devil. Then there was thunder and fire, and a man plummeting earthwards. It was the 14th of July. The world was about to change. The timeless story of Sophie nursing the ambition to create a repeat-flowering crimson rose, the like of which has never been seen in Europe. Then Stephen, the American balloonist falling out of the sky and into Sophie's life - a love story that unfolds against the sensuous green landscape of Gascony. It is the 14th of July, the year is 1789 and revolution hangs in the air closing in on the private world of the Saint-Pierre family and threatening to change their world forever. Michelle de Krester's gripping tale of love, roses and the French revolution is seductive, moving and beautifully written. The popularity of this book has made it
Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and migrated to Australia with her family in 1972. She has taught English at the University of Melbourne, as well as working as an editor and book reviewer. Her novels, The Rose Grower (1999) and The Hamilton Case (2003), have been published across the world and translated into several languages. The Hamilton Case won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for South-East Asia and the Pacific, the Encore Award and the Tasmania Pacific Prize for Australian and New Zealand fiction. The Lost Dog is her third novel. She lives in Melbourne.