The Light of Paris (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Eleanor Brown, author of the New York Times bestselling novel, “The Weird Sisters,” has crafted another irresistible story of family, love and finding oneself in "The Light of Paris."

Unbeknownst to Madeleine, her mother has decided to sell the large family house and move to a trendy condo. While going through the family boxes in the attic, Madeleine stumbles across her grandmother’s journals and thus, begins Margaret’s story.

Margaret “Margie,” too, is trapped and suffers an impossible-to-please mother who expects her to settle down and marry. When her cousin, Evelyn, embarks on a trip to Paris, Margie is recruited to be her chaperone and eagerly accepts, delighted to escape an oppressive and utterly dull life at home. Thus begins a wildly romantic foray into Paris life and culture, giving her the freedom to spend her days and nights as she chooses.

Madeleine, too, begins to discover joy by stumbling across a whole new group of creative friends and places in the town where she grew up, enabling her to actually be herself for the first time.

There are many parallels between the lives of Madeleine and the grandmother she never knew. Each struggle with meeting the expectations of others versus being who they really want to be. Margie longs to be a writer, something her own mother believed was a frivolous waste of time, while Madeleine longs to be an artist, having given up her paints and easel when she married.

Brown has created vivid, engaging characters the reader falls for quickly. Don’t we all struggle with the expectations we impose on ourselves and the conflicting desire to discover what really makes us happy and brings us joy? "The Light of Paris" is a touching and thoroughly captivating summer read.

— From Book review: Novel tells story of family, love, finding oneself

Fans of Eleanor Brown’s bestselling novel The Weird Sisters should be pleased, as Brown takes the reader on a new journey in this novel to Paris. Madeleine is the novel’s likable narrator, who leaves her disagreeable life in Chicago to get back to her Southern roots and rediscover her identity.  She finds her grandmother’s journal in the attic of her childhood home, and we learn about the ways Madeleine is connected to that story. If you, like me, are often longing for Paris, then this book is a great little escape--a bit of light in the darkness.

-Recommended by Jamie

— From August 2016 Staff Picks


“I adored The Light of Paris. It’s so lovely and big-hearted—it made me long for Paris.”—Jojo Moyes, New York Times-bestselling author of Me Before You and After You

The miraculous novel from the New York Times–bestselling author of The Weird Sisters—a sensation beloved by critics and readers alike.

Madeleine is trapped—by her family's expectations, by her controlling husband, and by her own fears—in an unhappy marriage and a life she never wanted. From the outside, it looks like she has everything, but on the inside, she fears she has nothing that matters.

In Madeleine’s memories, her grandmother Margie is the kind of woman she should have been—elegant, reserved, perfect. But when Madeleine finds a diary detailing Margie’s bold, romantic trip to Jazz Age Paris, she meets the grandmother she never knew: a dreamer who defied her strict, staid family and spent an exhilarating summer writing in cafés, living on her own, and falling for a charismatic artist.

Despite her unhappiness, when Madeleine’s marriage is threatened, she panics, escaping to her hometown and staying with her critical, disapproving mother. In that unlikely place, shaken by the revelation of a long-hidden family secret and inspired by her grandmother’s bravery, Madeleine creates her own Parisian summer—reconnecting to her love of painting, cultivating a vibrant circle of creative friends, and finding a kindred spirit in a down-to-earth chef who reminds her to feed both her body and her heart.

Margie and Madeleine’s stories intertwine to explore the joys and risks of living life on our own terms, of defying the rules that hold us back from our dreams, and of becoming the people we are meant to be.

About the Author

Eleanor Brown is the author of The Weird Sisters. Her writing has been published in anthologies, magazines, and journals. She holds an M.A. in Literature and has worked in education in South Florida. She lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

Praise For…

“A trip to Paris may be the quickest way for a heroine to change her life…Warmhearted.”—The Washington Post

“Fresh, endearing…finely written and absorbing, and explores the always compelling questions of how to balance reality and romance, duty and dreams, family and freedom.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A story about love, marriage, divorce, self-discovery and how things often turn out far from what you had planned.”—Fort Worth Star Telegram
“The follow-up to Brown’s delightful dysfunctional-family comedy The Weird Sisters will cure your stay-at-home blues.”—Miami Herald
“Brown’s novel tackles an age-old question about what life would be like if we took more chances….Makes readers sit up and take notice.”—RT Book Reviews

“Brown conveys the importance of the arts in creating a life as well the need to heed all voices, even those from the past, in looking to the future.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A charming novel about living life on your own terms that will make you long for the streets of Paris.”— 

“I adored The Light of Paris. It’s so lovely and big-hearted—it made me long for Paris.”—Jojo Moyes, New York Times-bestselling author of Me Before You and After You

“Eleanor Brown is high priestess of that rich place where soulfulness and emotional insight meet laugh-out-loud humor. In her wry and affecting follow-up to The Weird Sisters, we meet Margie and Madeleine—two women separated by decades and continents, but on same essential journey toward self-exploration and self-knowledge. Somehow each must learn to thrust off others’ expectations and their own well-worn fears to reclaim themselves and discover the lives they were always meant for. A deeply rewarding read, The Light of Paris will keep you thinking—and smiling—long after the last page is turned.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun
“Paris is always a good idea. It's not just a line from an old movie, it's a credo, and the underlying idea of Eleanor Brown's wise and charming new novel, The Light of Paris. Protagonist Madeleine Spencer is repressed, depressed and downright oppressed in her marriage to a chilly Chicago businessman. When she flees both to her Southern hometown her critical mother is less than welcoming. It's only when Madeleine opens a dusty trunk in the attic of the family home and finds her grandmother Margie's forgotten Parisian diary that Madeleine begins to find her way home--both emotionally and physically. 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
Product Details
ISBN: 9780399158919
ISBN-10: 039915891X
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication Date: July 12th, 2016
Pages: 320
Language: English