"I read Olivia many, many times, bought it for many of my friends, and consider it the inspiration for Call Me by Your Name." --André Aciman
"Perfectly captures the breathless excitement of adolescent passion." --Sarah Waters, bestselling author of Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet
The classic novel about a teenage girl's infatuation with her headmistress at a boarding school in nineteenth-century Paris
A groundbreaking, passionate, and subtle story of first love, Olivia--based loosely on the author's own life--was first published in 1949 under a pseudonym. It tells the story of Olivia, a sixteen-year-old girl who is sent from England to a Parisian finishing school to broaden her education. Soon after her arrival, she finds herself falling under the spell of her beautiful and charismatic teacher, Mademoiselle Julie, who introduces her to art, literature, and fine cuisine. But Mademoiselle Julie's life is not as straightforward as Olivia imagines. As they grow closer, their relationship is threatened by jealousy and rivalry, and the school year seems destined to end in tragedy.
Olivia by Dorothy Strachey
Penguin Classics 2020