The Age of Light

A Novel
Narrated by: Therese Plummer
Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
4 out of 5 stars (172 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"Sweeping from the glamor of 1930s Paris through the battlefields of World War II and into the war's long shadow, The Age of Light is a startlingly modern love story and a mesmerizing portrait of a woman's self-transformation from muse into artist." (Celeste Ng, New York Times best-selling author of Little Fires Everywhere)

She went to Paris to start over, to make art instead of being made into it.

A captivating debut novel by Whitney Scharer, The Age of Light tells the story of Vogue-model-turned-renowned-photographer Lee Miller, and her search to forge a new identity as an artist after a life spent as a muse. "I'd rather take a photograph than be one," she declares after she arrives in Paris in 1929, where she soon catches the eye of the famous Surrealist Man Ray.

Though he wants to use her only as a model, Lee convinces him to take her on as his assistant and teach her everything he knows. But Man Ray turns out to be an egotistical, charismatic force, and as they work together in the darkroom, their personal and professional lives become intimately entwined, changing the course of Lee's life forever.

Lee's journey takes us from the cabarets of bohemian Paris to the battlefields of war-torn Europe during WWII, from discovering radical new photography techniques to documenting the liberation of the concentration camps as one of the first female war correspondents. Through it all, Lee must grapple with the question of whether it's possible to reconcile romantic desire with artistic ambition - and what she will have to sacrifice to do so.

Told in interweaving timelines, this sensuous, richly detailed novel brings Lee Miller - a brilliant and pioneering artist - out of the shadows of a man's legacy and into the light.

©2019 Whitney Scharer (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Scharer sets her viewfinder selectively, focusing on her heroine's insecurities as much as her accomplishments as an artist; her hunger to be more than "a neck to hold pearls, a slim waist to show off a belt" is contrasted with her habit of solving problems by simply leaving. The price for Lee is steep, but it makes for irresistible reading. Sexy and moving." (Kirkus, starred review)

"Scharer's stellar debut chronicles the tumultuous working and romantic relationships of photographer Man Ray and model-turned-photographer Lee Miller in early 1930s Paris.... This brilliant portrayal of the complicated couple features a page-turning story and thrillingly depicts the artistic process." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

"Scharer's intoxicating first novel..bring[s] a stunning chiaroscuro effect to the saga of a woman transforming herself into an artist." (Booklist, starred review)

What members say
Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written; fascinating characters

I knew very little about Lee Miller and Man Ray when I started the book but Whitney Scharer's brilliant writing has left me wanting to know so much more. She was able to effectively paint a picture of these two complicated people and their very complicated relationship. She painted such a vivid picture of 1920's/30's Paris and I only wish the novel was longer and able to track more of the remarkable, and often-times sad life she lived following her departure from France. The narrator, Therese Plummer was fantastic and certainly did the book justice.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Exquisite & verbally full-filling, art for the ears.

This is one of only a few books of the hundreds that I could listen to again. I’ve also purchased a hardcover. Ms. Scharer paints a beautiful story with words, describing a time-period & a relationship/love affair of that time. Pay close attention to the details & all the artists & socialites intertwined. Take time as well to review the photography of Lee Miller on line - thousands of them. Stunning.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Manic Historical Fiction RomCom

As far as a more "chick-lit" historical fiction, it wasn't bad, but it was still a bit too manic and dramatic for my taste.

What I liked:
Progressive women's views for the time
Sexually positive
The names of relevant artists and authors and figures that popped up
Touching on the theme of PTSD

What I didn't like:
The plot and main character are shallow and manic
A bit too overly dramatic
Took a long time to tell a story that is pretty much conjecture

This book could be adapted to a movie, and I think it would do be one of those rare acceptions where the movie is better than the book.

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Fantastic Book

I loved this audiobook book. I was going on vacation to Paris and wanted to listen to something that took place in Paris and would give me a feel for it. This did exactly that and in such a vivid and engaging way. I knew virtually nothing about Lee Miller and Man Rey. The historical fiction made this an especially interesting story. The writer is great. The reader is great. This book exceeded my expectations and I am sorry I have finished it. It will definitely stick with me in terns of mood, tone and story!

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Read it

The story was great but the entire book was whispered I did not like the narration.

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Not historical fiction

Not a lot of historical info. Perhaps can be labeled as historical porn? Just not my cup of tea.

1 person found this helpful

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I fell hard for this book!

A wonderful, beautifully told novel about an artist struggling to find her voice and her freedom. It’s a deep and pretty entrancing character study - I finished it in three days!

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Interesting story, but annoying reader

Really dislike the reader from the very beginning. Too sweet and over acting. Very annoying reader.

1 person found this helpful