The Light of Paris

Putnam. Jul. 2016. 352p. ISBN 9780399158919. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780399573736. F
Taking a break from an emotionally cold marriage, artist Madeleine visits her mother in Magnolia, a town that Madeleine had always thought to be too image-conscious, filled with ladies who lunch and fundraisers for the Junior League. Her old hometown has opened up in surprising ways, and not every woman in the Ladies Association is as shallow as Madeleine expected them to be. She also discovers that her mother is selling her longtime residence and moving into a condo. While packing up the attic, Madeleine uncovers the boxes of journals that her grandmother Margie kept as a young woman in 1924. Margie also had worried that she was going to leave herself behind once she got married and spent an extended period of time in Paris, falling in love with the city and a young artist, Sebastien. Stylistically less daring than Brown's previous title (The Weird Sisters), this book still manages to plumb the difference between the things in life that give us joy and the things that we do to stifle that joy.
VERDICT For all fans of intelligent women's literature.[See Prepub Alert, 2/21/16.]
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