Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Conquering Venus"

Collin Kelley is the author of the debut novel, Conquering Venus (2009, Vanilla Heart Publishing), and three poetry collections, After the Poison, Slow To Burn and Better To Travel.

He applied the Page 69 Test to Conquering Venus and reported the following:
In the summer of 1995, Parisian widow Irène Laureux is 67 years old and has been unable to leave her apartment on rue Rampon for almost 30 years due to crippling agoraphobia. When American writer Martin Paige, acting as chaperone for a group of high school students on their senior trip, checks into the hotel across the street, Irène discovers that she and the young man have logic-defying connections, including similar tattoos and unresolved mysteries about the deaths of their partners. Irène's husband, Jean-Louis, was mysteriously killed during the chaotic 1968 student/worker riots and Martin harbors a dark secret about the suicide of his lover, Peter. On Page 69, Irène explains to Martin the roots of her agoraphobia, when she watched as the Nazis murdered her mother, a member of the French Resistance.

“We were near Boulevard Saint-Germain when the Nazi patrol swung on to the street. Mother ducked into an alley, but they saw her in the streetlight. They shouted at her to stop and jumped off the jeep and chased her into the alley. I ran to save her. When I reached the alley, they had caught her. She saw me and screamed for me to run home and lock the door and never come back out. That’s what she said, although I doubt she meant forever.”

Irène believes Martin, who she begins sharing surreal dreams and visions with as their lives become more entwined, will help cure her agoraphobia and solve the mystery of Jean-Louis' death. As the story unfolds, Martin's attraction to one of the students on the trip and a devastating terrorist attack at Notre-Dame become part of a synchronous chain of events that will release the characters, literally and figuratively, from self-imposed prisons. Conquering Venus is the first book in a trilogy that explores the intersecting lives of the characters over a decade.
Learn more about the book and author at Collin Kelley's website/blog and at the Conquering Venus blog and Facebook page.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue