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Diane Leslie's first novel, Fleur de Leigh's Life of Crime, chronicled young Fleur Leigh's glamorous misadventures in 1950s Hollywood. "Très charmant indeed," Entertainment Weekly praised this Library Journal and Los Angeles Times Best Book of 1999.
Fleur de Leigh in Exile finds fifteen-year-old Fleur in diminished circumstances. She transferred mid-semester to Tucson's Rancho Cambridge West -- the cheapest boarding school in all the United States -- where frail students convalesce in the arid clime and dine on the mess hall's "adobe melt." "Think of yourself as a conquistador," her B-movie actress mother urges, but Fleur's eyes are widened to the evils of prejudice and the burdens of combating it.
After a night of dorm-room high jinks, Fleur and friends band together as the "Four-Letter Four." Sentenced to a civic-minded punishment deep in the desert, the "doomed do-gooders" encounter a grave situation far removed from Fleur's upper-class upbringing. Serious issues abound, but in Diane Leslie's world even the most painful moments are tinged with comedy.
Diane Leslie's writing is "enchanting, believable, and wickedly funny" (Denver Post). Witty and fresh, Fleur de Leigh in Exile pits Heartland against Hollywood in a tale whose courageous heroine is as endearing in exile as ever before.