Madeleine is trapped - by her family's expectations, by her controlling husband - in an unhappy marriage and a life she never wanted. But when she finds a diary detailing her grandmother Margie's trip to Jazz Age Paris, she meets a woman she never knew: a dreamer who defied her strict family and spent a summer living on her own, and falling fro a charismatic artist.
When Madeleine's marriage is threatened, she escapes to her hometown to stay with her disapproving mother. Shaken by the revelation of a family secret and inspired by her grandmother's bravery, Madeleine creates her own summer of joy. In reconnecting with her love of painting and cultivating a new circle of friends, the chance of a new life emerges - but will she be bold enough to take it?
Welcome to my spot on the Blog Tour for The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown which was published in trade paperback by Borough Press on 14 July 2016 and is the author's second novel. Her first book, The Weird Sisters, was published in 2011.
One of the best ways for any author or publisher to tempt me with a book is to mention that it's a dual-time narrative and that one of the eras is the 1920s (or the 1960s, I adore them both!). When I read the blurb about The Light of Paris and saw mention of 1920s Jazz Age Paris, I knew that this was a story for me.
The Light of Paris is an absolute joy to read. Eleanor Brown's two lead characters, Madeleine and Margie are separated by seventy years, yet they have so many things in common. Madeleine's life is coming unstuck and she's found herself staying with her mother in her old bedroom, in her childhood home, surrounded by people who've known her for a lifetime.
When Madeleine discovers her grandmother Margie's diary, she is transfixed and discovers things about her, and her family that she had no idea about.
Margie's story seems to spur Madeleine along, and it's not long before she is a permanent resident of the small Southern town, leaving her controlling husband far behind. She then discovers more of Margie's life ... and secrets.
The compare and contrast between these two women is done incredibly well, and it is clear that in parts of society, attitudes towards those women who don't quite fit the mould. are just as strong now as they were in the 1920s.
Whilst I enjoyed the 1990s setting and the at times, hateful people who inhabit Madeleine's home town, I was absolutely smitten by Margie's time in Jazz Age Paris. She lived alone, she danced, she loved, she discovered things that she'd never imagined and certainly would never have seen if she hadn't travelled to Europe. Her time there was short, but Eleanor Brown vividly and brilliantly brought the city to life and the reader experiences Margie's joy alongside her.
This is an easy-to-read and thoughtful story that I enjoyed very much. The author deals with the hugest of choices and how those can affect the generations that come afterwards. Delicate and gentle with big-hearted characters with an incredible sense of place, this is a beautiful summer read.
My thanks to the Borough Press who sent my copy for review and invited me to take part in this Blog Tour.
Eleanor Brown is the New York Times and number one international best selling author of The Weird Sisters, hailed by People Magazine as a 'delightful debut' and 'creative and original' by Library Journal.
Her second novel, The Light of Paris was published in the summer of 2016.
Eleanor teaches writing workshops at The Writer's Table in Highland's Ranch at at Lighthouse Writer's Workshop in Denver as well as writing conferences and centres nationwide.
An avid CrossFit participant, Eleanor is the author of WOD Motivation and a contributor to CrossFit Journal.
Born and raised in the Washington, DC area, Eleanor lives in Colorado, with her partner, writer JC Hutchins.
Find out more at www.eleanor-brown.com
Find her Author page on Facebook
Follow her on Twitter @eleanorwrites