The Light in Paris by Eleanor Brown
The Light of Paris by Eleanor Brown is the story of two women, Margie and Madeline, grandmother and granddaughter, and their journey to happiness and fulfillment, despite the family secrets they keep.
We meet Madeline, who has devoted herself to being the trophy wife of the very critical Phillip. She makes her annual visit to her also very critical mother, a southern society belle with no chinks in her exterior armor. While visiting, Madeline goes up to the attic and discovers a plethora of old letters and journals belonging to her grandmother, Margie. Deciding they are better than the book she forgot to bring with her, Madeline begins to read and is quickly swept up into the life story of Margie in her post World War One heyday. Madeline lives vicariously through Margie’s Paris summer, and then begins to create her own Paris summer, rediscovering painting, food, and befriending her mother’s charming new neighbor and proprietor of a new restaurant.
I enjoyed The Light of Paris. While the characters and story lines were somewhat predictable, it was a satisfying read. As a child, I was forever looking for an attic with old letters and pictures and clothing…someplace to discover the stories of ancestors. Our attic was relatively organized and lacking artifacts, so I had to pepper my mother with questions about relatives. I loved the stories she would tell, some for the moral, and some for the pure enjoyment of knowing and being related to these people. I also favor these ‘women finding themselves’ stories, as well as fiction set partly in the World War I & II eras. I liked that Madeline found her backbone and her courage through her grandmother’s story, as if Margie’s trials and heart aches were not wasted.
I am apt to try Eleanor Brown’s first novel, Weird Sisters soon!