Title: Lisette's List
Author: Susan Vreeland
Publisher: Random House
Publish Date: August 26, 2014
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "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.
Pascal once worked in the
nearby ochre mines and later became a pigment salesman and frame maker;
while selling his pigments in Paris, he befriended Pissarro and Cézanne,
some of whose paintings he received in trade for his frames. Pascal
begins to tutor Lisette in both art and life, allowing her to see his
small collection of paintings and the Provençal landscape itself in a
new light. Inspired by Pascal’s advice to “Do the important things
first,” Lisette begins a list of vows to herself (#4. Learn what makes a
painting great). When war breaks out, André goes off to the front, but
not before hiding Pascal’s paintings to keep them from the Nazis’ reach.
German forces spreading across Europe, the sudden fall of Paris, and
the rise of Vichy France, Lisette sets out to locate the paintings (#11.
Find the paintings in my lifetime). Her search takes her through the
stunning French countryside, where she befriends Marc and Bella Chagall,
who are in hiding before their flight to America, and acquaints her
with the land, her neighbors, and even herself in ways she never dreamed
possible. Through joy and tragedy, occupation and liberation, small
acts of kindness and great acts of courage, Lisette learns to forgive
the past, to live robustly, and to love again."
My Two Cents:
"Lisette's List" is the latest release by the fabulous historical fiction author, Susan Vreeland. Vreeland is definitely on my list of authors whose books I'm definitely going to want to get my hands on it as soon as I can whenever they come out. I very much liked some of her other releases and believe that "Lisette's List" is a very good follow-on to her other works. In this book, Lisette left the glittering world of Paris behind in order to go with her husband to a small French town in order to care for his ailing or maybe not so ailing grandfather. At first, Lisette really doesn't want to be in that small town; however, a mystery and some very warm and wonderful townspeople make her feel like the small town could become home.
I really enjoy when a historical fiction book includes some art. As with some of Vreeland's other books, art plays a heavy hand here. Lisette's husband's grandfather, Pascal, has a mystery for Lisette to solve that revolves around some of the world's greatest paintings that may be in danger with the invasion of the Germans. I loved this mystery and I loved all of the adventures that it created for the storyline. It definitely made this book very exciting to me.
The characters in the book are fabulous. Lisette is definitely an interesting character and she felt very real to me. She definitely kept me wanting to read to find out what would happen to her next. Lisette had very clear career goals and is disheartened when her and her husband's move to this small French town takes her away from her hopes of running her own art gallery. Lisette also comes across some famous characters in her adventures including the famous artist Marc Chagall.
This is a fantastic story with a lot of great historical detail. I also liked how the author was able to create a sense of warmness in the little French town. I really felt that it really helped me to get into the story. This book will definitely thrill previous fans of Vreeland's work and hopefully find her some new fans as well!