Top 5 Wednesday • Back to school

Le thème de cette semaine s’intitule Back to school. Le sens peut être très large, puisque sont acceptés les livres lus durant les études ou ceux parlant d’écoles, de lycées, d’universités… C’est plutôt dans ce sens-là que j’ai axé ma sélection. Les romans que je vous propose ont tous été lus.

The Assignment • Liza Wiemer

SENIOR YEAR. When an assignment given by a favorite teacher instructs a group of students to argue for the Final Solution, a euphemism used to describe the Nazi plan for the genocide of the Jewish people, Logan March and Cade Crawford are horrified. Their teacher cannot seriously expect anyone to complete an assignment that fuels intolerance and discrimination. Logan and Cade decide they must take a stand. As the school administration addressed the teens’ refusal to participate in the appalling debate, the student body, their parents, and the larger community are forced to face the issue as well. The situation explodes, and acrimony and anger result. What does it take for tolerance, justice, and love to prevail?

They never learn • Layne Fargo

Scarlett Clark is an exceptional English professor. But she’s even better at getting away with murder.

Every year, she searches for the worst man at Gorman University and plots his well-deserved demise. Thanks to her meticulous planning, she’s avoided drawing attention to herself—but as she’s preparing for her biggest kill yet, the school starts probing into the growing body count on campus. Determined to keep her enemies close, Scarlett insinuates herself into the investigation and charms the woman in charge, Dr. Mina Pierce. Everything’s going according to her master plan…until she loses control with her latest victim, putting her secret life at risk of exposure.

Meanwhile, Gorman student Carly Schiller is just trying to survive her freshman year. Finally free of her emotionally abusive father, all Carly wants is to focus on her studies and fade into the background. Her new roommate has other ideas. Allison Hadley is cool and confident—everything Carly wishes she could be—and the two girls quickly form an intense friendship. So when Allison is sexually assaulted at a party, Carly becomes obsessed with making the attacker pay…and turning her fantasies about revenge into a reality.

In my dreams I hold a knife • Ashley Winstead

A college reunion turns dark and deadly in this chilling and propulsive suspense novel about six friends, one unsolved murder, and the dark secrets they’ve been hiding from each other—and themselves—for a decade.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see—confident, beautiful, indifferent—not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year. Ten years ago, everything fell apart, including the dreams she worked for her whole life—and her relationship with the one person she wasn’t supposed to love.

But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night—and the years’ worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.

Métamorphoses, Vita Nostra • Marina et Sergueï Diatchenko

Vita nostra brevis est, brevi finietur…
« Notre vie est brève, elle finira bientôt… »

C’est dans le bourg paumé de Torpa que Sacha entonnera l’hymne des étudiants, à l’« Institut des technologies spéciales ». Pour y apprendre quoi ? Allez savoir. Dans quel but et en vue de quelle carrière ? Mystère encore. Il faut dire que son inscription ne relève pas exactement d’un choix : on la lui a imposée… Comment s’étonner dès lors de l’apparente absurdité de l’enseignement, de l’arbitraire despotisme des professeurs et de l’inquiétante bizarrerie des étudiants ?

A-t-on affaire, avec Vita nostra, à un roman d’initiation à la magie ? Oui et non. On évoque irrésistiblement la saga d’Harry Potter et plus encore Les Magiciens de Lev Grossman. Mêmes jeunes esprits en formation, même apprentissage semé d’obstacles. Mais c’est sur une autre terre et dans une autre culture, slaves celles-là, que reposent les fondations d’un livre qui nous rappellera que le Verbe se veut à l’origine du monde. Les lecteurs de fantasy occidentale saturés d’aspirations à l’héroïsme tous azimuts en seront tourneboulés.

My dark Vanessa • Kate Elizabeth Russell

2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher.

2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?

Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of RoomMy Dark Vanessa is an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself. 

Sorties VO • Septembre 2021

Seven visitations of Sydney Burgess • Andy Marino • RedHook • 28 septembre • 304 pages

Sydney’s spent years burying her past and building a better life for herself and her eleven-year old son. A respectable marketing job, a house with reclaimed and sustainable furniture, and a boyfriend who loves her son and accepts her, flaws and all. But when she opens her front door, and a masked intruder knocks her briefly unconscious, everything begins to unravel. 

She wakes in the hospital and tells a harrowing story of escape. Of dashing out a broken window. Of running into her neighbors’ yard and calling the police. What the cops tell her is that she can no longer trust her memories. Because they say that not only is the intruder lying dead in her guest room, but he’s been murdered in a way that seems intimately personal. 

When she returns home, Sydney can’t shake the deep darkness that hides in every corner. There’s an unnatural whisper in her ear, urging her back to old addictions. And as her memories slowly return, she begins to fear that her new life was never built on solid ground-and that the secrets buried beneath will change everything. 

These toxic things • Rachel Howzell Hall • Thomas & Mercer • 1 septembre • 415 pages

Mickie Lambert creates “digital scrapbooks” for clients, ensuring that precious souvenirs aren’t forgotten or lost. When her latest client, Nadia Denham, a curio shop owner, dies from an apparent suicide, Mickie honors the old woman’s last wish and begins curating her peculiar objets d’art. A music box, a hair clip, a key chain―twelve mementos in all that must have meant so much to Nadia, who collected them on her flea market scavenges across the country.

But these tokens mean a lot to someone else, too. Mickie has been receiving threatening messages to leave Nadia’s past alone.

It’s becoming a mystery Mickie is driven to solve. Who once owned these odd treasures? How did Nadia really come to possess them? Discovering the truth means crossing paths with a long-dormant serial killer and navigating the secrets of a sinister past. One that might, Mickie fears, be inescapably entwined with her own.

The slow march of light • Heather B. Moore • Shadow Mountain • 7 septembre • 368 pages

In the summer of 1961, a wall of barbed wire goes up quickly in the dead of night, officially dividing Berlin. Aware of the many whose families have been divided, Luisa joins a secret spy network, risking her life to help East Germans escape across the Berlin Wall and into the West.

Bob Inama, a soldier in the US Army, is stationed in West Germany. He’s glad to be fluent in German, especially after meeting Luisa Voigt at a church social. As they spend time together, they form a close connection. But when Bob receives classified orders to leave for undercover work immediately, he doesn’t get the chance to say goodbye.

With a fake identity, Bob’s special assignment is to be a spy embedded in East Germany, identifying possible targets for the US military. But Soviet and East German spies, the secret police, and Stasi informants are everywhere, and the danger of being caught and sent to a brutal East German prison lurks on every corner.

The Collector’s Daughter • Gill Paul • William Morrow • 7 septembre • 384 pages

Lady Evelyn Herbert was the daughter of the Earl of Carnarvon, brought up in stunning Highclere Castle. Popular and pretty, she seemed destined for a prestigious marriage, but she had other ideas. Instead, she left behind the world of society balls and chaperones to travel to the Egyptian desert, where she hoped to become a lady archaeologist, working alongside her father and Howard Carter in the hunt for an undisturbed tomb.

In November 1922, their dreams came true when they discovered the burial place of Tutankhamun, packed full of gold and unimaginable riches, and she was the first person to crawl inside for three thousand years. She called it the “greatest moment” of her life—but soon afterwards everything changed, with a string of tragedies that left her world a darker, sadder place.

Newspapers claimed it was “the curse of Tutankhamun,” but Howard Carter said no rational person would entertain such nonsense. Yet fifty years later, when an Egyptian academic came asking questions about what really happened in the tomb, it unleashed a new chain of events that seemed to threaten the happiness Eve had finally found.

The Matzah Ball • Jean Meltzer • MIRA • 28 septembre • 416 pages

Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt is a nice Jewish girl with a shameful secret: she loves Christmas. For a decade she’s hidden her career as a Christmas romance novelist from her family. Her talent has made her a bestseller even as her chronic illness has always kept the kind of love she writes about out of reach.

But when her diversity-conscious publisher insists she write a Hanukkah romance, her well of inspiration suddenly runs dry. Hanukkah’s not magical. It’s not merry. It’s not Christmas. Desperate not to lose her contract, Rachel’s determined to find her muse at the Matzah Ball, a Jewish music celebration on the last night of Hanukkah, even if it means working with her summer camp archenemy—Jacob Greenberg.

Though Rachel and Jacob haven’t seen each other since they were kids, their grudge still glows brighter than a menorah. But as they spend more time together, Rachel finds herself drawn to Hanukkah—and Jacob—in a way she never expected. Maybe this holiday of lights will be the spark she needed to set her heart ablaze.

The Corpse Queen • Heather Herrman • GP Putnam • 14 septembre • 320 pages

Soon after her best friend Kitty mysteriously dies, orphaned seventeen-year-old Molly Green is sent away to live with her « aunt. » With no relations that she knows of, Molly assumes she has been sold as free domestic labor for the price of an extra donation in the church orphanage’s coffers. Such a thing is not unheard of. There are only so many options for an unmarried girl in 1850s Philadelphia. Only, when Molly arrives, she discovers her aunt is very much real, exceedingly wealthy, and with secrets of her own. Secrets and wealth she intends to share–for a price.

Molly’s estranged aunt Ava, has built her empire by robbing graves and selling the corpses to medical students who need bodies to practice surgical procedures. And she wants Molly to help her procure the corpses. As Molly learns her aunt’s trade in the dead of night and explores the mansion by day, she is both horrified and deeply intrigued by the anatomy lessons held at the old church on her aunt’s property. Enigmatic Doctor LaSalle’s lessons are a heady mixture of knowledge and power and Molly has never wanted anything more than to join his male-only group of students. But the cost of inclusion is steep and with a murderer loose in the city, the pursuit of power and opportunity becomes a deadly dance. 

The Magicians • Colm Toibin • Scribner • 7 septembre • 512 pages

Colm Tóibín’s new novel opens in a provincial German city at the turn of the twentieth century, where the boy, Thomas Mann, grows up with a conservative father, bound by propriety, and a Brazilian mother, alluring and unpredictable. Young Mann hides his artistic aspirations from his father and his homosexual desires from everyone. He is infatuated with one of the richest, most cultured Jewish families in Munich, and marries the daughter Katia. They have six children. On a holiday in Italy, he longs for a boy he sees on a beach and writes the story Death in Venice. He is the most successful novelist of his time, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, a public man whose private life remains secret. He is expected to lead the condemnation of Hitler, whom he underestimates. His oldest daughter and son, leaders of Bohemianism and of the anti-Nazi movement, share lovers. He flees Germany for Switzerland, France and, ultimately, America, living first in Princeton and then in Los Angeles.

The Girl behind the wall • Mandy Robotham • Avon • 7 septembre • 416 pages

A city divided. When the Berlin Wall goes up, Karin is on the wrong side of the city. Overnight, she’s trapped under Soviet rule in unforgiving East Berlin and separated from her twin sister, Jutta.

Two sisters torn apart. Karin and Jutta lead parallel lives for years, cut off by the Wall. But Karin finds one reason to keep going: Otto, the man who gives her hope, even amidst the brutal East German regime.

One impossible choice… When Jutta finds a hidden way through the wall, the twins are reunited. But the Stasi have eyes everywhere, and soon Karin is faced with a terrible decision: to flee to the West and be with her sister, or sacrifice it all to follow her heart?

The last legacy • Adrienne Young • Wednesday Books • 7 septembre • 336 pages

When a letter from her uncle Henrik arrives on Bryn Roth’s eighteenth birthday, summoning her back to Bastian, Bryn is eager to prove herself and finally take her place in her long-lost family.

Henrik has plans for Bryn, but she must win everyone’s trust if she wants to hold any power in the delicate architecture of the family. It doesn’t take long for her to see that the Roths are entangled in shadows. Despite their growing influence in upscale Bastian, their hands are still in the kind of dirty business that got Bryn’s parents killed years ago. With a forbidden romance to contend with and dangerous work ahead, the cost of being accepted into the Roths may be more than Bryn can pay. 

All these bodies • Kendare Blake • Quill Tree Books • 16 septembre • 304 pages

Summer 1958—a string of murders plagues the Midwest. The victims are found in their cars and in their homes—even in their beds—their bodies drained, but with no blood anywhere. 

September 19- the Carlson family is slaughtered in their Minnesota farmhouse, and the case gets its first lead: 15-year-old Marie Catherine Hale is found at the scene. She is covered in blood from head to toe, and at first she’s mistaken for a survivor. But not a drop of the blood is hers.

Michael Jensen, son of the local sheriff, yearns to become a journalist and escape his small-town. He never imagined that the biggest story in the country would fall into his lap, or that he would be pulled into the investigation, when Marie decides that he is the only one she will confess to. 

As Marie recounts her version of the story, it falls to Michael to find the truth: What really happened the night that the Carlsons were killed? And how did one girl wind up in the middle of all these bodies? 

Summers Sons • Lee Mandelo • Tordotcom • 28 septembre • 384 pages

Andrew and Eddie did everything together, best friends bonded more deeply than brothers, until Eddie left Andrew behind to start his graduate program at Vanderbilt. Six months later, only days before Andrew was to join him in Nashville, Eddie dies of an apparent suicide. He leaves Andrew a horrible inheritance: a roommate he doesn’t know, friends he never asked for, and a gruesome phantom with bleeding wrists that mutters of revenge.

As Andrew searches for the truth of Eddie’s death, he uncovers the lies and secrets left behind by the person he trusted most, discovering a family history soaked in blood and death. Whirling between the backstabbing academic world where Eddie spent his days and the circle of hot boys, fast cars, and hard drugs that ruled Eddie’s nights, the walls Andrew has built against the world begin to crumble, letting in the phantom that hungers for him. 

Cloud Cuckoo Land • Anthony Doerr • Scribner • 28 septembre • 640 pages

Thirteen-year-old Anna, an orphan, lives inside the formidable walls of Constantinople in a house of women who make their living embroidering the robes of priests. Restless, insatiably curious, Anna learns to read, and in this ancient city, famous for its libraries, she finds a book, the story of Aethon, who longs to be turned into a bird so that he can fly to a utopian paradise in the sky. This she reads to her ailing sister as the walls of the only place she has known are bombarded in the great siege of Constantinople. Outside the walls is Omeir, a village boy, miles from home, conscripted with his beloved oxen into the invading army. His path and Anna’s will cross.

Five hundred years later, in a library in Idaho, octogenarian Zeno, who learned Greek as a prisoner of war, rehearses five children in a play adaptation of Aethon’s story, preserved against all odds through centuries. Tucked among the library shelves is a bomb, planted by a troubled, idealistic teenager, Seymour. This is another siege. And in a not-so-distant future, on the interstellar ship Argos, Konstance is alone in a vault, copying on scraps of sacking the story of Aethon, told to her by her father. She has never set foot on our planet.

Sorties VO • Août 2021

A lesson in vengeance • Victoria Lee • Delacorte Press • 3 août • 384 pages

Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.

Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.

Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.

The Dead & the Dark • Courtney Gould • Wednesday Books • 3 août • 352 pages

Something is wrong in Snakebite, Oregon. Teenagers are disappearing, some turning up dead, the weather isn’t normal, and all fingers seem to point to TV’s most popular ghost hunters who have just returned to town. Logan Ortiz-Woodley, daughter of TV’s ParaSpectors, has never been to Snakebite before, but the moment she and her dads arrive, she starts to get the feeling that there’s more secrets buried here than they originally let on.

Ashley Barton’s boyfriend was the first teen to go missing, and she’s felt his presence ever since. But now that the Ortiz-Woodleys are in town, his ghost is following her and the only person Ashley can trust is the mysterious Logan. When Ashley and Logan team up to figure out who—or what—is haunting Snakebite, their investigation reveals truths about the town, their families, and themselves that neither of them are ready for. As the danger intensifies, they realize that their growing feelings for each other could be a light in the darkness.

The Turnout • Megan Abbott • Putnam’s Son • 3 août • 352 pages

Ballet flows through their veins. Dara and Marie Durant were dancers since birth, with their long necks and matching buns and pink tights, homeschooled and trained by their mother. Decades later the Durant School of Dance is theirs. The two sisters, together with Charlie, Dara’s husband and once their mother’s prize student, inherited the school after their parents died in a tragic accident nearly a dozen years ago. Marie, warm and soft, teaches the younger students; Dara, with her precision, trains the older ones; and Charlie, back broken after years of injuries, rules over the back office. Circling around each other, the three have perfected a dance, six days a week, that keeps the studio thriving. But when a suspicious accident occurs, just at the onset of the school’s annual performance of The Nutcracker, a season of competition, anxiety, and exhilaration, an interloper arrives and threatens the delicate balance of everything they’ve worked for.

Once there were wolves • Charlotte McConaghy • Flatiron Books • 3 août • 272 pages

Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing fourteen gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape, but Aggie, too, unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.

Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she’s witnessed—inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn’t make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect?

The family plot • Megan Collins • Atria Books • 17 août • 320 pages

At twenty-six, Dahlia Lighthouse has a lot to learn when it comes to the real world. Raised in a secluded island mansion deep in the woods and kept isolated by her true crime-obsessed parents, she has spent the last several years living on her own, but unable to move beyond her past—especially the disappearance of her twin brother Andy when they were sixteen.

With her father’s death, Dahlia returns to the house she has avoided for years. But as the rest of the Lighthouse family arrives for the memorial, a gruesome discovery is made: buried in the reserved plot is another body—Andy’s, his skull split open with an ax.

Each member of the family handles the revelation in unusual ways. Her brother Charlie pours his energy into creating a family memorial museum, highlighting their research into the lives of famous murder victims; her sister Tate forges ahead with her popular dioramas portraying crime scenes; and their mother affects a cheerfully domestic façade, becoming unrecognizable as the woman who performed murder reenactments for her children. As Dahlia grapples with her own grief and horror, she realizes that her eccentric family, and the mansion itself, may hold the answers to what happened to her twin.

In my dreams I hold a knife • Ashley Winstead • Sourcebooks Landmark • 31 août • 368 pages

A college reunion turns dark and deadly in this chilling and propulsive suspense novel about six friends, one unsolved murder, and the dark secrets they’ve been hiding from each other—and themselves—for a decade.

Ten years after graduation, Jessica Miller has planned her triumphant return to southern, elite Duquette University, down to the envious whispers that are sure to follow in her wake. Everyone is going to see the girl she wants them to see—confident, beautiful, indifferent—not the girl she was when she left campus, back when Heather’s murder fractured everything, including the tight bond linking the six friends she’d been closest to since freshman year. Ten years ago, everything fell apart, including the dreams she worked for her whole life—and her relationship with the one person she wasn’t supposed to love.

But not everyone is ready to move on. Not everyone left Duquette ten years ago, and not everyone can let Heather’s murder go unsolved. Someone is determined to trap the real killer, to make the guilty pay. When the six friends are reunited, they will be forced to confront what happened that night—and the years’ worth of secrets each of them would do anything to keep hidden.

The Witch Haven • Sasha Peyton Smith • Simon & Schuster • 31 août • 448 pages

In 1911 New York City, seventeen-year-old Frances Hallowell spends her days as a seamstress, mourning the mysterious death of her brother months prior. Everything changes when she’s attacked and a man ends up dead at her feet—her scissors in his neck, and she can’t explain how they got there.

Before she can be condemned as a murderess, two cape-wearing nurses arrive to inform her she is deathly ill and ordered to report to Haxahaven Sanitarium. But Frances finds Haxahaven isn’t a sanitarium at all: it’s a school for witches. Within Haxahaven’s glittering walls, Frances finds the sisterhood she craves, but the headmistress warns Frances that magic is dangerous. Frances has no interest in the small, safe magic of her school, and is instead enchanted by Finn, a boy with magic himself who appears in her dreams and tells her he can teach her all she’s been craving to learn, lessons that may bring her closer to discovering what truly happened to her brother.

Frances’s newfound power attracts the attention of the leader of an ancient order who yearns for magical control of Manhattan. And who will stop at nothing to have Frances by his side. Frances must ultimately choose what matters more, justice for her murdered brother and her growing feelings for Finn, or the safety of her city and fellow witches. What price would she pay for power, and what if the truth is more terrible than she ever imagined?

The woods are always watching • Stephanie Perkins • Dutton Books • 31 août • 304 pages

A traditional backwoods horror story set–first page to last–in the woods of the Pisgah National Forest in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Two girls go backpacking in the woods. Things go very wrong.

And, then, their paths collide with a serial killer. 

The bookseller’s secret • Michelle Gable • Graydon House • 17 août • 400 pages

In 1942, London, Nancy Mitford is worried about more than air raids and German spies. Still recovering from a devastating loss, the once sparkling Bright Young Thing is estranged from her husband, her allowance has been cut, and she’s given up her writing career. On top of this, her five beautiful but infamous sisters continue making headlines with their controversial politics.

Eager for distraction and desperate for income, Nancy jumps at the chance to manage the Heywood Hill bookshop while the owner is away at war. Between the shop’s brisk business and the literary salons she hosts for her eccentric friends, Nancy’s life seems on the upswing. But when a mysterious French officer insists that she has a story to tell, Nancy must decide if picking up the pen again and revealing all is worth the price she might be forced to pay.

Eighty years later, Heywood Hill is abuzz with the hunt for a lost wartime manuscript written by Nancy Mitford. For one woman desperately in need of a change, the search will reveal not only a new side to Nancy, but an even more surprising link between the past and present…

The Women of Troy • Pat Baker • Doubleday • 24 août • 304 pages

Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home victors, loaded with their spoils: their stolen gold, stolen weapons, stolen women. All they need is a good wind to lift their sails.

But the wind does not come. The gods have been offended – the body of Priam lies desecrated, unburied – and so the victors remain in limbo, camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, pacing at the edge of an unobliging sea. And, in these empty, restless days, the hierarchies that held them together begin to fray, old feuds resurface and new suspicions fester.

Largely unnoticed by her squabbling captors, Briseis remains in the Greek encampment. She forges alliances where she can – with young, dangerously naïve Amina, with defiant, aged Hecuba, with Calchus, the disgraced priest – and begins to see the path to a kind of revenge. Briseis has survived the Trojan War, but peacetime may turn out to be even more dangerous…

The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women • Nancy Marie Brown • St Martin’s Press • 31 août • 336 pages

In 2017, DNA tests revealed to the collective shock of many scholars that a Viking warrior in a high-status grave in Birka, Sweden was actually a woman. The Real Valkyrie weaves together archaeology, history, and literature to imagine her life and times, showing that Viking women had more power and agency than historians have imagined.

Brown uses science to link the Birka warrior, whom she names Hervor, to Viking trading towns and to their great trade route east to Byzantium and beyond. She imagines her life intersecting with larger-than-life but real women, including Queen Gunnhild Mother-of-Kings, the Viking leader known as The Red Girl, and Queen Olga of Kyiv. Hervor’s short, dramatic life shows that much of what we have taken as truth about women in the Viking Age is based not on data, but on nineteenth-century Victorian biases. Rather than holding the household keys, Viking women in history, law, saga, poetry, and myth carry weapons. These women brag, “As heroes we were widely known—with keen spears we cut blood from bone.” In this compelling narrative Brown brings the world of those valkyries and shield-maids to vivid life.

The last Mona Lisa • Jonathan Santlofer • Sourcebook Landmark • 17 août • 400 pages

August, 1911: The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincent Peruggia. Exactly what happens in the two years before its recovery is a mystery. Many replicas of the Mona Lisa exist, and more than one historian has wondered if the painting now in the Louvre is a fake, switched in 1911.

Present day: art professor Luke Perrone digs for the truth behind his most famous ancestor: Peruggia. His search attracts an Interpol detective with something to prove and an unfamiliar but curiously helpful woman. Soon, Luke tumbles deep into the world of art and forgery, a land of obsession and danger.

A gripping novel exploring the 1911 theft and the present underbelly of the art world, The Last Mona Lisa is a suspenseful tale, tapping into our universal fascination with da Vinci’s enigma, why people are driven to possess certain works of art, and our fascination with the authentic and the fake. 

Sorties VO • Juillet 2021

The Final Girl Support Group • Grady Hendrix • Berkley Books • 13 juillet • 352 pages

In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?

Lynnette Tarkington is a real-life final girl who survived a massacre twenty-two years ago, and it has defined every day of her life since. And she’s not alone. For more than a decade she’s been meeting with five other actual final girls and their therapist in a support group for those who survived the unthinkable, putting their lives back together, piece by piece. That is until one of the women misses a meeting and Lynnette’s worst fears are realized–someone knows about the group and is determined to take their lives apart again, piece by piece.

But the thing about these final girls is that they have each other now, and no matter how bad the odds, how dark the night, how sharp the knife, they will never, ever give up.

For your own good • Samantha Downing • Berkley Books • 20 juillet • 320 pages

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest.

He says his wife couldn’t be more proud—though no one has seen her in a while.

Teddy really can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent that’s looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is on pushing these kids to their full academic potential.

All he wants is for his colleagues—and the endlessly meddlesome parents—to stay out of his way.

It’s really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.

The forest of vanishing stars • Kristin Harmel • Gallery Books • 6 juillet • 384 pages

After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.

Half sick of shadows • Laura Sebastian • Ace • 6 juillet • 448 pages

Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.

On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.

When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.

As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.

The Ice Swan • J’Nell Ciesielski • Thomas Nelson • 6 juillet • 400 pages

1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, Princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory. Svetlana and her family are forced into hiding in Paris’s underbelly, with little to their name but the jewels they sewed into their corsets before their terrifying escape.

Born the second son of a Scottish duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. After treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter. Intrigued by this mysterious, cold, and beautiful woman, Wynn follows Svetlana to an underground Russian club where drink, dance, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka.

Out of money and options, Svetlana agrees to a marriage of convenience with the handsome and brilliant Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her family’s debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn cannot help but hope the marriage will turn into one of true affection. When Wynn’s life takes an unexpected turn, so does Svetlana’s—and soon Paris becomes as dangerous as Petrograd. And as the Bolsheviks chase them to Scotland and beyond, Wynn and Svetlana begin to wonder if they will ever be able to outrun the love they are beginning to feel for one another.

The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream: The Hunt for a Victorian Era Serial Killer • Dean Jobb • Algonquin Books • 13 juillet • 432 pages

“When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals,” Sherlock Holmes observed during one of his most baffling investigations. “He has nerve and he has knowledge.” In the span of fifteen years, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream poisoned at least ten people in the United States, Britain, and Canada, a death toll with almost no precedents. Structured around Cream’s London murder trial in 1892, when he was finally brought to justice, The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream exposes the blind trust given to medical practitioners, as well as the flawed detection methods, bungled investigations, corrupt officials, and stifling morality of Victorian society that allowed Cream to prey on vulnerable and desperate women, many of whom had turned to him for medical help.

Dean Jobb vividly re-creates this largely forgotten historical account against the backdrop of the birth of modern policing and newly adopted forensic methods, though most police departments still scoffed at using science to solve crimes. But then most police departments could hardly imagine that serial killers existed—the term was unknown at the time. As the Chicago Tribune wrote then, Cream’s crimes marked the emergence of a new breed of killer, one who operated without motive or remorse, who “murdered simply for the sake of murder.”

The War Nurse • Tracey Enerson Wood • Sourcebooks Landmark • 6 juillet • 304 pages

Superintendent of Nurses Julia Stimson must recruit sixty-five nurses to relieve the battle-worn British, months before American troops are ready to be deployed. She knows that the young nurses serving near the front lines of will face a challenging situation, but nothing could have prepared her for the chaos that awaits when they arrive at British Base Hospital 12 in Rouen, France. The primitive conditions, a convoluted, ineffective system, and horrific battle wounds are enough to discourage the most hardened nurses, and Julia can do nothing but lead by example―even as the military doctors undermine her authority and make her question her very place in the hospital tent.

When trainloads of soldiers stricken by a mysterious respiratory illness arrive one after the other, overwhelming the hospital’s limited resources, and threatening the health of her staff, Julia faces an unthinkable choice―to step outside the bounds of her profession and risk the career she has fought so hard for, or to watch the people she cares for most die in her arms.

The Book of Accidents • Chuck Wending • Del Rey Books • 20 juillet • 544 pages

Long ago, Nathan lived in a house in the country with his abusive father—and has never told his family what happened there.

Long ago, Maddie was a little girl making dolls in her bedroom when she saw something she shouldn’t have—and is trying to remember that lost trauma by making haunting sculptures.

Long ago, something sinister, something hungry, walked in the tunnels and the mountains and the coal mines of their hometown in rural Pennsylvania.

Now, Nate and Maddie Graves are married, and they have moved back to their hometown with their son, Oliver. And now what happened long ago is happening again . . . and it is happening to Oliver. He meets a strange boy who becomes his best friend, a boy with secrets of his own and a taste for dark magic.

This dark magic puts them at the heart of a battle of good versus evil and a fight for the soul of the family—and perhaps for all of the world. But the Graves family has a secret weapon in this battle: their love for one another. 

Top 5 Wednesday #2 • Backlist Book

Thème : Backlist Book

Le premier thème du mois de juin concerne les livres qui ont été publiés il y a un ou plus, mais qui n’ont pas encore été lu et/ou achetés. Voici mes cinq livres prioritaires en ce moment.

Les thèmes du mois peuvent être trouvés ici.


1. The Poppy & the Rose – Ashlee Cowles

1912: Ava Knight, a teen heiress, boards the Titanic to escape the shadow of her unstable mother and to fulfill her dream of becoming a photographer in New York. During the journey she meets three people who will change her life: a handsome sailor, a soldier in the secret Black Hand society that will trigger World War I, and a woman with clairvoyant abilities. When disaster strikes the ship, family betrayals come to light.

2010: When Taylor Romano arrives in Oxford for a summer journalism program, something feels off. Not only is she greeted by a young, Rolls Royce-driving chauffeur, but he invites her to tea with Lady Mae Knight of Meadowbrook Manor, an old house with a cursed history going back to the days of Henry VIII. Lady Knight seems to know a strange amount about Taylor and her family problems, but before Taylor can learn more, the elderly woman dies, leaving as the only clue an old diary. With the help of the diary, a brooding chauffeur, and some historical sleuthing, Taylor must uncover the link between Ava’s past and her own….

Je suis une grande lectrice de romans historiques. Celui-ci me tente énormément, car il est plutôt rare que je lise autour du Titanic, pourtant un événement qui m’intéresse.

2. Mercy House – Alena Dillon

In the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn stands a century-old row house presided over by renegade, silver-haired Sister Evelyn. Gruff and indomitable on the surface, warm and wry underneath, Evelyn and her fellow sisters makes Mercy House a safe haven for the abused and abandoned.

Women like Lucia, who arrives in the dead of night; Mei-Li, the Chinese and Russian house veteran; Desiree, a loud and proud prostitute; Esther, a Haitian immigrant and aspiring collegiate; and Katrina, knitter of lumpy scarves… all of them know what it’s like to be broken by men.

Little daunts Evelyn, until she receives word that Bishop Robert Hawkins is coming to investigate Mercy House and the nuns, whose secret efforts to help the women in ways forbidden by the Church may be uncovered. But Evelyn has secrets too, dark enough to threaten everything she has built.

Evelyn will do anything to protect Mercy House and the vibrant, diverse women it serves—confront gang members, challenge her beliefs, even face her past. As she fights to defend all that she loves, she discovers the extraordinary power of mercy and the grace it grants, not just to those who receive it, but to those strong enough to bestow it.

J’aime les histoires où la maison, demeure… prend une place importante. À cela s’ajoute le destin de femmes hors du commun et que tout semble opposé pour sauver leur refuge. Je suis impatiente de pouvoir le découvrir.

3. Daughter of the Reich – Louise Fein

As the dutiful daughter of a high-ranking Nazi officer, Hetty Heinrich is keen to play her part in the glorious new Thousand Year Reich. But she never imagines that all she believes and knows about her world will come into stark conflict when she encounters Walter, a Jewish friend from the past, who stirs dangerous feelings in her. Confused and conflicted, Hetty doesn’t know whom she can trust and where she can turn to, especially when she discovers that someone has been watching her.

Realizing she is taking a huge risk—but unable to resist the intense attraction she has for Walter—she embarks on a secret love affair with him. Together, they dream about when the war will be over and plan for their future. But as the rising tide of anti-Semitism threatens to engulf them, Hetty and Walter will be forced to take extreme measures.

Il doit sortir prochainement en français. Le résumé m’a tout de suite plu, car il me rappelle les Mandy Robotham que j’aime beaucoup. Je l’avais déjà mis en avant dans un article sur les sorties en anglais qui me tentent énormément, il y a un an. Depuis, il traîne dans ma wish-list et il n’a toujours pas été acheté et lu. Sûrement un de mes prochains achats avec le prochain.

4. The Ratline – Philippe Sands

As Governor of Galicia, SS Brigadeführer Otto Freiherr von Wächter presided over an authority on whose territory hundreds of thousands of Jews and Poles were killed, including the family of the author’s grandfather. By the time the war ended in May 1945, he was indicted for ‘mass murder’. Hunted by the Soviets, the Americans, the Poles and the British, as well as groups of Jews, Wächter went on the run. He spent three years hiding in the Austrian Alps, assisted by his wife Charlotte, before making his way to Rome where he was helped by a Vatican bishop. He remained there for three months. While preparing to travel to Argentina on the ‘ratline’ he died unexpectedly, in July 1949, a few days after spending a weekend with an ‘old comrade’.

In The Ratline Philippe Sands offers a unique account of the daily life of a senior Nazi and fugitive, and of his wife. Drawing on a remarkable archive of family letters and diaries, he unveils a fascinating insight into life before and during the war, on the run, in Rome, and into the Cold War. Eventually the door is unlocked to a mystery that haunts Wächter’s youngest son, who continues to believe his father was a good man – what happened to Otto Wächter, and how did he die?

J’ai beaucoup aimé son premier essai, East West Street, sur le dévéloppement des notions de génocide, crimes contre l’humanité. Il retourne sur ce terrain fertile de la Seconde Guerre mondiale en parlant du réseau de fuite nazi. Je connais cet aspect du conflit, mais sans être réellement rentrée dans les détails. Cela fait un an qu’il est sorti et je ne l’ai toujours pas acheté, mais prochainement.

5. Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell

Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.

Ce livre a beaucoup fait parler de lui et il m’intéresse énormément, car il parle de Shakespeare. Ce dernier a toujours été un de mes auteurs préférés. Il est sorti l’année dernière et il a été traduit récemment en français, aux éditions Belfond.

Sorties VO • Juin 2021

The Godmothers • Camille Aubray • William Morrow • 15 juin • 432 pages

Filomena is a clever and resourceful war refugee with a childhood secret, who comes to America to wed Mario, the family’s favored son. Amie, a beautiful and dreamy French girl from upstate New York, escapes an abusive husband after falling in love with Johnny, the oldest of the brothers. Lucy, a tough-as-nails Irish nurse, ran away from a strict girls’ home and marries Frankie, the sensuous middle son. And the glamorous Petrina, the family’s only daughter, graduates with honors from Barnard College despite a past trauma that nearly caused a family scandal.

All four women become godmothers to one another’s children, finding hope and shelter in this prosperous family and their sumptuous Greenwich Village home, and enjoying New York life with its fine dining, opulent department stores and sophisticated nightclubs.

But the women’s secret pasts lead to unforeseen consequences and betrayals that threaten to unravel all their carefully laid plans. And when their husbands are forced to leave them during the second World War, the Godmothers must unexpectedly contend with notorious gangsters like Frank Costello and Lucky Luciano who run the streets of New York City.

Refusing to merely imitate the world of men, the four Godmothers learn to put aside their differences and grudges so that they can work together to protect their loved ones, and to find their own unique paths to success, love, forgiveness, and the futures they’ve always dreamed of.

Sisters of the Resistance • Christine Wells • William Morrow • 8 juin • 416 pages

France, 1944: The Nazis still occupy Paris, and twenty-five-year-old Gabby Foucher hates these enemies, though, as the concierge of ten rue Royale, she makes it a point to avoid trouble, unlike her sister Yvette. Until she, like her sister, is recruited into the Resistance by Catherine Dior—sister of the fashion designer, Christian Dior.

Gabby and Yvette are both swept into the world of spies, fugitives, and Resistance workers, and it doesn’t take long for the sisters to realize that their lives are in danger.

Gabby discovers an elderly tenant is hiding a wounded British fugitive, and Yvette becomes a messenger for the Resistance. But as Gabby begins to fall in love with her patient and Yvette’s impulsiveness lead her into intrigue at an ever-higher level, both women will discover that their hearts and even their souls hang in the balance as well.

The Wolf & the Woodsman • Ava Reid • Del Rey • 8 juin • 448 pages

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.

Daughter of Sparta • Claire M. Andrews • Jimmy Paterson Book • 8 juin • 400 pages

Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne’s brother’s fate in her hands—upends the life she’s worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods’ waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother’s life will be forfeit.

Guided by Artemis’s twin-the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo-Daphne’s journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.

Nature of Witches • Rachel Griffin • Sourcebooks Fire • 1 juin • 362 pages

For centuries, witches have maintained the climate, their power from the sun peaking in the season of their birth. But now their control is faltering as the atmosphere becomes more erratic. All hope lies with Clara, an Everwitch whose rare magic is tied to every season.

In Autumn, Clara wants nothing to do with her power. It’s wild and volatile, and the price of her magic―losing the ones she loves―is too high, despite the need to control the increasingly dangerous weather.

In Winter, the world is on the precipice of disaster. Fires burn, storms rage, and Clara accepts that she’s the only one who can make a difference.

In Spring, she falls for Sang, the witch training her. As her magic grows, so do her feelings, until she’s terrified Sang will be the next one she loses.

In Summer, Clara must choose between her power and her happiness, her duty and the people she loves… before she loses Sang, her magic, and thrusts the world into chaos.

For the Wolf • Hannah F. Whitten • Orbit Books • 15 juin • 448 pages

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.

Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.

But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.

The Maidens • Alex Michaelides • Celadon Books • 15 juin • 352 pages

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek Tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens. 

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge. 

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.

Mon expérience Erasmus #3 • Les cours au Trinity College de Dublin

La vie étudiante et les cours étaient un des aspects que j’étais impatiente de découvrir en allant en Irlande. J’avais envie de voir si c’était comme dans les films et les séries que j’ai pu voir. Comment sont les cours au Trinity College ? Est-ce si différent de la France ? Vous saurez tout !

Les cours et les travaux dirigés

Une des premières choses que j’ai dû faire en arrivant est d’établir mon contrat pédagogique définitif. En d’autres termes, de choisir les matières que je suivrai tout au long de l’année. Malheureusement, le choix fut quelque peu limité, car certains cours que j’avais prévu de suivre n’étaient pas ouverts aux étudiants Erasmus. J’en avais aussi suivi certains en France. Cependant, j’ai pu suivre quelques-uns qui étaient absolument passionnants : la Grande-Bretagne à l’époque romaine, l’art irlandais et l’art japonais. J’ai adoré ces cours qui changeaient de ce que j’avais l’habitude d’étudier. C’était aussi une des raisons de mon départ. Après, le format est le même qu’en France : des cours magistraux et des travaux dirigés.

Il y a aussi pas mal de différences par rapport à la France. La portée des lectures et des connaissances personnelles n’est pas la même. Les cours sont relativement généraux et pas assez développés pour le travail que les professeurs demandent (les essais autant que les partiels). J’ai passé de longues heures à la bibliothèque à éplucher des bouquins. Toutefois, ce fut très formateur pour mon mémoire. Ces petites dissertations d’une quinzaine de pages devaient être argumentées de manière scientifique, les sources devaient être citées selon les normes et de manière la plus pertinente possible. La bibliographie contenait au moins une dizaine d’ouvrages de référence. J’ai apprécié le fait d’être traitée comme une étudiante classique du Trinity College et pas comme une étudiante étrangère. C’était parfois un véritable défi à relever, mais très formateur.

Une de mes plus grosses appréhensions était la langue. Arriverai-je à m’exprimer correctement en anglais et être comprise de tous, à ne pas être ridicule ? À écrire mes devoirs en anglais ? À comprendre le cours et à le prendre en note ? Les deux premières semaines de cours étaient difficiles et éprouvantes. Je me suis rapidement adaptée. Depuis, j’ai l’impression que je peux faire face à toutes les situations ou presque. De plus, les professeurs sont très accessibles. Certains se faisaient même appeler par leurs prénoms. Ils étaient très patients avec les étudiants, étrangers ou non.

La vie étudiante irlandaise

Elle n’a strictement rien à voir avec la vie étudiante française qui se résume surtout aux fêtes du jeudi soir. L’Irlande a des sociétés, des espèces d’associations étudiantes. Toutefois, elles ne se rattachent pas à un cursus universitaire en particulier. Il peut y avoir un club de droit ouvert à toutes les personnes intéressées par le droit, et pas uniquement les étudiants de cette filière. Elles sont plus ouvertes, et il est surtout possible de s’investir dans des domaines très différents : autour de la mode, du sport, des langues, du journalisme… Pour ma part, j’étais inscrite au club des étudiants étrangers, la Fashion Society, la Phil Society et un club littéraire.

Toutes les semaines, la programmation change et vous avez de quoi la remplir avec des activités très différentes. Je participais tous les mois à un club de lecture qui m’obligeait à lire et à débattre en anglais. J’adorais ce rendez-vous qui me sortait quelque peu de ma zone de confort. Il y avait des soirées cinéma ou quizz, des conférences (j’ai ainsi pu participer à une conférence de David Yates qui était venu parler de son travail sur le premier Fantastic Beast). Il y a bien sûr des fêtes et soirées étudiantes, mais ce n’est pas tout ce que la vie étudiante irlandaise a à offrir. Cette diversité et ce dynamisme me manquent depuis mon retour en France.

La bibliothèque universitaire

Ce fut un peu le point noir de cette année d’étude. J’ai l’habitude des bibliothèques étudiantes relativement ouvertes. Au Trinity, il était impossible de rentrer sans carte étudiante. Il m’est souvent arrivé de vouloir travailler à la bibliothèque, mais sans carte… Impossible d’y accéder. Le nombre de livres qui peuvent être empruntés est ridiculement faible. Un livre sur dix est empruntable, les nouveautés ou les dernières éditions ne sont pas toujours en rayon et il faut les demander. C’était parfois un peu galère de demander les livres, de les consulter dans le temps imparti.

EnregistrerEnregistrerEnregistrerEnregistrer

Mon expérience Erasmus #2 Préparer son départ

Un départ en Erasmus ne se décide pas ni ne se prépare du jour au lendemain. C’est un parcours administratif parfois semé d’embûches, mais l’expérience en vaut le coup. Elle nécessite juste un peu de préparation une fois que vous êtes sûr(e)s et certain(e)s de vouloir partir.

Préparer le dossier

Vous pouvez commencer à vous renseigner dès la première année, notamment en faisant connaître vos intentions au professeur référent des relations internationales de votre UFR. Cela peut paraître incongru de vous dire de commencer à préparer votre Erasmus alors que vous venez tout juste d’arriver à la fac, mais pas tant que ça pour être franche. En effet, malheureusement, pas tout le monde ne peut partir en Erasmus, il y a des conditions et des places limitées. Pour prendre l’exemple de l’Université qui m’a envoyé dans ce programme d’échange, elle ne prenait que les élèves ayant eu 14 de moyenne ou plus et d’une moyenne équivalente en langue. Ou un examen réussi de type TOEIC et TOELF, CLES. Comptent les notes de la première et la deuxième années.

Du coup, connaître les modalités de sélection dès la première année permet de mieux se préparer, de savoir quels sont vos objectifs à atteindre. Les modalités peuvent changer d’une université à l’autre et d’une filière à l’autre. Ce qui était vrai pour moi ne l’est pas forcément pour vous. Avoir ses informations dès le début peut éviter quelques surprises lorsque vous préparerez votre dossier durant le premier semestre de la deuxième année de licence. Il faut également se renseigner sur les partenariats Erasmus de votre fac. Vous avez peut-être une idée de villes ou de pays, mais s’il n’existe pas de possibilités d’échanges, vous ne partirez pas ou difficilement. Il me paraît important de connaître dès le départ ces éléments qui vous aideront dans votre choix et pour préparer votre inscription.

Le dossier comprend, outre vos notes et différents documents, une lettre de motivation qui revient autant sur votre parcours que sur votre projet professionnel, sur les raisons qui font que cette université peut vous aider à atteindre vos objectifs. Vous pouvez formuler plusieurs demandes, pour mettre toutes les chances de votre côté. Vous allez également passer de longues heures à fouiller de fond en comble les sites des universités pour regarder les matières qui pourraient vous intéresser. Ce dossier est le premier pas le plus important et il faut vraiment le peaufiner et prendre le temps.

Définir un budget

Il existe une bourse automatique pour un départ en Erasmus. Cependant, elle ne couvrira jamais la totalité de vos besoins durant la durée de votre séjour. Elle est aux alentours de 1.200 euros (elle peut très légèrement varier d’une université à l’autre) pour un an. Pour un semestre, elle est moindre. De plus, 80% du montant vous seront versés aux alentours de novembre/décembre et les 20% restant seront pour votre retour. Il peut être intéressant de voir pour d’autres bourses (sur critères sociaux, de la région…). Il ne faut pas hésiter à les demander… Et puis, qui ne tente rien n’a rien et une aide financière est toujours bonne à prendre.

Surtout en fonction du pays où vous allez. Une des premières à faire est de se renseigner sur le niveau de vie du pays qui vous accueillera. Partant à Dublin, je savais que les postes concernant le loyer et la nourriture allaient être parmi les plus élevés. Il ne faut pas hésiter à prendre contact avec d’anciens étudiants Erasmus de votre université, pourquoi pas également des blogueurs expatriés ou des groupes Facebook de Français à l’étranger qui pourront répondre à vos questions et vous donner des informations. Cela vous aidera à construire votre budget.

Il y a aussi d’autres aspects pas forcément très drôles, mais qui ne faut pas oublier et négliger. Un passage par votre banquier ou banquière est indispensable, même si vous avez une peur bleue de ce dernier. Toutefois, elle peut faire une lettre d’introduction pour vous permettre d’ouvrir un compte à l’étranger, de vous renseigner sur les possibilités de votre carte… Il faut aussi voir si votre mutuelle prend en compte votre départ à l’étranger.

Se remettre doucement dans la langue du pays

Les premiers jours dans votre nouveau pays ne seront pas les plus faciles. Un peu du mal du pays, un peu trop d’administratif à mon goût… Mais il faut surtout d’ores et déjà parler la langue dès les premiers instants. Parler quotidiennement la langue demande de longs efforts. Il faudra oser. Avant de partir, j’avais un peu rafraîchi mon anglais en regardant quelques films ou séries en version anglaise. Je lisais des romans et la presse anglophone. Je faisais quelques exercices de grammaire via des sites. Cela rassure un peu plus.

EnregistrerEnregistrer

Erasmus #1 • Pourquoi partir étudier à l’étranger ?

Pourquoi Erasmus ?

Étudier à l’étranger a toujours été un de mes rêves, surtout de pouvoir intégrer une université anglo-saxonne. J’ai abandonné ce projet durant ma licence de Droit. Mon niveau d’anglais aurait pu justifier un départ, mais mes moyennes dans les matières juridiques étaient trop faibles. De ce fait, je me suis également fermée à d’autres possibilités que l’université pouvait m’offrir. J’ai commencé très tardivement à prendre conscience que les études supérieures sont aussi un tremplin pour la vie professionnelle. Mes années en Histoire de l’art ont été marquées par une plus grande ouverture aux activités extra-universitaires, comme la médiation culturelle bénévole. Ce projet, de partir étudier à l’étranger, a refait son chemin.

Lire les différents retours d’expériences des personnes parties en Erasmus a fini de me convaincre de tenter l’aventure. À l’époque, j’avais plus à l’esprit de réaliser un séjour en tant que jeune fille au pair. Cependant, dans mon entourage, les retours de ce type de séjour linguistique n’ont pas toujours été positifs. Erasmus a l’avantage de proposer un cadre institutionnel durant l’année. Il y a des interlocuteurs universitaires, à la fois dans l’université de départ et d’arrivée. Ce cadre me rassurait et c’est une des raisons qui a dicté mon choix.

Quel pays ?

J’ai voulu absolument m’envoler pour un pays anglo-saxon, car l’anglais est la seule langue que je maîtrise. Mon université proposait deux partenariats : le Trinity College de Dublin et l’Université de Leicester. La Grande-Bretagne ou l’Irlande ? J’avais le rêve un peu fou de fréquenter une des prestigieuses universités anglo-saxonnes, le Trinity College a donc été le meilleur choix. Ce dernier a notamment vu passer entre ses murs Oscar Wilde, Bram Stocker… J’ai également pu réaliser un autre de mes rêves : vivre en Irlande. Ils ont une culture proche de celle dans laquelle j’ai grandi, la culture bretonne. J’avais aussi envie de confronter la conception que j’avais de ce pays, parfois préconçue par le biais de mes lectures ou des films que j’ai pu voir, et la réalité.

D’autres raisons ont poussé mon choix dans cette direction et qu’il faut également évoquer. Il serait hypocrite de ma part d’affirmer que je suis partie uniquement pour découvrir le pays sous toutes ses facettes. Devenir bilingue ou quasiment en est une autre. Mon niveau a toujours été bon, mais je demandais une plus grande immersion, d’y être confronté quotidiennement, sans pouvoir avoir recours au français.

EnregistrerEnregistrer

Mon parcours étudiant, Partie 1

Après le bac…

S’il y a bien une chose à laquelle je n’étais pas prête et préparée, c’est ce qui allait se passer après l’obtention de mon bac littéraire, sésame pour les études supérieures. Rien ne s’est déroulé comme je l’aurai pensé et souhaité. Cela n’a pas été un long fleuve tranquille. Je ne suis pas de celles qui ont rapidement trouvé leurs voies et leurs vocations.

À dix-huit ans, je n’avais qu’une très vague idée de ce que je voulais faire dans la vie. Au sein de mon lycée, n’étaient présentées que les filières prestigieuses. Pour des littéraires, cela se résumait aux grandes classes préparatoires (khâgne et hypokhâgne), des études de droit ou de commerce. Mon choix s’est porté sur le droit, pour le prestige et mon envie de travailler dans les institutions européennes ou dans la finance. Peu importait sur le moment, à vrai dire. Après tout, j’avais trois années devant moi pour affiner ce fameux projet professionnel… Finalement, les trois ans se sont transformés en cinq pour pouvoir décrocher ma licence. 

L’échec en droit

Je n’étais pas préparée à cet échec cuisant qu’a été mon orientation en droit. Je le confesse. Il a été d’autant plus difficile à avaler que j’ai toujours été une très bonne élève. Le problème est que j’ai choisi une filière qui ne me correspondait pas, dans laquelle je n’arrivais pas à m’épanouir. J’ai encore et toujours l’impression que l’orientation des lycéens n’est pas autant prise au sérieux qu’elle devrait l’être. Certes, il existe des journées portes ouvertes, mais qui semblent être faites pour celles et ceux qui ont déjà un choix plus ou moins arrêté, des rencontres d’anciens élèves… Les professeurs mentionnent brièvement le CIO. J’ai participé à un certain nombre de ces événements, mais cela ne m’a pas réellement aidé. J’ai fait une erreur dans mon orientation, erreur que je regrette encore aujourd’hui, même si j’ai ma licence de droit. Je me suis rendu compte que déterminer mon orientation est plus compliquée que cela. D’autres facteurs doivent être pris en compte et je n’en avais pas conscience.

J’ai commencé à sérieusement me pencher sur mon avenir lors de ma troisième année de droit. Après cinq années dans cette filière dans la mesure où j’ai été obligée de terminer mon cursus, et deux universités différentes, Strasbourg et Lyon III, il était temps de voir la vérité en face : j’en avais définitivement terminé avec le droit. J’ai eu ma licence, mais pas de master dans cette filière pour moi. Sans regret ! Aujourd’hui encore, il s’agit de la meilleure décision que j’ai pu prendre pour moi-même. Pas la plus facile également.

Une nouvelle orientation

Cette dernière année de droit a été décisive sur bien des aspects tenant à la fois à ma santé mentale, à ma vie étudiante et professionnelle. J’ai beaucoup plus réfléchi à ma ré-orientation, car le droit à l’erreur n’était plus permis, dorénavant. À Lyon, j’ai eu la chance de pouvoir participer à des ateliers d’orientation avec d’autres étudiants en droit, de différents niveaux, qui se trouvaient dans la même situation que moi. Ces ateliers m’ont énormément aidé.

Tout d’abord, je comprenais que je n’étais pas la seule à avoir réaliser une erreur dans le choix de mes études supérieures et à envisager de quitter ma filière. C’était rassurant et réconfortant. Deuxièmement, à travers des tests de personnalités, de l’énumération de nos centres d’intérêts et des discussions avec les intervenants, j’ai ainsi pu mieux comprendre et cerner mon profil, cibler mes attentes et déterminer un nouveau parcours universitaire.

Du coup, j’ai osé sauter le pas, faisant fi de certains avis négatifs de mon entourage, et j’ai recommencé de zéro au regard de la situation que je quittais. J’ai ainsi attaqué ma licence d’histoire de l’art. Un changement radical, mais qui a été bénéfique. J’ai redécouvert le plaisir d’étudier, de ne jamais me contenter uniquement du cours, en dévorant de nombreux ouvrages d’art. Je me suis placée dans les trois premiers de la promotion la première année. Inimaginable en droit ! J’étais passionnée par ce que j’étudiais et j’étais plus confiante sur mes chances de réussir.

Avoir eu la chance de pouvoir changer de filière m’a aussi permis de réaliser des rêves et des projets que j’ai abandonné en droit. En tête de liste, je voulais partir étudier à l’étranger. J’ai toujours voulu vivre dans un autre pays et de pouvoir découvrir les universités anglo-saxonnes. En intégrant une nouvelle licence, ce projet a pu être remis d’actualité. J’ai eu la chance de pouvoir m’envoler pour l’Irlande et d’étudier au prestigieux Trinity College de Dublin. J’ai obtenu ma licence avec mention.

Au final, je ne regrette pas mon choix, même si j’ai allongé mon cursus universitaire de plusieurs années et mon entrée dans le monde du travail. Je suis plus heureuse maintenant que je ne l’aie jamais été en droit.

EnregistrerEnregistrer