Where the Light Falls

( 5 )

Overview

As the Belle Epoque dawns, Paris attracts artists from everywhere. One is Jeanette Palmer, daughter of a prominent Ohio family, who has left Vassar College under a cloud of scandal.

Amid the city’s great bohemian neighborhoods and teaching studios, Jeanette befriends other female artists, as well as an American Civil War veteran named Edward Murer. She begins to achieve a level of artistic success. And her happiness increases as she and Edward ...

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Where the Light Falls

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Overview

As the Belle Epoque dawns, Paris attracts artists from everywhere. One is Jeanette Palmer, daughter of a prominent Ohio family, who has left Vassar College under a cloud of scandal.

Amid the city’s great bohemian neighborhoods and teaching studios, Jeanette befriends other female artists, as well as an American Civil War veteran named Edward Murer. She begins to achieve a level of artistic success. And her happiness increases as she and Edward grow more intimate with each other.

But Edward is plagued by his demons and addicted to laudanum—and as the world opens its arms to Jeanette, and the society around her is transformed by cultural and scientific innovations, she must resolve a conflict utterly new to so many women: the choice between ambition and love.  

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Sent home from Vassar in disgrace, Jeanette Palmer is a romantic--after all, she did help her friend elope--and a gifted painter. But how can she cultivate her talents in Circleville, Ohio? Set in late-19th-century belle epoque, when the arts flourished and the horrors of World War I had not yet occurred, Keenum's debut novel is based upon her own great-grandmother's life. Appalled at her disgrace, Jeanette's parents send meek Cousin Effie to fetch her home. As she nervously awaits her parents' arrival, Jeanette endures Aunt Maude's interrogation, which beautiful, stylish, married Cousin Adeline knows is just a front for gossiping. To calm her nerves, Jeanette sketches Effie's face, which so delights Effie that she arranges for Jeanette to sketch Maude--an effort to demonstrate her real skill to her family. The ploy works, and soon Jeanette, chaperoned by Effie, finds herself en route to Paris to study art. Meanwhile, back in Cincinnati, pharmacist Edward Murer struggles with the twin demons of Civil War memories and a laudanum addiction. After years of barely engaging with the world, Edward begins slipping deeper into depression, to the alarm of his family. His brother Theodore lights on a scheme: send Edward to Europe as a chaperone for his son Carl's grand tour. (Perhaps there, Carl will be supervising Edward's return to life.) A dinner party brings Jeanette and Edward together, as Carl accidentally reveals Jeanette's scandalous past. As the weeks pass, Jeanette delights in her studies, navigates the dangerous waters of licentious men and finds herself drawn to the wounded pharmacist. For his part, Edward's demons have pursued him across the sea, yet each encounter with Jeanette shines a little more light into his soul. Sweeping in scope, with vividly drawn, rich characters, Keenum's debut signals a writer to watch.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425257784
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/5/2013
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 779,692
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Katherine Keenum holds a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies from the University of Texas. She is a former editor of the Publications Program for the Council on East Asian Studies at Harvard University and has also taught writing at Yale. She lives with her husband in western Massachusetts. Inspired by actual events in her family’s history, Where the Light Falls is her first novel. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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(3)

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(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Jeannette Palmer is studying art at Vassar College. She¿s a bri

    Jeannette Palmer is studying art at Vassar College. She’s a bright, promising student who suddenly because of a ill-planned adventure to help a friend elope is expelled from Vassar. This is 1877, the dawn of the Belle Epoque, a daring, freeing time but not so free yet that such a scandal does not bring ruin to Jeannette and her family’s reputation. To say they are appalled would be the understatement of all time. What are they to do and where shall she be accepted now. It is her spinster cousin, Effie, who suggests that Jeannette should study art in Paris, France, a plan that will transform both of their lives in the most pleasurable way possible!

    This is a marvelous journey for both of these cousins and the reader alike. Paris where the finest new artists earn their acceptance through the famous Salon judgments on a year-to-year basis. Jeannette will later meet many of the most famous artists at the time or at least be exposed to their innovative and provocative paintings and sculptures. For acceptable form is the norm and deviation from same could win one fame or ruin within days if not weeks and months. Yet as Jeannette begins her drawing classes and later progresses to painting in oils, we share her learning of how to create line, form, movement, light, shadow and so much more. At a certain point, the reader almost holds one’s breath as Jeannette strives to find what will be her unique artistic mark, the expression of the moods, tones, and hidden words spoken in now empty, silent rooms. Rather than being tedious, the author conveys the mystery and magic of it all.

    Edward Murer is the other main character, a survivor of the Civil War who was wounded and kept as a prisoner of war. His addiction to laudanum for physical and emotional pain is an issue that appears and disappears in unexpected cycles. As a war veteran, he is painfully sensitive to the essence of men and women, seeing beyond the facades and yearning to remain aloof from all that is false and devious. No, he doesn’t immediately fall head over heels with Jeannette but instead very, very slowly develops an interest with her and her artistic friends and social acquaintances.

    There is where we meet many characters who overcome formidable challenges on every possible sphere – and those who don’t – Paris is really no different than anywhere else! It is, however, the artistic and cultural center of a very specific historical time known as the Belle Epoque and Katherine Keenum renders a depiction of that time with panache that is delectable to experience! A superb work of historical fiction that should be a best seller and would make a grand movie or Broadway show!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

    No text was provided for this review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    this book just gets better and better. the characters get deepe

    this book just gets better and better. the characters get deeper and more interesting as the story progresses. i have marginal interest in art history but this book sent me to the internet to learn a bit more. i liked the low key nature of Edward and Jeanette's romance and the slow but steady pace of their deepening relationship. edward's civil war experiences were riveting as was his courageous struggle with addiction.
    the side characters made the story rich. the details about art, Paris and rules of late 19th century societal rules created a truly engaging story.
    i thought this was a great book. my only caveat was that some side characters had interesting story lines left a bit at loose ends.what the heck happened with Dr. Winkie? poor emily and her overbearing brother...
    anyway - terrific and smart read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    WHERE THE LIGHT FALLS by Katherine Keenum is an interesting hist

    WHERE THE LIGHT FALLS by Katherine Keenum is an interesting historical romance set in Ohio and Paris in 1870's. Follow Jeanette Palmer,a young artist who is forced to leave a prestigious school due to scandal. And Edward Murer,a American Civil War veteran with demons. Follow them as they navigate the artist world for women, demons,scandal,ambition,some will follow their dreams while others fight their demons. Jeanette has always dreamt of being an artist and goes to Paris to follow her dreams. Edward and Jeanette fight their attraction,he is much older than Jeanette, as her dreams begin to come true,she learns Edward is addicted to Laudanum,and fighting his own battles. "Where The Light Falls" is a complex,compelling story of love,sacrifice and the struggle women had and still have between a career and love. A wonderful debut for this author. She has captured the time,essence,and life with her engaging characters and intriguing plot.A must for anyone who enjoys women's struggles,women artists,history,conflict and love. Received for an honest review from the publisher.
    RATING: 4
    HEAT RATING: SWEET
    REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction and More/My Book Addiction Reviews

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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