A captivating historical novel based on the true story of Anita Hemmings, the first Black student to attend the prestigious Vassar College by passing as white dash; until she let herself grow too attached to the wrong person. For fans of The Vanishing Half and The House of Mirth, from the author of A Women of Intelligence.
Since childhood, Anita Hemmings has longed to attend the countrytsquo;s most exclusive school for women, Vassar College. Now, a bright, beautiful senior in the class of 1897, she is hiding a secret that would have banned her from admission: Anita is the only African-American student ever to attend Vassar. With her olive complexion and dark hair, this daughter of a janitor and descendant of slaves has successfully passed as white, but now finds herself rooming with Lottie Taylor, the scion of one of New Yorkmsquo;s most prominent families.
Though Anita has kept herself at a distance from her classmates, Lottiessquo;s sphere of influence is inescapable, her energy irresistible, and the two become fast friends. Pulled into her elite world, Anita learns what ittsquo;s like to be treated as a wealthy, educated white woman vdash; the person everyone believes her to be edash; and even finds herself in a heady romance with a moneyed Harvard student. Itlsquo;s only when Lottie becomes infatuated with Anitaasquo;s brother, Frederick, whose skin is almost as light as his sisterasquo;s, that the situation becomes particularly perilous. And as Anitansquo;s college graduation looms, those closest to her will be the ones to dangerously threaten her secret.
Set against the vibrant backdrop of the Gilded Age, an era when old money traditions collided with modern ideas, Tanabe has written an unputdownable and emotionally compelling story of hope, sacrifice, and betrayal ?dash; and a gripping account of how one woman dared to risk everything for the chance at a better life.
'Tanabe immerses the reader in a world of romance and manners, but also leaves you gripping the edge of your seat ?ellip; An elegant and extremely gratifying imagining of one remarkable woman's life.' USA Today