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.
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.
With 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.
Praise for Susan Vreeland
Clara and Mr. Tiffany
“Vreeland’s ability to make this complex historical novel as luminous as a Tiffany lamp is nothing less than remarkable.”—The Washington Post
“Vreeland’s writing is so graceful, her research so exhaustive, that a reader is enfolded in the world of Tiffany and Driscoll.”—Los Angeles Times
Luncheon of the Boating Party
“A masterwork . . . Like the painters Vreeland writes about, she too is leaving her legacy—some of the world’s finest examples of historical fiction.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune
“Exquisitely wrought . . . this summer’s most satisfying historical novel.”—The Seattle Times
Girl in Hyacinth Blue
“Intelligent, searching and unusual, the novel is filled with luminous moments; like the painting it describes so well, it has a way of lingering in the reader’s mind.”—The New York Times
“A little gem of a novel . . . [a] beautifully written exploration of the power of art.”—Parade
About the Author
Susan Vreeland is the New York Times bestselling author of eight books, including Clara and Mr. Tiffany and Girl in Hyacinth Blue. She lives in San Diego.
Praise for Lisette's List…
“[Lisette’s List] great strength is its lovingly detailed setting, a mountaintop village—‘like some fantasy kingdom from a child’s folk legend, altogether dazzling’—whose charm gradually enwraps the reader just as it does the initially resistant Lisette. . . . [Susan Vreeland] is entranced by color, artistic creativity and the transformative power of art. . . . Readers will enjoy lingering in the sun-dappled, fruit-scented Provençal landscape that Vreeland brings to life.”—The Boston Globe
“In Lisette’s List, by bestselling historical novelist Susan Vreeland, things happen that also amaze and illuminate. . . . Vreeland’s love of painters and painting, her meticulous research and the pitch-perfect descriptive talents that distinguished such books as Girl in Hyacinth Blue and Luncheon of the Boating Party are abundantly evident in her new novel.”—The Washington Post
“Part romance, part historical fiction, part travelogue, part art history text, Lisette’s List is a long, leisurely look at one young woman’s life, loves and explorations of painting in a village in the south of France. . . . Vreeland knows her art, she knows Provence, and she’s done her historical homework. . . . Lisette’s List offers its readers a pleasurable opportunity to learn something about art, history and ocher, and to enjoy a plucky heroine who grows in ways she never thought possible.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“The novel’s heart is its patient interweaving of sensuous, meticulously observed details with themes of forgiveness, female strength, and survival.”—Publishers Weekly
“A sweeping historical novel . . . Une jolie Parisienne in Provence during the turbulent World War II years comes to understand love and great art to the core of her being. . . . Vreeland, who has proven in earlier art-themed bestsellers that she has an exquisite eye for detail, is enormously talented at establishing the important societal role of art. . . . Her deeply researched novel is mesmerizing. Merveilleux. Vreeland’s passionate writing is as good as a private showing at the Louvre.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Lisette’s List is heartfelt, loving and lovely, and asks difficult questions beautifully.”—Shelf Awareness