With The Girl from the Lighthouse, Willard Thompson has once again both captured my imagination and taught me. I was immediately drawn into Emma’s world by Mr. Thompson’s use of both the first person and the present tense. Emma is a strong and memorable character who transforms from California girl to Parisian artist over the second half of the 19th century. Mr. Thompson gives us a window into the art world of Paris during the Franco/Prussian War, the Commune Uprising, and the advent of Impressionism. I was engrossed in Emma’s story, as well as the historical events and people that affected her life. Thank you, Mr. Thompson!
Jo Halderman, Author of In The Shadow of the White House
With The Girl From the Lighthouse, Willard Thompson sets his new story in Belle ÉpoqueParis. Emma, the eponymous girl from the lighthouse, comes to Paris planning to study art, but she has no money, speaks no French, and is laughed out of the École des Beaux-Arts(Allow a woman study art.
Emma’s efforts to develop her talent require her to navigate a turbulent period in French history – the Franco-Prussian war, the siege of Paris, and the Paris Commune.
Against this backdrop, Emma meets and works with artists whose paintings have been rejected by the Académieand who struggle financially while trying to develop a new style of painting. Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, and others would later become giants of Impressionism –– but, like Emma, their work brought them little money or contemporary recognition.
Emma succeeds in her quest because of a personality formed in the remote California lighthouse where she was raised by her father and three lighthouse keepers.
James Patillo, author of Killing the Hangman and Skim
In The Girl from the Lighthouse, Mr. Thompson has fused history, art history, and personal struggle into a heady cocktail that will intoxicate the reader.
The novel is a cinematic sweep through Paris of the late 19th century, a dynamic and vibrant immersion that makes me feel I am actually on Paris streets, in its parks and cafés, with all the exciting tumult of the time around me.
Kia McInerny, author of Bond Hunter and Max in Filmland
Through the eyes of Emma Dobbins, a young American artist, Willard Thompson takes us back to the era of the Impressionist painters in Paris and the rarefied company of Morisot, Degas, Bazille and other artists in the late 1800s. Her ups and downs as a beautiful young model help her career when women were rejected at the art schools in Paris. Thompson has beautifully captured the socio-political ambiance of the period through the adventures and misadventures of his heroine and tells her story with great charm and skill.
Mary Tonetti Dorra, author ofDemeter’s Choice