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City of Lights: The Trials and Triumphs of Ilyse Charpentier by [Lux, Melika Dannese]
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City of Lights: The Trials and Triumphs of Ilyse Charpentier Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 167 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

About the Author

Melika is also the author of the supernatural thriller, Corcitura. She is currently working on the sequel to Corcitura, a collection of comedy/horror/fantasy stories set in Eastern Europe in the 1800s, and the first book of a planned fantasy duology. To learn more, please visit: www.booksinmybelfry.com

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 462 KB
  • Print Length: 167 pages
  • Publisher: Books In My Belfry, LLC; 2 edition (29 Sept. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009JQLE2O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This new author pulled me into her stunning debut novel with the very first page! I felt like I was actually wandering the streets of Paris in the late 1800s along with the characters so vividly portrayed by this fine new talent.

Melika Dannese Lux, the author, has created not only an accurate portrayal of life in those days, she's invented some of the most lovable, sympathetic protagonists imaginable ... and her villains are true villains in every sense of the word.

I found myself crying for the poor little orphans, Ilyse and her younger brother Maurice, when fate cast them out into the cruel world, penniless frightened, and alone. But Ilyse was not only strong and clever, she was beautiful and a fine entertainer. She managed to save herself and her brother from a life of poverty and soon became "La Petite Coquette ... Diva of the Paris Stage."

It would spoil the story if I revealed how she managed that, but it wasn't without great cost to her: she lost her brother for a time and was practically a prisoner of a debauched wealthy, titled man ... a man who could get away with murder--and did.

How did Ilyse manage to get out of "bondage" to the evil Count? And what happened when she fell in love with a gentle, kind, handsome Englishman and tried to escape? And did she ever win her brother back?

Those are all questions that kept me riveted to my seat--reading page after page--until I learned the answers, as I'm sure you will be.

Ms. Lux certainly has a "way with words," and her description, dialog, and pacing are excellent, attributes found only in the best books. She's definitely an author I'd like to hear from again, so I'm pleased to learn she's now working on the first of a fantasy trilogy that will soon be released. I, personally, can't wait to read it. She's very gifted.

I highly recommend this book. - Betty Dravis, 2007
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By TeensReadToo TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 15 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
Ilyse Charpentier's world changes forever the day her parents leave on their boat trip that Ilyse and her brother Maurice surprised them with for their 20th anniversary. Her parents' lawyer notifies them that while at sea, the ship has exploded and everyone on board was killed.

So Ilyse and her brother are sent to live with their uncle, Emile. Emile is an evil man, and the two children witness him murdering one of the house staff. Fearing for their lives, the two run away and try to return to Paris. Upon their return, they are told that their lawyer friend has been murdered and all their money has been cleared out from the bank.

Trying to honor her mother's last words to her before they boarded the ship, Ilyse takes it upon herself to protect Maurice and keep the two of them together. Relying on her beauty and her voice, she eventually talks her way into the hottest cabaret in Paris. There, she receives the unwanted advances of Count Rakmanovich. He will do anything he can to possess her. Her young brother believes him to be evil and wants nothing to do with Ilyse if her plans to survive include the generosity of the Count's money.

For five years, Ilyse misses her brother but is at the mercy of the Count. She fears him and dreads seeing his face in the crowd at the cabaret at night. But one fateful evening, an outgoing British man, Ian McCarthy, stumbles into the cabaret and catches a glimpse of lovely Ilyse. The two meet, and an instant connection is formed.

Before Ilyse can even imagine a life of love with Ian, she must face her fears and her oppression by the Count.

Ms. Lux writes a lovely period piece taking place in 1894 Paris. The scenery is beautifully described, and the wonder of the City of Love is expertly detailed. Ilyse is a strong character that faces her fears for true love.

Reviewed by: Jaglvr
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Format: Paperback
City of Lights, The Trials and Triumphs of Ilyse Charpentier, is the story of a chanteuse, who has had more heartache than a 21-year old should have to bear: the death of her parents in a ship accident; abuse at the hand of her guardian; and estrangement from her beloved brother because of a misunderstanding. Lifted out of poverty by her patron, Count Sergei Rakmanovich, she becomes the darling of the 1894 Parisian cabaret scene, but the count's patronage comes with a price: his desire to possess her, mind, body and soul.

At the heart of the story is the love between Ilyse and Englishman, Ian McCarthy. The two fall in love within hours of their meeting. It is the magical kind of love unique to the very young whose thoughts for the future extend no further than midnight. Ilyse naively believes that she can walk away form the evil count, and Ian is ill-prepared to deal with a man who is willing to kill to keep his "Pure Dove" from being with anyone else.

This novel will be especially appealing to young adult readers who enjoy an engaging love story set in one of the most exciting cities in the world, a city where Toulouse Lautrec wanders the streets of Montmarte and the five-year old Eiffel Tower dominates the Parisian skyline. This is a remarkable debut, especially when you consider that the novelist is very near to the age of her heroine. Her broad knowledge of history and the arts is evident, and her enthusiasm for her subject leaps off of every page.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning debut novel! Riveting tale! 5 Dec. 2007
By betty l. dravis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This new author pulled me into her stunning debut novel with the very first page! I felt like I was actually wandering the streets of Paris in the late 1800s along with the characters so vividly portrayed by this fine new talent.

Melika Dannese Lux, the author, has created not only an accurate portrayal of life in those days, she's invented some of the most lovable, sympathetic protagonists imaginable ... and her villains are true villains in every sense of the word.

I found myself crying for the poor little orphans, Ilyse and her younger brother Maurice, when fate cast them out into the cruel world, penniless frightened, and alone. But Ilyse was not only strong and clever, she was beautiful and a fine entertainer. She managed to save herself and her brother from a life of poverty and soon became "La Petite Coquette ... Diva of the Paris Stage."

It would spoil the story if I revealed how she managed that, but it wasn't without great cost to her: she lost her brother for a time and was practically a prisoner of a debauched wealthy, titled man ... a man who could get away with murder--and did.

How did Ilyse manage to get out of "bondage" to the evil Count? And what happened when she fell in love with a gentle, kind, handsome Englishman and tried to escape? And did she ever win her brother back?

Those are all questions that kept me riveted to my seat--reading page after page--until I learned the answers, as I'm sure you will be.

Ms. Lux certainly has a "way with words," and her description, dialog, and pacing are excellent, attributes found only in the best books. She's definitely an author I'd like to hear from again, so I'm pleased to learn she's now working on the first of a fantasy trilogy that will soon be released. I, personally, can't wait to read it. She's very gifted.

I highly recommend this book. - Betty Dravis, 2007
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A short but interesting novel 10 May 2008
By Steven Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a short novel (139 pages), but it is also an intriguing character study.

This is a novel depicting the arc of the life of Ilyse Charpentier, known as "La Petite Coquette de la Perle de Paris." She was, in short, a chanteuse in an establishment featuring theater, singing, and masses of people. To "make it," she had come under the not altogether happy sponsorship of Count Sergei Rakmonovich. Thus, she was not in full control of her life.

One evening, an Englishman, Ian McCarthy, happened to attend one of her performances. They fell in love at their first meeting, producing a threat to her livelihood (the Count would not be amused by his lady falling for another man).

This work is focused on how the events outlined above resolve themselves. Much is at stake here, including Ilyse's estrangement from her brother, how she escapes the clutches of the Count, the outcome of her passion for McCarthy.

The pleasure in this slender volume is how these various issues work themselves out. The novel ends with the thoughts of Ilyse who had always (Page 139) "believed in the magic of her 'City of Lights.'"

The characters might have been developed in a bit more detail (139 pages isn't a lot of space!); the verbal interactions among characters sometimes did not ring fully true. Nonetheless, this is an enchanting little work, and one wonders at what might follow, as there are hints of future works with these characters. Worth taking a look at!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something Out of the Silent Film Era 20 May 2008
By D. Salerni - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
City of Lights is a period piece set in fin-de-siecle Paris, where the Moulin Rouge and other cabaret nightclubs dominate the evening culture just as the newly finished Tour de Eiffel dominates the skyline. This short novel is reminiscent of adventures serialized in magazines of the time, and the mood and plot remind me of an opulently-costumed silent film extravaganza.

Ms. Lux populates her novel with characters one might expect to see in a turn-of-the-century melodrama: Ilyse Charpentier, the 21-year old French diva, Ian McCarthy, the penniless Brit who falls in love with her, Maurice, her brother, the struggling artist, and of course, Count Sergei Rakmanovich, the evil Russian patron who has trapped poor Ilyse in his clutches. The settings vary from La Perle, the glittering nightclub where Ilyse performs -- to the airy heights of the new Eiffel Tower -- to the dark and gargoyle-infested manor house which harbors the Count's dangerous obsession. Imagining City of Lights as a classic silent film, I had no trouble at all picturing Mary Pickford or Lillian Gish batting large, expressive eyes as the damsel-in-distress Ilyse, while the part of the cape-swirling villain Count Sergei would be aptly filled by Bela Lugosi. There would even be a small part for Charlie Chaplin in the role of comic relief as Renault, the French waiter.

Ms. Lux's first novel is a return to an earlier time of drama, danger (think Perils of Pauline), and romance in the City of Lights.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fun escape if you don't take it too seriously 12 April 2013
By Jenny Q @ Let Them Read Books - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
City of Lights: The Trials and Triumphs of Ilyse Charpentier is a fun little novel that oozes French ambiance from the first page. As an omniscient narrator tells the dramatic tale of how the darling of Paris nightlife seized her chance at true love and happiness from the evil clutches of her overbearing patron, the reader is transported to dark and glittering cabarets, through backstage passages onto gas-lit streets, into cozy carriages that convey young lovers to the Eiffel Tower for romantic dates above the moonlit city, to secret rendezvous, shadowy dealings, and deadly confrontations.

To me, Ilyse's story read like a play or a musical or a fairy tale: over-dramatic and a bit superficial, but glamorous and noble, hearkening back to the old-school sweeping gestures and high drama moments of early Hollywood. Keeping that perspective in mind, I was able to suspend disbelief and appreciate the flamboyant characters and melodramatic moments. There are orphans and lucky breaks and love at first sight, kisses and slaps and misunderstandings, shrieking and sobbing and nefarious mustache-twirling, deadly obsession and selfless sacrifice -- all tucked into 156 pages. Since it's short, there's not a lot of room for character depth and relationship growth, and there's a lot of telling rather than showing. But there's never a dull moment, and it's a fun escape for whiling away a couple of hours.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Did Not Like 15 Jun. 2014
By K. W. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I received a copy of City of Lights: The Trials and Triumphs of Ilyse Charpentier by Melika Dannese Lux, from the Goodreads group called Shut Up and Read, in return for an honest review.

I did not like this book at all. I think the premise is good, but I think the book would have been so much better had it been longer than 150 some odd pages. There was no character development at all, so you didn't really get to know any of the characters. And the insta-love between Ilysa and Ian was just so totally unbelievable that I found I couldn't even pay attention to what was happening in the book. It was totally ridiculous. I mean, they met on night at the club where Ilysa works, and they both fell instantly in love. I kid you not, before they had their first date, they were totally and completely in love with each other. Really? And the crying.. someone was crying on practically every page of the book. I believe every character in the book had a sob fest at one point or another.

I really do believe if the book had been longer and the characters fleshed out a whole lot more, I mean even some would be better than none, it could have been a great book.
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