Till We Meet Again

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Eve Coudert, as the properly instructed daughter of a provincial haut bourgeois French family prior to World War I, is well aware that her entire life has been planned for her. Unfortunately for the peace of mind of her mother and father, however, she is determined to escape her preordained fate. She flees Dijon, changes her name to Maddy, and soon becomes the toast of Paris as a music hall singer. Nevertheless, she soon abandons the glitter of the stage for a rather conventional marriage to the Vicomte Paul-Sebastian de Lancel--the younger son of a prominent aristocrat whose family lands in Champagne produce some of the finest wine in France. As the youngest son, Paul Lancel must pursue a career in the foreign service. Therefore, Eve’s daughters Delphine and Marie-Fredrique, called Freddy, come of age in a variety of overseas postings from Australia to Los Angeles.

Eve soon discovers, however, that the rebellious nature which led her to the Grand Boulevards of Paris is as much a part of the genetic legacy she transmitted to her daughters as Delphine’s timeless beauty and Freddy’s intractable red hair. Delphine becomes the darling of the French cinema and Freddy takes to the skies as a pioneer female pilot.

TILL WE MEET AGAIN tells of three women who are compelled to challenge constantly the restrictions imposed on them by society. Along the way, the novel offers a rich tapestry of Parisian music halls, the world of the French cinema between the wars, the perils of occupied France during World War II, the viticulture of champagne, the operations of the British Air Transport Auxiliary, and the history of postwar aviation.

This is easily Judith Krantz’s most ambitious novel, yet despite its length the reader is carried quickly from page to page. Although a revealing prologue allays any fear that a happy ending is not in store, the tale is sufficiently complex that those who open TILL WE MEET AGAIN will be amply rewarded by the retrospective narrative.