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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Repetitive Whinefest!

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!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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If you are looking for a light and easy read, this

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes!
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.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

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.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Barb
  • Pullman, WA, United States
  • 07-19-16

Parallel stories of security versus freedom

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A beautiful book!

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Left Much to be Desired

I love a good novel set in Paris with the occasional French phrase tossed in to transport me to this beautiful city and country. That being said, that's not what The Light of Paris is. It's what I hoped for but not quite what I got.

The Light of Paris is a dual timeline story about Margie, the 1920's era grandmother of Madeleine the 2010's era granddaughter. I was charmed by the concept, Madeleine is reading Margie's long lost journals. That part did not disappoint, it is a nice premise. For the most part I tracked with and enjoyed Margie's side of the story, it was largely set in Paris, it was set in a thrilling era that I love reading about.

Unfortunately Madeleine's story is really where I got lost. At times I listened to her chapters at double the speed just to get through them faster. Madeleine, as a main character was so self deprecating and self loathing that rather than identify with her, or empathize for her I found myself constantly irritated with her. I wanted (and a couple times did) to yell at her "MOVE ON!". It seriously distracted from the little bit of story for me every time she focused on who was calling her fat or thin or normal or telling her to watch what she ate or not watch what she ate. I get it, body positivity, and I'm so on board for people not needing to define themselves by their weight or waistline but what felt like it was supposed to be championing every body type simply didn't. It was an attempt to me accepting of all shapes and sizes and instead came of weirdly judgmental and condemning of both thin women and thick women.

Madeleine, simply put, isn't a main character (in novel terms) and should have been slid to the back burner. Margie kept me interested and my desire to find out what happened to her (contrived as it may be) was the only thing that pushed me to finish this novel (and a stubborn habit of refusing to leave any book that I've started unfinished). I hate to say it but I wouldn't suggest this particular novel to anyone to read, but please do if it suits you!

I've enjoyed Cassandra Campbell reading in the past but her interpretation of these characters fell flat for me. The characters also fell flat but her rendition of the South and what men and women from there sound like made me really dislike those characters even more. The pieces of this audiobook simply didn't come together to make something nice.

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Disappointed

This book is boring and full of winning and self-pitty. I did not like the characters specially Madeline who spends the 95% of the book complaining about her situation without realizing that she is an adult and can make choices. Very disappointing

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  • Melissa
  • Aurora, CO United States
  • 09-18-17

A sweet love story.

A little slow to begin with but the story line came together and caught my interest. A
story that remins us just how much life for women has changrd and perhaps men as well.

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Timeliness or heart's desires

A story firmly pointing to the pitfalls and setbacks of following anyone else's star but one's own. Very satisfying.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Nice read

Very interesting, moves from 1924 to 1999 with ease and grace. Money, wealth has many secrets.

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Predictable

A fairly predictable and unoriginal conflict and plot. It would be entertaining if it hadn't been written a hundred times before with more than mediocre writing.