The Light of Paris

The Light of Paris

by Eleanor Brown


$26.00 View All Available Formats & Editions


“I adored The Light of Paris. It’s so lovely and big-hearted—it made me long for Paris.”—Jojo Moyes, New York Times-bestselling author of Me Before You and After You

The miraculous novel from the New York Times–bestselling author of The Weird Sisters—a sensation beloved by critics and readers alike.
Madeleine is trapped—by her family's expectations, by her controlling husband, and by her own fears—in an unhappy marriage and a life she never wanted. From the outside, it looks like she has everything, but on the inside, she fears she has nothing that matters.

In Madeleine’s memories, her grandmother Margie is the kind of woman she should have been—elegant, reserved, perfect. But when Madeleine finds a diary detailing Margie’s bold, romantic trip to Jazz Age Paris, she meets the grandmother she never knew: a dreamer who defied her strict, staid family and spent an exhilarating summer writing in cafés, living on her own, and falling for a charismatic artist.

Despite her unhappiness, when Madeleine’s marriage is threatened, she panics, escaping to her hometown and staying with her critical, disapproving mother. In that unlikely place, shaken by the revelation of a long-hidden family secret and inspired by her grandmother’s bravery, Madeleine creates her own Parisian summer—reconnecting to her love of painting, cultivating a vibrant circle of creative friends, and finding a kindred spirit in a down-to-earth chef who reminds her to feed both her body and her heart.

Margie and Madeleine’s stories intertwine to explore the joys and risks of living life on our own terms, of defying the rules that hold us back from our dreams, and of becoming the people we are meant to be.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399158919
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/12/2016
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Eleanor Brown is the author of The Weird Sisters. Her writing has been published in anthologies, magazines, and journals. She holds an M.A. in Literature and has worked in education in South Florida. She lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.

What People are Saying About This

Mary Kay Andrews

Paris is always a good idea. It's not just a line from an old movie, it's a credo, and the underlying idea of Eleanor Brown's wise and charming new novel, The Light of Paris. Protagonist Madeleine Spencer is repressed, depressed and downright oppressed in her marriage to a chilly Chicago businessman. When she flees both to her Southern hometown her critical mother is less than welcoming. It's only when Madeleine opens a dusty trunk in the attic of the family home and finds her grandmother Margie's forgotten Parisian diary that Madeleine begins to find her way home--both emotionally and physically. The Light of Paris is a warm and illuminating novel of great hope and heart. --Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times-bestselling author of Beach Town and Ladies' Night

Jojo Moyes

I adored The Light of Paris. It's so lovely and big-hearted—it made me long for Paris. --Jojo Moyes, New York Times-bestselling author of After You

Paula McLain

Eleanor Brown is high priestess of that rich place where soulfulness and emotional insight meet laugh-out-loud humor. In her wry and affecting follow-up to The Weird Sisters, we meet Margie and Madeleine—two women separated by decades and continents, but on same essential journey toward self-exploration and self-knowledge. Somehow each must learn to thrust off others' expectations and their own well-warn fears to reclaim themselves and discover the lives they were always meant for. A deeply rewarding read, The Light of Paris will keep you thinking—and smiling—long after the last page is turned. --Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun

Reading Group Guide


1. The city of Paris becomes a character in its own right throughout the novel. What is the significance of Paris to the story itself? What does it mean to Margie when she lives there and to Madeleine as she reads about it?

2. What are the family patterns that are carried through the three generations of women—Margie, Simone, and Madeleine? How are they similar and how are they different?

3. Madeleine has a difficult relationship with her mother, Simone. Did you feel sympathy for Simone at any point? Have you experienced a mother-daughter dynamic like this in your own life?

4. How are Margie and Madeleine’s relationships with their mothers similar? How are they different? Do you think the habit of parents placing expectations on their children is a breakable pattern?

5. Madeleine and Margie want independent lives, but both have been very sheltered. In what ways are they prepared or unprepared for the realities that face them?

6. The story takes place during two different time periods: 1924 and 1999. What do those years have in common, and how do they affect the story?

7. Madeleine escapes to her home town of Magnolia in the same way that Margie escapes to Paris. Do these two cities have anything in common? How are they different? Do they impact Madeleine and Margie in similar or different ways?

8. Margie wants to write, Madeleine to paint. How does their art affect both their lives and what happens in the story?

9. Did Margie make the right choice? What were the consequences of her decision?

10. At the end of the novel, Madeleine gets a studio to paint in—a room of her own. What is the significance of this space for Madeleine? How does it affect her character?

11. How have circumstances for women changed between the different time periods of Margie and Madeleine’s stories? In what way are they the same?

Customer Reviews