The miraculous new novel from New York Times best-selling author Eleanor Brown, whose debut, The Weird Sisters, was a sensation beloved by critics and listeners alike.
Madeleine is trapped - by her family's expectations, by her controlling husband, and by her own fears - in an unhappy marriage and a life she never wanted. From the outside it looks like she has everything, but on the inside she fears she has nothing that matters.
In Madeleine's memories her grandmother, Margie, is the kind of woman she should have been - elegant, reserved, perfect. But when Madeleine finds a diary detailing Margie's bold, romantic trip to Jazz Age Paris, she meets the grandmother she never knew: a dreamer who defied her strict, staid family and spent an exhilarating summer writing in cafés, living on her own, and falling for a charismatic artist.
Despite her unhappiness, when Madeleine's marriage is threatened, she panics, escaping to her hometown and staying with her critical, disapproving mother. In that unlikely place, shaken by the revelation of a long-hidden family secret and inspired by her grandmother's bravery, Madeleine creates her own Parisian summer - reconnecting to her love of painting, cultivating a vibrant circle of creative friends, and finding a kindred spirit in a down-to-earth chef who reminds her to feed both her body and her heart.
Margie's and Madeleine's stories intertwine to explore the joys and risks of living life on our own terms, of defying the rules that hold us back from our dreams, and of becoming the people we are meant to be.
©2016 Eleanor Brown (P)2016 Penguin Audio
Really wanted to love this book as I loved her "Weird Sisters," but finally, bitterly, reluctantly gave up on this repetitive whinefest of upper-class women claiming to be trapped by their lives, their mommies, and their societies' expectations. The trope of "my mother doesn't love me"/"I don't look right"/"my life traps me" kept coming up so often--nearly word for word--that it felt like each chapter was reintroducing itself. Oh--and, brace yourself: apparently adolescence and high school can be a challenging time! I kept listening and waiting for something unique, interesting, self-aware, or funny, but when I realized I was yelling, "Enough with the whining!" I decided to give up.
MIGHT get the hard copy (from the library!) and speed-read it to find out if the two women get backbones in their different eras and if Brown's wit and insight resurface, but I'm not forcing myself to listen to the whole pity party aloud!
The Light of Paris is a simple story and is written very elegantly. It explores the self-discovery of two women in two very different time periods. It shows the courage it takes to be who we really are. But also that the end result is not always picture perfect. The two stories mirror each other, and that was beautifully written.
The story seamlessly oscillates between early 1920’s with Madeleine grandmother, Margie’s rebellion to live the life she never dreamed she could have and late 1990’s where Madeleine is fighting herself for wanting to walk out on a marriage that has kept her stifled for so long.
I enjoyed Eleanor’s writing, this being my first of her books. Cassandra Campbell’s narration of the audio book was brilliant. She did an excellent job of finding different voices for the women in this book that captured the character’s essence very well.
The Light of Paris follows the parallel stories of Margie in post WWI Paris and her granddaughter, Madeleine in contemporary America. The book looks at the questions of security and conformity versus living the life your spirit wants to live. I loved both characters and could identify with both their dreams and their choices in life. And there's the point--it all comes down to choices. What a wonderful book. I wish it could've gone on longer.
I hadn't realized that Eleanor Brown, the author, was also the author of The Weird Sisters--another of my favorite books. Such well-drawn characters and a compelling story. Loved every second of it.
I truly enjoyed this novel. It's not an easy thing to jump back and forth between old characters of the past and current characters in the present, but this author does a fantastic job of it. I was just as interested in listening to Madeline's parts as I was Margie's parts, and vice versa. I adored the descriptions of 1920s Paris, and the love story entertwined throughout the book made for great family drama and romance. If I had any critique of the story, it's that Madeline's character was a little tough to swallow. It was hard get behind a character who was so mousy and felt so much insecurity and self-loathing. I didn't think she was anything like her grandmother, who was brave and independent and who understood her physical flaws without hating them or being a doormat. I enjoy strong characters much more than weak ones. All in all, though, it was a great listen. Cassandra Campbell did a fantastic job, as always. Amazing how she pulls off a male French accent flawlessly.
I loved Margie's story. She was such a fascinating character. I did not want to put her story away to read Madeline's. Margie makes one long for Paris in the 1920s. I want to know more about her.
I have always love Paris and have been there 4 times. One of the times was a Summer school session in collage which allowed for brief but deeper immersion into the culture. This book brought those memories alive again eve. Tough it too place in a much earlier time.
Not my cup of overly sweetened tea.
I thought this would be a tale of artistic striving. Instead it was a story if escaping a guided cage.
Hard for me to empathize with characters given everything and only needing to choose, or not choose. No real consequences.
inner dialogue hard to tolerate.
A sort of high society porn without the sex.
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