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Lisette's List: A Novel by [Vreeland, Susan]
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Lisette's List: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Review

"["Lisette's List"] great strength is its lovingly detailed setting, a mountaintop village--'like some fantasy kingdom from a child's folk legend, altogether dazzling'--whose charm gradually enwraps the reader just as it does the initially resistant Lisette. . . . [Susan Vreeland] is entranced by color, artistic creativity and the transformative power of art. . . . Readers will enjoy lingering in the sun-dappled, fruit-scented Provencal landscape that Vreeland brings to life."--"The Boston Globe"
" "
"In "Lisette's List, " by bestselling historical novelist Susan Vreeland, things happen that also amaze and illuminate. . . . Vreeland's love of painters and painting, her meticulous research and the pitch-perfect descriptive talents that distinguished such books as "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" and "Luncheon of the Boating Party" are abundantly evident in her new novel."--"The Washington Post"
" "
"Part romance, part historical fiction, part travelogue, part art history text, "Lisette's List" is a long, leisurely look at one young woman's life, loves and explorations of painting in a village in the south of France. . . . Vreeland knows her art, she knows Provence, and she's done her historical homework. . . . "Lisette's List" offers its readers a pleasurable opportunity to learn something about art, history and ocher, and to enjoy a plucky heroine who grows in ways she never thought possible."--"St. Louis Post-Dispatch"
" "
"The novel's heart is its patient interweaving of sensuous, meticulously observed details with themes of forgiveness, female strength, and survival."--"Publishers Weekly"
" "
"A sweeping historical novel . . . "Une jolie Parisienne" in Provence during the turbulent World War II years comes to understand love and great art to the core of her being. . . . Vreeland, who has proven in earlier art-themed bestsellers that she has an exquisite eye for detail, is enormously talented at establishing the important societal role of art. . . . Her deeply researched novel is mesmerizing. "Merveilleux." Vreeland's passionate writing is as good as a private showing at the Louvre."--"Kirkus Reviews"
" "
""Lisette's List" is heartfelt, loving and lovely, and asks difficult questions beautifully."--"Shelf Awareness"

"From the Hardcover edition."

"[Susan] Vreeland's love of painters and painting, her meticulous research and the pitch-perfect descriptive talents that distinguished such books as "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" and "Luncheon of the Boating Party" are abundantly evident in her new novel."--"The Washington Post"
" "
"["Lisette's List"] great strength is its lovingly detailed setting, a mountaintop village--'like some fantasy kingdom from a child's folk legend, altogether dazzling'--whose charm gradually enwraps the reader just as it does the initially resistant Lisette. . . . Readers will enjoy lingering in the sun-dappled, fruit-scented ProvenCal landscape that Vreeland brings to life."--"The Boston Globe"
" "
"Part romance, part historical fiction, part travelogue, part art history text . . . Vreeland knows her art, she knows Provence, and she's done her historical homework. . . . "Lisette's List" offers its readers a pleasurable opportunity to learn something about art, history and ocher, and to enjoy a plucky heroine who grows in ways she never thought possible."--"St. Louis Post-Dispatch"
" "
"Mesmerizing . . . Vreeland's passionate writing is as good as a private showing at the Louvre."--"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review)
"An entrancing novel of joy and heartache . . . Vreeland provides the reader with a broad spectrum of emotions."--"The Free Lance-Star"
"The novel's heart is its patient interweaving of sensuous, meticulously observed details with themes of forgiveness, female strength, and survival."--"Publishers Weekly"
" "
""Lisette's List" is heartfelt, loving and lovely, and asks difficult questions beautifully."--"Shelf Awareness"

"From the Hardcover edition."

[Susan]Vreeland s love of painters and painting, her meticulous research and the pitch-perfect descriptive talents that distinguished such books as"Girl in Hyacinth Blue"and"Luncheon of the Boating Party"are abundantly evident in her new novel. "The Washington Post"
""
["Lisette s List"] great strength is its lovingly detailed setting, a mountaintop village like some fantasy kingdom from a child s folk legend, altogether dazzling whose charm gradually enwraps the reader just as it does the initially resistant Lisette. . . . Readers will enjoy lingering in the sun-dappled, fruit-scented Provencal landscape that Vreeland brings to life. "The Boston Globe"
""
Part romance, part historical fiction, part travelogue, part art history text. . . Vreeland knows her art, she knows Provence, and she s done her historical homework. . . . "Lisette s List" offers its readers a pleasurable opportunity to learn something about art, history and ocher, and to enjoy a plucky heroine who grows in ways she never thought possible. "St. Louis Post-Dispatch"
""
Mesmerizing . . . Vreeland s passionate writing is as good as a private showing at the Louvre. "Kirkus Reviews" (starred review)
An entrancing novel of joy and heartache . . . Vreeland provides the reader with a broad spectrum of emotions. "The Free Lance-Star"
The novel s heart is its patient interweaving of sensuous, meticulously observed details with themes of forgiveness, female strength, and survival. "Publishers Weekly"
""
"Lisette s List" is heartfelt, loving and lovely, and asks difficult questions beautifully. "Shelf Awareness"

"From the Hardcover edition.""

About the Author

Susan Vreeland is the "New York Times" bestselling author of eight books, including "Clara and Mr. Tiffany "and" Girl in Hyacinth Blue." She lives in San Diego.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4568 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (26 Aug. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IQROTQA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #302,925 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland is a stunning historical fiction which is a mishmash of history, art and culture. It is sweeping and magnificent in its portrayal of the uncertain times in which the story is set with the fall of Paris. It is a story of art and culture, and how a painting of the Madonna and Child transformed the life of a little girl in an orphanage.

Before the outbreak of World War II, Lisette and her husband Andre moved from Paris to Roussillon in the south of France to care for Andre's aged grandfather, Pascal. Though Lisette understands her husband's devotion to Pascal and willingly traveled to Roussillon, she is afraid that her lifelong dream of working in a Paris art gallery as an apprentice will no longer be possible. But to her surprise Lisette found out that she and Pascal had much in common. Like her, Pascal was a lover of art and had collected impressionist paintings. He was well versed and knows the story behind each painting.

To her delight, Lisette also discovered that Roussillon is one of the most beautiful villages in France. Some of the important landmarks mentioned in the story like Sentier des Ocres, the Usine Mathieu, the Bruoux Mines, and Gulini's bakery are all still there. Shortly after Pascal died, France is also swept up in a war that engulfed almost the whole world. Andre hides the paintings and joined the war efforts of France by enlisting and was sent to the frontlines.

Lisette's List is a list entitled "Lisette's List of Hungers and Vows." She started writing down the important things she must do as encouraged by Pascal during his lifetime. The list grows with each turn in her life and the change in seasons. She works diligently to accomplish them all. Here's the list which drives Lisette along the road of life: 1.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Sue Vreeland's LISETTE'S LIST is essentially written on two levels and while it does an admirable job in recounting certain aspects of WWII as well as presenting an art history lesson focusing on the fate of paintings by Pissarro, Cezanne, Picasso and Chagall during the German occupation of France it is not as effective in fulfilling expectations in the areas of plot intensity nor in character motivation and development.

Lisette, the title character, is a Parisian girl raised in a Catholic orphanage where she experiences the beginnings of her appreciation of art. After her marriage to Andre she reluctantly relocates to his home town in Provence in 1937 in order to provide care for his elderly grandfather Pascal, a man who has accumulated several works by the aforementioned masters. Pascal's reminiscence concerning his acquisition of the various works becomes part and parcel of the story.

With the outbreak of WWII and the Nazi occupation of France, Andre enlists in the military, but not before hiding his grandfather's precious paintings and Lisette is left to try to assimilate into a town where some view her as an outsider who resists their culture and provincial ways while a handful of others befriend her.
In the ensuing years Lisette overcomes many obstacles and the reader is invited to follow along as she copes with everything from Nazi's looking for Pascal's paintings to the unwelcomed advances of a local townsman to learning how to make cheese, all the while bent on determining the location of the missing paintings.

When one takes a step back and considers the overall story, it is obvious that this book succeeds less effectively as well plotted work of historical fiction than it does as a primer into the history and interpretation of certain works of modern masters and their use of ochre pigments within those works.

As a long standing fan of Sue Vreeland, I am sorry to admit that this is not one of my favorites.
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By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Sept. 2014
Format: Audio CD
With a list of stage and film appearances already to her credit Kim Bubbs has lent her voice to a number of animated features and video games. She is a multi faceted actress who brings the characters in this absorbing drama to real life.

Susan Vreeland is, of course, an acclaimed novelist whose works include Clara and Mr. Tiffany and Girl In Hyacinth Blue among others. Those of us who eagerly awaited Lisette's List would say it was well worth the wait!

It is 1937 when Lisette Roux and her husband, Andre, leave Paris and all it has to offer for Roussillon, a small village in Provence. They have moved to care for Andre's grandfather, Pascl, and Lisette knows she will miss the gaiety and refinements of Paris. However, it is not long before she discovers the richness in this hilltop town.

Pascal was once a seller of paints and owns works by Cezanne, Pissaro, Picasso and Chagall. He takes pride in the small contributions he has made to the creation of these works of art. Pascall challenges Lisette to "do the important things first." So, she begins keeping a list.

When war breaks out Andre joins the army, and before going he hides Pascal's paintings in order to keep them out of Nazi hands. Later, when Paris falls and Vichy France is on the rise Lisette begins to look for the paintings. Her search takes her through the French countryside where she meets Marc and Bella Chagall who are hiding there before escaping to America. She learns much from them, including some things about herself.

She continues to search for the paintings despite hardship and tragedy tempered at times by kindness and courage. Lisette continues to grow, to learn and so will we as we listen to Lisette's List.

- Gail Cooke
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 232 reviews
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Art and Love in WWII Provence 9 July 2014
By Nancy Famolari - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Just before the start of WWII, Andre moves with his bride Lisette from Paris to Roussillon in the south of France. Andre's grandfather, Pascal, is ill, possibly dying, and Andre wants to care for him. Lisette understands, and she loves Andre, but she fears that her dream of working in a Paris art gallery is gone forever.

In Roussillon, Lisette gets a surprise. Pascal has collected impressionist paintings from Pissaro and Cezanne. He tells her the history of the pictures and stories of the artists. After Pascal dies, France is drawn into WWII. Paintings, particularly those of the impressionists, are being destroyed so Andre hides the paintings before enlisting and going to the front.

This book is both a love story and a look at art history before and during WWII. The stories about the painters are fascinating as is the historical background on how artists were treated. Marc Chagal and his wife Bella are characters in the story and present a picture of the plight of Jewish artists.

I found the book fascinating. The art history and the background of WWII makes the story of another time come alive. However, the novel moves slowly.

Lisette, the main character, grows through her determination to survive the war. In the opening scenes, she comes across as spoiled and resentful. Getting to know Pascal and hearing the history of his pictures changes her outlook, but real growth comes when she is left alone in Roussillion. She realizes how much she loves Andre and determines to survive the war and recover the paintings. Her list enumerates the things she must do to survive the war and cope with the problems of Nazi occupied France. While her struggle is interesting, the pace is very leisurely.

I recommend the book if you enjoy the combination of art, history, and romance, but be prepared for a long read.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MASTERPIECE! Love, art, history, war, loss, courage........Profoundly great read. 14 Aug. 2014
By kindred spirit - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What a rich well written story. I will admit at points slow and I had a hard time right at first getting interested but about page 50 I couldn't put it down. There is romance, history, suspence, intrigue, mystery so full and interesting.

Coming from an artistic family it was especially fun for me to learn more about the great bravery of those who hid the precious art from the Nazi's who stole and destroyed whatever they pleaded.

Lisette and Andre are young and just married living in Paris when his grandpa Pascal writes he is sick and needs them. They pack up and move to a town one and a half days travel from their beloved Paris. Lisette has a hard time adjusting especially when they find Pascal not that sick at all. No bathroom in the house, I cannot imagine running down to the town outhouse. What her artist husband does about this is precious. I will not spoil those details.

As Pascal does decline in health war has broken out and Hitler is heading toward France. Andre feels the need to fight for his country leaving Lisette behind. During this time she starts her List. LISETTE'S LIST OF HUNGARS AND VOWS. She begins ti decide what is most important. She come incontact with the resistance, hidden Jews, hidden art and she has hidden art given to her by Pascal on his death bed. Thus begins excitment and great danger and risk taking. Don't worry I have left out huge things don't want to spoil it for you. If you like history of WWII art and romance this is for you. There are so many things that are just profound I want to share all my highlights but also want you to come upon them yourself. I leave you with one such statement. "When a man finds a place he loves, he can endure the unspeakable."

Don't let a slow start stop you from reading a fantastic book.

UPDATE: I just had to come back and say more. The mark of a great book is days after you read it you cannot stop thinking about the people, almost wondering how they are doing. I'm still going back and reading things I underlined. Just have to share more...not a spoiler. "Self sufficiently doesn't only have to do with living alone and providing for oneself. It's finding in oneself the qualities that make a person unique, and being content with them." Love this wisdom shared in this book. Another..."The thing to do is to stay close to the light. That is where love is."

This is a must read, then a reread!
33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ART HISTORY IN DISGUISE 5 July 2014
By Red Rock Bookworm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sue Vreeland's LISETTE'S LIST is essentially written on two levels and while it does an admirable job in recounting certain aspects of WWII as well as presenting an art history lesson focusing on the fate of paintings by Pissarro, Cezanne, Picasso and Chagall during the German occupation of France it is not as effective in fulfilling expectations in the areas of plot intensity nor in character motivation and development.

Lisette, the title character, is a Parisian girl raised in a Catholic orphanage where she experiences the beginnings of her appreciation of art. After her marriage to Andre she reluctantly relocates to his home town in Provence in 1937 in order to provide care for his elderly grandfather Pascal, a man who has accumulated several works by the aforementioned masters. Pascal's reminiscence concerning his acquisition of the various works becomes part and parcel of the story.

With the outbreak of WWII and the Nazi occupation of France, Andre enlists in the military, but not before hiding his grandfather's precious paintings and Lisette is left to try to assimilate into a town where some view her as an outsider who resists their culture and provincial ways while a handful of others befriend her.
In the ensuing years Lisette overcomes many obstacles and the reader is invited to follow along as she copes with everything from Nazi's looking for Pascal's paintings to the unwelcomed advances of a local townsman to learning how to make cheese, all the while bent on determining the location of the missing paintings.

When one takes a step back and considers the overall story, it is obvious that this book succeeds less effectively as well plotted work of historical fiction than it does as a primer into the history and interpretation of certain works of modern masters and their use of ochre pigments within those works.

As a long standing fan of Sue Vreeland, I am sorry to admit that this is not one of my favorites.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The novel as a framing device for a lesson? 13 Sept. 2014
By S. McGee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Color me underwhelmed by this novel -- and yes, I realize that I'm in the minority, but I'm beginning to recognize that this might be my problem with Susan Vreeland as an author, rather than with any specific work of hers.

It's 1937 when LIsette first travels to Provence with her young husband, to care for the latter's elderly and ailing grandfather, who had started his life as a miner for ocher, the pigment used by great painters like Pissarro and Cezanne, and went on to build frames for the latter's works -- seven of whom hang in Pascal's house in the remote Provencal community of Roussillon. Soon enough, however, war arrives, Lisette's husband must head off to defend the Maginot line -- but not before hiding the paintings. And much of the narrative that follows revolves around Lisette's attempts to build a life for herself, partly in wartime, partly in the immediate postwar world, in a Provencal community in which she is still an outsider, while another part is built around her quest to retrieve the paintings.

The problem, for me, was that while it was moderately engaging, it all started to feel like so much "show and tell", with Vreeland using Pascal to tell us about the creation of these iconic works of art and Lisette as a device to tell us about cheese making and the whole novel to tell us a lot about Provence and art history. Now, I love Provence; I love art and art history (and I even like cheese); I'm fascinated by the era, and yet this turned into a slog for me because Vreeland's characters all ended up playing second fiddle to her desire to show us and tell us about stuff that she finds fascinating. That just doesn't work well enough for me, and the rather banal love stories and other plot twists (Nazis! unfriendly villagers!) never felt like more than the scenery. The focus on technique/craft/products ends up detracting from what it takes for characters to spring off the page and convince me that they are living breathing people that just happen to coexist with some pretty marvellous pieces of art and some amazing scenery that Cezanne loved to paint.

It's entertaining enough and won't be too taxing a read -- and if you don't know much about the era or the art, I suppose it's as good a way as any to learn about everything from the Nazi quest for art loot (and for the personnages of 'degenerate' artists like Chagall, who makes an appearance in these pages) to the basics of Impressionism. But it ended up feeling as if the novel was simply there as a framing device for what really interested Vreeland -- not her characters, but that historical background and context, which those characters and plot twists were simply present to explain in a more palatable form than would have been possible in non-fiction.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars " which in my case was not a good thing, as "boating party" was better than a ... 26 Aug. 2014
By Ms Winston - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Susan Vreeland's latest novel reminded me of "The Luncheon of the Boating Party," which in my case was not a good thing, as "boating party" was better than a sleeping pill in my estimation. As someone who loves museums, and dabbles in drawing and painting as a hobby, I tend to come away from Ms Vreeland's books bewildered as to why I don't enjoy them more than I do. I found that there was, as usual, too much on the technique of painting and not enough on the historical background, including World War II. With looted art treasurers very much in the mind of the public these days due to the movie "The Monuments Men," I suppose it is only natural that the author tap into that market. For me, it failed to hold my interest and I had a struggle to finish it.
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