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The Age of Light

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  119 ratings  ·  62 reviews
A captivating debut about Vogue model turned renowned photographer Lee Miller, and her passionate affair with the artist Man Ray in 1930s Paris.

"I'd rather take a picture than be one," says Lee Miller after she arrives in Paris in 1929. Yearning for a different life and haunted by her past, Lee leaves behind a successful modeling career to pursue her dream of being an arti
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: February 5th 2019 by Little, Brown and Company
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Jennifer S. Brown
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This novel of Lee Miller--a model turned photographer who became the assistant and lover to the more famous artist Man Ray--is lush and engrossing and the details of her life swept me away. There is something almost photographic in the way Scharer captures the story, diving into Miller's life as a war correspondent in the 1940s, delving into Miller's libertine mindset, and allowing us to enter the lives of the artistic scene of Paris in the late 20s and early 30s, each image crystallizing for us ...more
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a romance novel masquerading as historical fiction. Despite my interest in Man Ray and Lee Miller, I truly don’t need to read about their steamy sex. Their sexual proclivities aside, there is a lot about this that simply reads false.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley

As an amateur photographer and someone who loves photography as art, I was thrilled to get an advance copy of this book about Lee Miller and Man Ray. It took me back to the days when photography was as much about developing a picture as taking it. The book shines when the descriptions turn to the art of photography, especially when Lee is framing a shot or Man is teaching her how to develop for maximum effect or they come up with a new technique. When she is determining how to take a shot, I cou
Celeste Ng
In incandescent prose, Whitney Scharer has created an unforgettable heroine discovering her passion, her independence, and her art—and what she must sacrifice to have them. Sweeping from the glamour of 1920s Paris through the battlefields of World War II and into the war’s long shadow, THE AGE OF LIGHT is a startlingly modern love story and a mesmerizing portrait of a woman’s self-transformation from muse into artist.
Crystal King
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I knew very little about Lee Miller before diving into this delightful debut novel (thanks NetGalley and Little, Brown). I was immediately drawn in, not just by the exquisite language and Scharer's gift of storytelling, but also her ability to send you right into the mind of Miller. Scharer squeezes your heart, and inflames your senses with every move that Miller makes. It was only afterward when I wanted to know more about Man Ray and his enchanting lover that I found Scharer took a few liberti ...more
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My favorite book so far this year. Absolutely brilliant!
Mary Urban
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An evocative historical fiction that swiftly whisks you away to the beautiful melancholy of the 1930s Paris art world.

A woman's voice and her place in art and relationships are at the center of this novel, a contemporary theme among a historical setting. The Age of Light absolutely drips in style; enjoy rubbing elbows with Picasso, Cocteau, and, of course, the tumultuous and intoxicating Man Ray in secret salons and on dimly lit cafe boats.

Note that Lee Miller is a real historical figure with
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am lucky enough to have read a preview copy of "The Age of Light". Whitney is an amazing first-time published author. This book was a delight to read and I could barely put it down. It contains the joie de live of an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel and the artistic intensity of Frieda Kahlo. Lee Miller is a perfect character and pulls you in to her story. Other books would have portrayed her as the woman behind the man, but this story proves how compelling, smart, creative and so very imperfect Lee ...more
Louise Miller
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is truly an extraordinary novel. From the first scene to the last, I fell into my own passionate love affair with this book--I found myself always wanting to be reading it, and pining for it when I had to set it down, thinking about the characters and the lushness of the details as I fell asleep. Scharer has a visual artists eye for detail, an ear for lyrical prose, and a huge empathetic heart. I can't wait to share it with everyone I know.
Christopher Castellani
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is such an engrossing and transporting book, one that, as many readers have already noted, makes these glamorous and thrilling characters come vividly alive on every page. Scharer is a natural storyteller who gets you emotionally invested not only in the relationship between Lee Miller and Man Ray, but in the dramas and passions of the demimonde they inhabited, and especially in the psychology of Miller herself. I particularly liked how The Age of Light was told solely from Lee Miller's per ...more
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved every line of it...
Rachael Burrows
Great and informative read!
Fidan Lurin
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was recently sent an ARC of The Age of Light by the publicists at Little, Brown and Company in exchange for an honest review. This work of historical fiction by Whitney Scharer is expected to be published on February 05, 2019.

The Age of Light is a captivating and exhilarating narrative that keeps readers emotionally invested up to the very last page. Masquerading as historical fiction, the novel recounts the life of Vogue model turned photographer, Lee Miller and her relationship with Man Ray,
Karen LeBlanc
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer chronicles in historical fiction the love affair between a former model turned photographer Lee Miller and the famed photographer Man Ray, an influential force in the Dada and Surrealist movements rooted in Paris in the 1930s.

We first meet Lee in 1966 as a puffy middle-aged woman prone to drinking whiskey and dulled by the monotony of her marriage and life on a farm on Sussex England. At midlife, Lee has settled for a meh marriage and an unfulfilling but stead
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Age of Light is one of those books that says with you long after you've finished it. The story follows beautiful model Lee Miller as she moves from NYC to Paris and reinvents herself as a photographer. She meets Man Ray, already a successful artist and photographer, and they embark on the kind of love affair that defines one's life. Lee is Man Ray's lover, partner, protege and overall muse and their relationship plays out on the pages , drawing the reader in. I had no idea I was reading abou ...more
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sensuous writing dripping with period set details from salons to cabarets, seedy lounges and absinthe dens, Whitney Scharer's The Age of Light is the fictionalized account of the love affair between Lee Miller and Man Ray, interlaced with brief chapters from Miller's time as a war photographer. The third person present narration gives each scene immediacy unshackled from traditional historical fiction. Scharer's smooth, unabashed writing style matches perfectly with Miller's story as she goes fr ...more
Vivian Payton
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In this beautifully written debut novel by Whitney Sharer, THE AGE OF LIGHT transports readers to Paris in the 1930’s and Europe during World War II when Man Ray and Lee Miller meet. Lee is a successful model whose father used to photograph her when she was young and taught her some basics of the trade. At the age of 22, she meets Man Ray, a successful and renowned artist and photographer, who she begins to work for him as his assistant. As they collaborate together, they discover new techniques ...more
Katherine Riley
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Age of Light is like a book of life condensed to its essentials. Meticulously researched, there is little it does not contain. Now that it’s over, I find myself still thinking about Lee a lot, not just the woman or the artist but both, in the larger context of womanhood and artistry and love. When it began, I was aware of the praise it has garnered as a fantastic Parisian love story, and so was frankly shocked to meet a woman who perceives herself as old and fat and ugly, who can’t make art ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
Lee Miller is a Vogue model turned photographer. She meets and falls in love with the famous Man Ray in 1930' Paris. Haunted by her past Lee is charmed by the remarkable Man Ray. As lee's career starts to rise Man Ray becomes jealous and things take a turn. This is at times very sexually explicit. Very bohemian in nature. I loved it! I was compelled it. The setting being Paris, the whole artsy feel of it. The characters were feelable. Can't say enough how good this is. I just loved it!

I was give
Patricia Romero
A captivating debut about Vogue model turned renowned photographer Lee Miller, and her passionate affair with the artist Man Ray in 1930s Paris.

When Lee Miller comes to Paris in 1929 she wants nothing more than to create a new life. She is tired of being the one in front of the camera and wants to be the one taking photographs. 

Lee had a rather abusive childhood which is alluded to but I would have liked to have heard more about it. It led her to make some bad life choices. When she is introduce
Julie Greb
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am a fan of literary fiction, especially books with incredible character building. This book was right up my alley. The story follows a former Vogue model turned wannabe photographer Lee Miller, as she moves to Paris to follow her dream of becoming an artist. Miller stumbles upon the hip Parisian boho party scene and ends up meeting artist Man Ray. She becomes Ray's muse, then his lover, and then his creative partner. The book follows this period of Miller's life and paints a portrait of Paris ...more
Julie Langsdorf
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful novel! Scharer takes the reader back to Paris in the twenties, an era exploding with innovation and creativity, as seen through the eyes of the fascinating (and gorgeous) Lee Miller. She evokes the woman and the time in sensual and poetic prose, following Miller, then a fashion model, as she arrives in Paris with dreams of becoming a photographer at a time when women, no matter how talented, were the muses and men, the artists. Scharer gives equal weight to the beauty and pain i ...more
Lindsay Lamping
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! A coming of age, mixed with love story, mixed with betrayal. It has a little bit of everything that will keep you intrigued until the very end! Whitney Scharer's writing is superb! She captivates the reader from the very beginning. The story switches back and forth between present and past to help you gain an understanding of the character's in their entirety. The main character, Lee, is complex and I feel that many can relate to her on some level. This book is must read to ...more
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lee Miller sucked me in. Scharer expertly portrays her life in broad glamorous strokes complete with Gatsby-style parties and towering luminaries such as Cocteau. I devoured it all – including the explosive love scenes – but these broad strokes were not what really grabbed me. What moved me to love this book was the underlying tension of Lee’s traumatic past that sat boiling below her every decision and had her self-destructing at almost every turn. Read this book!
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent historical novel set in Paris in the 1920-1930 artistic era.
Julia Phillips
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
THE AGE OF LIGHT is magnificent. Following photographer Lee Miller from her childhood in Poughkeepsie to her blossoming as a young artist and lover in 1929-1932 Paris to her experiences as a war correspondent during World War II to her retreat from the spotlight to a farm house in Sussex, this novel transforms an underappreciated historical figure into an absolutely captivating fictional heroine.

The novel brings Lee to new life. We readers come to know her intimately, in her desires, her trauma
Susan McBeth
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In an exquisite debut, Whitney Scharer takes readers on an extraordinary journey alongside American Lee Miller, the beautiful Vogue model determined to make her mark as a surrealist photographer in 1930’s Paris. Miller embarks on this passionate and bold quest through battlefields, bistros, and bedrooms in her tenacious quest, despite what appear to be the twin advantages of stunning looks and a relationship with lover, famed artist Man Ray. This journey would be a challenge for any writer, yet ...more
Dan Radovich
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a debut Scharer has written in THE AGE OF LIGHT! The relationship of Man Ray and Lee Miller are told in vivid prose from early 1930s Paris thru WWII. Professional and personal relationships are shared by these two, Miller being the eager apprentice to the older famous photographer. Did he use her, YES he did, professionally and sexually. The story captures all aspects of their relationship in a real page-turner. I knew hardly anything about either of these talents, and came away feeling rew ...more
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this stunning book which comes out Feb 2019. A gorgeous meditation on feminism and art, it explores the story of real-life photographer Lee Miller and her relationship with Man Ray (and others). Part of the pleasure of this book is learning about that amazing era in the art world when there was so much thrilling experimentation and discovery. What is art? What are we trying to say, as creatives? How does this mesh with real life—both political and private? What kind of dete ...more
Alvaro Garat
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
Lo que me costó terminar este libro.

Una historia anticlimática, densa y aburrida. Demasiado tóxica en algunos aspectos, no la recomendaría jamás.

Pero bueno, espero que la autora acomode algunas cositas, ya que leí un arc y realmente está a tiempo de convertir una obra del demonio en algo zafable.

Estoy indignado.

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Whitney Scharer's debut novel, THE AGE OF LIGHT, is forthcoming from Little, Brown (US) and Picador (UK) in February 2019, and in over a dozen other countries. She holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MFA from the University of Washington. She lives outside Boston with her husband and daughter.