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The Light of Paris Paperback – 14 Jul 2016

4.1 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: The Borough Press (14 July 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007393687
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007393688
  • Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 2.4 x 15.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 607,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


‘I adored The Light of Paris. It’s so lovely and big-hearted’ JOJO MOYES

‘Soulfulness and emotional insight meet laugh-out-loud humour’ PAULA McLAIN, author of The Paris Wife

‘The Light of Paris is a warm and illuminating novel of great hope and heart.” Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times-bestselling author of Beach Town and Ladies’ Night

‘Eleanor Brown’s beautiful book is hard to put down.’ HELLO! MAGAZINE


‘It’s I CAPTURE THE CASTLE meets THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, an eccentric and totally irresistible read’

‘Three sisters, as different in temperament as King Lear’s daughters, each return to their parental home, harbouring secrets … A funny and insightful mirror to reality’
Easy Living

‘If you didn’t know, you’d never guess that this thoroughly enjoyable novel was the author’s first’
Daily Mail

‘What a joy to read. What a VOICE’
Helen Simonson, best-selling author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

‘5 stars’
Heat Magazine

‘Bright, literate debut…the stage clearly belongs to the sisters; Hamlet’s witches would be proud of the toil and trouble they stir up.’
Publisher’s Weekly

About the Author

Eleanor Brown is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Weird Sisters. She lives in Denver, Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I never read reviews or write ups of the book I am going to read and review myself until after I have read and reviewed so I can honestly say my views are my own! When I got this book to review I was disappointed.....at first. I had imagined (for no reason) a different kind of book. But this one turned out to be something worth reading for two reasons. First, I love a book that involves two stories which intertwine and second, I don't always need a fireworks and flowers ending. This one won on both counts.

Madeleine is living in style in Chicago, in a pristine apartment, with a handsome husband, money to spend and nothing to do except be her husband's escort, help-meet, and all round perfect partner. She's unhappy, but doesn't know why. After a (very small) falling out with the handsome husband, she goes home to her mother for a few days. The few days turn into something longer, as she helps her mother clear out the house prior to it's sale. In the attic she finds the diaries and notebooks of her grandmother's stay in Paris in the early nineteen twenties. In the cellar she finds a collection of things that made her happy once. And so these two stories run side by side, as you (and Madeleine) find out what Paris was like for Margie, and Madeleine finds out what is right for her.

It's not a heavy read, and at around 300 pages a good length. There are some interesting facts within the fiction here - including a startling bit of information about the American Library in Paris - but they are well woven into the story, so just keep reading! Enjoyable, garden in the sun with a glass of wine or on the beach under the umbrella kind of book.
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Format: Paperback
Inspired by letters that the author found by her own grandmother, The Light of Paris is a dual-time novel written with obvious care and attention to detail. The two stories link together with ease with Madeleine and Margie brought to life within the 320 pages.

In recent time Chicago, Madeleine goes through the daily of chore of being at her husbands beck and call, forgetting what her own purpose in life is. After an argument she flees to her childhood home and is shocked to realise just how much she misses it. Helping her mother clear out the family home, she discovers her grandmothers journals and is transported back to 1920s Paris and all its post-war optimism. Art, music and literature are all part of Margie's new world and Madeleine begins to question her own purpose in life. An only child, who had always seemed a let-down to her mother, she now sees her hometown in a new light and is reluctant to return to a stale marriage and a soulless existence.
There are parallels within the pages of her grandmothers journals. She too was not living up to her mothers expectations and felt that Paris could bring out the missing elements required to add much-needed joie de vivre to her life. Surrounded by artist, writers and musicians, she glimpses a new world. A world with opportunity, inspiration and freedom. Her love of Paris is deepened when she meets Sebastian, a french man who shows her around his world of relaxed and bohemian joy. How is a young woman, with stifling expectations chained around her neck, supposed to return to America after experiencing the joys of such an iconic city?

Each protagonist has equal standing in this wonderful novel. The vastly different worlds they inhabit seem all too familiar, as they both struggle to choose their fate.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the story of three months in the lives of Margie and her granddaughter, Madeleine – Margie’s life in Paris in 1924, Madeleine’s in the States in 1999. The stories are told in parallel, Madeleine reads her grandmother’s journals as she helps her mother sort out the family home before moving to a smaller, more convenient condominium. Madeleine has come home to her mother in a rather perfunctory attempt at leaving her husband, handsome, domineering Philip who sees her more as a business accessory to be moulded to his use, than as a wife. I use the word perfunctory because Madeleine is not used to doing what she wants and her break for freedom is rather tentative. She realises that Philip married her because ‘she was malleable’ and it takes her some time to find her own shape (physical and mental) again.

I have become rather fed up with all the books that use the parallel narrative as a plot device, but in this case it works, as it is crucial to Madeleine’s story and Eleanor Brown handles it very well, never giving into the temptation to tell too much. One of Madeleine’s problems is that she feels very out of place in her world, but she has always tried to do what was expected of her, to be a good, dutiful daughter who will marry and become a good dutiful wife like her mother and her grandmother and most of the other women she knows. To do otherwise would be a disappointment and Madeleine has been conditioned not to disappoint. Reading the journals that Margie (another woman conditioned not to disappoint her family) wrote when she visited Paris in her twenties, Madeleine learns to review the way she has always led her life, resentful but acquiescent.

Eleanor Brown has been very clever.
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