"What the European male fails to understand is that the American Girl is innocent by definition, mythically innocent; and that her purity depends upon nothing she says or does." (Leslie Fiedler)
When Frederick, an American expatriate traveling in Europe, meets the commonplace, newly rich Miller family from New York, he is charmed by the daughter, Daisy, and her "inscrutable combination of audacity and innocence". The Millers have no perception of the complex code that underlies behavior in European society, and Winterbourne is astonished at the girl's unworldliness and her mother's unconcern when Daisy accompanies him to the Castle of Chillon.
Some months later, he meets the family in Rome, where Daisy has aroused suspicion among the American colony by being seen constantly with a third-rate Italian. Ostracized by former friends who think her "intrigue" has gone too far, Daisy denies that she is engaged to Giovanelli. Publicly, Winterbourne defends her as simply uncultivated, but privately, he hesitates.
"By maintaining a vigorous, satisfying pace, Susan O'Malley holds the listener's attention admirably. Her reading is intelligent and agreeable." (
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