Christine's Reviews > Lisette's List

Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2015-reads

Lisette loves living in Paris, but when Pascal, her husband’s grandfather, becomes ill she and Andre must move to a small village in Provence to care for him. Lisette is immediately taken aback by life in Rousillion – the small home with no electricity, an outspoken and often grouchy old man and NO indoor plumbing. Andre quickly builds her an outhouse (the envy of all the neighbours) and she soon discovers Pascal is not the cantankerous old man she thought him to be. Before long he has her enthralled with his reminiscences of being an ochre miner in the countryside and then a pigment salesman and frame maker in Paris. She is astonished when he shows her his small collection of paintings by Pissaro, Cézanne and Picasso, with all of whom he traded his frames and pigments for paintings. When there is no denying that Pascal’s death is near, Lisette realizes the she has not only come to love the man but also his paintings and, although she still longs for Paris sometimes, the way of life in Rousillion. When the Second World War begins Andre goes off to the front, but sensing the danger of keeping the paintings in their small home, he hides them to keep them out of Nazi hands.

As the war draws to an end, and Lisette knows Andre is not returning she begins her list of things she must accomplish in her life and at the top of the list is to find the paintings Pascal treasured so much. This search leads her through the countryside surrounding the village. During her quest she meets Marc and Bella Chagall who not only gift her with a painting Chagall produces just for Lisette, but also teach her more about her neighbours and their way of life. With the discovery of each hidden work of art Lisette begins to understand more about herself and what she is capable of accomplishing.

Once again Ms. Vreeland does what she does best, incorporate her knowledge and love of art and history into an interesting story. This story moves along at a comfortable yet somewhat sedate pace, no doubt similar to the pace of life in 1940’s Rousillion. Not being drawn to books set in times of war I was a little apprehensive about picking this one up and, yes, it does contain some descriptions about the atrocities committed during WWII however those were not the central theme. Lisette’s List embodies some of my favorite subjects (and a few tips on making Marzipan, as well) so of course I enjoyed it.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 20, 2015 – Shelved
March 20, 2015 – Shelved as: 2015-reads
March 20, 2015 – Finished Reading

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