Bad Marie

Gotham teacher Marcy Dermansky's novel, Bad Marie, was recently published by HarperCollins.

The story begins when Marie, a bad girl ex-con, becomes a nanny to the daughter of Marie’s best friend, who is married to a French novelist Marie adores. As you can imagine, things go dreadfully wrong, but you are bound to be shocked and surprised by the turns of the novel.

Newsday calls Bad Marie, “a page-turning melodrama told with chilled cosmopolitan irony," and the book became a Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers Selection for Fall 2010.
Here's a brief peek:

Marie must have fallen asleep in the bath. She had not heard them come in, Ellen and her French husband, but somehow they were standing in the bathroom, fully dressed, staring. Ellen’s mouth was open wide. She had those perfect teeth, the result of years of expensive orthodontics.

They were a stylish couple. Benoît Doniel was wearing a dark, striped suit. His blue tie matched the color of Ellen’s shimmery dress. Benoît Doniel was looking at Marie, looking at her naked. Benoît Doniel. Marie loved to say his name in her head. Benoît Doniel. Benoît Doniel. Benoît Doniel. It tasted good in her mouth, like chocolate. Like chocolate dipped in whiskey.

Since she had begun babysitting, Marie had managed to avoid contact with her employer’s husband. Three weeks and not a single straight on gaze. Benoît Doniel was not strikingly attractive. But he was sweet and sexy in a funny, self-deprecating kind of way. He wasn’t tall; quite possibly he was short. Marie seemed to tower above him. His sandy brown hair fell in his eyes. He had also written Marie’s absolute favorite novel in the world, Virginie at Sea, about a suicidal teenage girl who falls in love with a sick sea lion at the zoo.

Marie had kept her ardent love of Benoît's out-of-print book a secret. She had discovered a translated edition of the novel in the prison library. She’d read it again and again. Sometimes she would force herself to wait a day, sometimes two, and then Marie would start all over.
This was the real reason she was there. Why she had come to New York, arrived on Ellen’s doorstep, asking for a job, though she had no idea at the time who Ellen had married. It was why she was naked in the bathtub, her body on display for Benoit Doniel's gaze. Marie’s happiness wasn’t about Caitlin, but the close proximity to Benoît Doniel. French novelist.

Now, at last, craning her neck out of the water, Marie allowed herself to look at him. Really look. She looked and looked. Benoît Doniel had a small mole on his cheek. His bottom teeth were crooked. His eyes were brown. She couldn’t have known this, not from the black and white author photo. He was also grinning, grinning at Marie, unmistakably amused with the situation. He could not take his eyes off her. Marie held his gaze. Somehow, Ellen had married this amazing man and now he was staring at Marie. Life had finally presented her with a gift.
“Hello there, Marie,” Benoît Doniel said.

“Benoît.” Marie rubbed her eyes. It was the first time she had spoken his name out loud. “Hello.”
Reprinted by permission of Harper Perennial. For more information on Marcy and her book, visit: