The Light of Paris
By: Eleanor Brown
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Penguin Random House Audio/Penguin Audio
Release Date: July 12, 2016
12 Hours and 30 Minutes
Genre: Fiction – Contemporary Women
Audiofile provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
The miraculous new novel from New York Times–bestselling author Eleanor Brown, whose debut, The Weird Sisters, was a sensation beloved by critics and readers 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 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. – See more at: http://www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/book/308542/the-light-of-paris/#sthash.e1MYnaol.dpuf
This is a story about women and the gilded cage. It is told in split time: Madeleine in 1999 USA and her grandmother, Margie, in 1924 USA and Paris. Both women yearn to be creative, but are tied down by family and society and the creature comforts offered by wealth.
Here’s the deal: I believe it could happen in 1924, but I just don’t buy Madeleine’s oppression in 1999. Maybe in 1959, or 1969 but, 1999 is a little too late for the kind of arrangement where a husband is not going to allow his wife to work because it will look like he cannot support her.
I can believe Margie, in 1924 would have to truly break away from her family to come into her own even a little bit. But, Madeleine has all kinds of advantages and education and I didn’t believe her story at all.
That pretty much annoyed me throughout the book.
Granted, Madeleine could have been a totally spineless woman, but she isn’t. She completely bowed to family pressures and married her asinine husband who treats her like a commodity. And, she is kind of whiny. SHe would not get where she ends up without a lot of analysis.
I wasn’t impressed by either story; Margie’s didn’t feel real to me either. Too many coincidences line up too easily. She needs a place to live and voila! a guy she meets in a cafe tells her about a “club” that rents rooms to American girls! And, she needs a job and one just happens to be available. What is going to happen to Margie is fairly obvious. She does have a great idea about the situation.
So this book didn’t do it for me but Cassandra Clare did a great job with the narration. She does a good French accent.
If you like this kind of story, it would be a good beach read.