De temps en temps….
(from time to time)
De temps en temps I come across another delightful piece of fiction that centers around Paris.
The LIght of Paris, a recently released book from Eleanor Brown (NY Times bestselling author of Weird Sisters), was hit right on the mark for such a delight.
I enjoy a book that tells two tales in two different times, especially if the two different protagonists have familial links. In this case, it’s a grandmother, Margie and her granddaughter, Madeleine whose stories intersect in the reality and dreams of Paris.
Madeleine, the more modern day protagonist, feels trapped by her family’s expectations and an unhappy marriage and finds herself existing in a life she never wanted and is not happy living. So when she finds a diary detailing her grandmother, Margie’s, bold, romantic trip to Jazz Age Paris at a young age, she gets to know a grandmother she never knew; a dreamer who defied her strict parents and spent a dreamy summer writing in cafes, living on her own, and falling in love with a charismatic artist.
When Madeleine’s marriage eventually unravels, she hesitantly moves back to her hometown and stays with her critical mother and eventually creates her own Parisian summer – reconnecting with her art and forming a circle of like-minded friends. She also deliciously finds a kindred spirit in a down-to-earth chef who reminds her to feed both her body and soul.
I enjoyed the exploration of the joys and risks of living life on our own creative terms, of defying the societal and sometimes family rules that hold us back from our dreams and of becoming the people we are meant to be.
Much of the prose that Brown weaves throughout the story is poetic and profound. I loved it. Here’s a sample:
“To Paris,” we all repeated, and we clinked our glasses together and the sound rang out clear and cheerful in the softness of the evening. I looked at what lay around me – the food, and the kind and happy faces of the people I had grown to love, and the bloom of the trees and the garden, the promise of Paris and the rest of my future beyond me, unknowable but mine to own, and I thought, This. This life where I had the space to find the things that were important to me instead of the things I was forced to do………..
This life with the endless, terrifying, happiness of possibility before me, and the light of Paris guiding me home.
For a beautifully woven tapestry of time and place and women – I encourage you to check out this book! Don’t we all want to feel we can follow our own path and with a little (or a lot) of tenacity, live the lives of our dreams? Good fiction takes us there and shines a light on the possibilities.