From Susan Vreeland, bestselling author of such acclaimed novels as Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Luncheon of the Boating Party, and Clara and Mr. Tiffany, comes a richly imagined story of a woman’s awakening in the south of Vichy France—to the power of art, to the beauty of provincial life, and to love in the midst of war.
In 1937, young Lisette Roux and her husband, André, move from Paris to a village in Provence to care for André’s grandfather Pascal. Lisette regrets having to give up her dream of becoming a gallery apprentice and longs for the comforts and sophistication of Paris. But as she soon discovers, the hilltop town is rich with unexpected pleasures.
(Synopsis and image via Goodreads)
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Romance / Historical Fiction
Published: August 26, 2014
Format: Kindle edition, 432 pages
A long-time Susan Vreeland fan, beginning with The Girl in Hyacinth Blue, this work left me wanting more. I always felt as though I was transported by time and place, and I came to know her characters intimately. Not so with Lisette’s List.
Several things troubled me:
- The character development is shallow. So much more could be done with Lisette’s role in this story. Is she a strong woman, or a woman so in love she cannot speak up for herself? Is she willing to forego all her dreams?
- Consistently Vreeland is a consummate fact-checker and her historical research immaculate. Yet in Lisette’s List she seems to barely brush over the immense history at hand to be reported and shared with her readers. Was this intentional? Did she not intend this to share historical detail?
- I confess I am not a great student of art but I am a huge fan of Impressionism, and I would have enjoyed reading a bit more about the education Lisette was hoping to receive and from whom. Did she have a one-on-one relationship with one of the greats, or was her education in a school with other students?
These are the few things that troubled me as I read. I have never been disappointed by a Susan Vreeland book before, but this time I can’t even remember why I thought I would enjoy it.
I hesitate to dissuade you from reading Lisette’s List without reading other reviews on Goodreads or Amazon. Each of us finds within a book something someone else will never see or feel. If you have not read any of Susan Vreeland’s books, I suggest you begin by picking up one of her other books first before attempting to read Lisette’s List.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed are solely mine.