Title: The Light of Paris
Author: Eleanor Brown
My Rating: 2.5/5 stars
This contemporary read follows Madeleine, who struggles to meet the expectations of the culture she’s grown up in. Go to cotillion, debutante, college. Get married, go to social gatherings, and put on your best face. So after several years in a loveless marriage, Madeleine realizes how suffocated she feels. This was never the life she wanted for herself; the only reason she got married to begin with was to appease her mother.
In alternate chapters, this book also follows Margie, Madeleine’s grandmother, who faces the same type of social pressures in 1924. Already in her mid-twenties, her mother is fearful that Margie will never marry and thus throws every available bachelor her way. Margie can’t justify marrying anyone for any reason other than love, though, and wishes that her parents would leave her alone to read and write.
This book was nice. It was rather slow, so I felt myself skimming through much of it, but it was a pleasant read, showing the importance of living life the way you want to and not simply to please others.
Both Madeleine’s and Margie’s voices were good to read, both curious but cautious, with adventurous natures and stifled upbringings. It was heartbreaking to see the misery Madeleine now found herself in when all she wanted to do was make her family happy. It was fun to see Margie experiencing new and beautiful things; to see the way this foreign place changed her and brought her love and joy.
Unfortunately, not much happened. Margie’s time in Paris was a span of about 3 months, and nothing too terribly interesting occurred. We follow Madeleine for an even shorter amount of time, maybe a week or two. The story is, I suppose, more about the lessons these women learned rather than what they actually accomplished, but it took an awfully long time to get there.
I enjoyed the way that Madeleine and her mother’s relationship changed over the course of this short time, and I was happy to see them grow closer through it all. I wish that Margie’s story had a similar, heartwarming ending, but it didn’t so much.
Really, this was a meh read. Hallmark movie material, perhaps, but not enough substance to really satisfy.