Book Talk: The Light of Paris

Genre: Fiction | Historical Fiction
Narrator:  Cassandra Campbell
Publication on 12-July-2016 by PENGUIN Audio
Format:  Audio

This is the story of two women living very unhappy lives. 
Madeleine is in her thirties and has had enough of her husband’s constant need to keep her in check. She visits her aging mother, a woman whose need to keep Madeleine drove her into the arms of a man who is exactly like her mother in so many ways, and there, finds her grandmother’s journals.

The story seamlessly oscillates between early 1920’s with Madeleine grandmother, Margie’s rebellion to live the life she never dreamed she could have and late 1990’s where Madeleine is fighting herself for wanting to walk out on a marriage that has kept her stifled for so long.

The story makes us see how choices we make, affect not just us but also the generations to come. It’s interesting to see how easy it is for some to carry on the family expectations and how difficult it is for others to follow their dreams.

The Light of Paris is a simple story and is written very elegantly. It explores the self-discovery of two women in two very different time periods. It shows the courage it takes to be who we really are. But also that the end result is not always picture perfect. The two stories mirror each other, and that was beautifully written.

I enjoyed Eleanor’s writing, this being my first of her books. Cassandra Campbell’s narration of the audio book was brilliant. She did an excellent job of finding different voices for the women in this book that captured the character’s essence very well.

My favorite quotes:

"I often looked at the women around me and wondered if any of them had dreams.  Of course they did - it wasn't fair of me to continue to assume they didn't just because of how they looked on the outside.  it's so easy for those dreams to get run over by other people's ideas about what we should do, or to be eroded, little by little, by the day-to-day drudgery of living, or to lose heart when faced with the long, hopeless struggle between where we are and who we want to be.  But I didn't want to succumb.  I wanted to not go gentle into that good night, I wanted to sound my barbaric yawp, I wanted to live deliberately. And I want to know why my grandmother, after all she had done in Paris, hadn't."
"I didn't set out to lose myself. No one does, really. No one purposely swims away from the solid, forgiving anchor of their heart. We simply make the tiniest of compromises, the smallest of decisions, not realizing the way those small changes add up to something larger until we are forced, for better or worse, to face the people we have become." 

If you are looking for a light and easy read, this one is a good pick.

My rating is 4 stars.