Lisette's List

Lisette's List

Large Print - 2014 | Large print ed
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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.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, c2014
Edition: Large print ed
ISBN: 9781410471291
Branch Call Number: LP FIC Vree
Characteristics: 647 pages (large print) ; 23 cm


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ArapahoeMarcia Jun 14, 2019

A wonderful book that deals with love, loss, and resilience in the south of France before and during WWII. Through all of this, it weaving in the beauty and magic of art and French artists of the time. A very enjoyable read.

Jun 25, 2017

Parisian Lisette finds herself transplanted to Provence when she and her husband take care of his ailing list-keeping grandfather who also happens to own some noteworthy paintings.

In this latest addition to Vreeland’s works of historical fiction about art and artists, readers are in Vichy France in WW II with a young war widow in a small town with issues of resistance and collaboration part of its moral mix and the story of the Nazis rapacious hunt for artwork to loot adding intrigue. Then, there’s the art appreciation piece for four giants in French art—Pissarro, Cezanne, Picasso and Chagall. Oh, and, Lisette's lists! Typical Vreeland. Her vivid over-reaching imagination stretched mine a little.

RidnLibn Sep 01, 2016

This is a fascinating story for lovers of French Impressionist art. The history is wonderful, though the plot is a little thin. Read for descriptions of glorious Provence and insight into what artists see.

Feb 01, 2016

This is a terrific book! It's so big, I thought it would take forever to read. In the end, I didn't want it to come to an end. Great characters, great writing, great story. I'm not an art person, I learned so much from a book of fiction!

Mar 13, 2015

Thoroughly enjoyed, even though I tend to stay away from World War II novels (there are so many).
This one is fresh because of the art theme, and takes place in a small village.
The author did a fine job of 'creating' a couple of paintings while incorporating authentic details.
I think the girl with the goat would have been my favourite, too. I agree that it is a bit wordy, but the authentic humanity of the characters more than makes up for it.

booklady413 Jan 26, 2015

A very interesting book that art lover's will find to their liking. Sometimes it became a bit wordy, and I would have preferred a different ending.

Nov 04, 2014

When Lisette and her husband André receive urgent word that André's grandfather's health is failing, they abandon their cosmopolitan Parisian life and blossoming careers and relocate to the the Provençal countryside, where rustic village life awaits them. Lisette is especially disillusioned by all she has left behind, particularly when she learns that Pascal's home is lacking even running water, but she takes solace in a collection of paintings hanging in her new home and in growing to love Pascal himself as her own grandfather. As WWII threatens, André leaves to defend his country, but not before secretly hiding the paintings from even Lisette. As an owner of a woefully analytical brain and an "underappreciator" of art in general, I'm nevertheless drawn inexplicably to Susan Vreeland's evocative tales surrounding art history. I was afraid at first that I would not be able to sympathize with Lisette. She comes off as unbearably whiny as the story opens, but thankfully her attitude improves, and one could even go so far as to say she eventually embraces her new life in this small village. Lisette's story is both inspiring and heartbreaking.

Oct 09, 2014

Susan Vreeland is one of my favorite authors of art-oriented fiction. This book made me want to pick up a paintbrush even though I am not a painter. I am looking forward to my next visit to the Art Institute's Impressionist collection so I can look at it in a new way.

debwalker Aug 21, 2014

A Parisian woman in Provence during World War II - sounds like a recipe for a wonderful immersive weekend read. Or maybe next summer's trip to Flayosc. Nope, can't wait that long.

APlazek Jul 13, 2014

Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland

Lisette’s List artfully evokes a sense of time and place – you can smell the lavender and hear the Mistral. Lisette is a young Parisian newlywed when she and her husband, Andre are summoned to Roussillon in southern France just before World War II to care for his ailing Grandfather, Pascal.
Upon arriving they discover Pascal is not nearly as ill as previously thought, but nonetheless remain to care for him in his small Provencal village. Pascal’s sparse home contains 7 works of art by famous impressionists, but not even a cushion for the hard chairs and wooden settee. The stories behind the paintings are the reason for the summons. Pascal knew each of the painters and longs for Andre and Lisette to learn about and appreciate the art, as they are his legacy. His advises to Lisette to “do the important things first” inspiring her to create a list of life goals that she titles Lisette’s List of Hungers and Vows.

Vreeland weaves the story of these fictional characters into a beautiful story of love, loss, war, family and belonging with a glimpse into the lives of Cezanne, Pissarro and Chagall. This novel will appeal to fans of The Monument Men or Peter Mayle.


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