The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer
Published February 5, 2019 by Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
In this novel the reader is following Lee Miller a former model and wannabe photographer. She travels to Paris in 1929 to pursue that dream and she just so happens to meet the famous surrealist Man Ray. She wants him to teach her his ways but he wants her to be his model. Lee convinces him but they end up becoming closer than expected.
In between those chapters you are following her in war torn Europe in the the mid 40’s. She discovers new photography techniques and documents the liberation of the concentration camps. Meanwhile she has to decide if she is ever going to mix romance with her artistic ambition again.
► Lee Miller seemed like a very relatable character at the beginning of the novel. She had integrity and ambition. She stuck up for herself and worked hard to get where she wanted to be. After her and Man Ray figured out their feelings for each other, it all went downhill. Her morals became questionable when she didn’t feel like Man Ray treated her the right way. I’m not saying that Man Ray was right, but I am saying that Lee could have taken a different path. There was cheating involved, and it almost seemed like she couldn’t control herself around any other man she met. I understand that a person has needs and if they don’t get it from one person, they look for it elsewhere. I expected much more from her. I wanted her to strive and achieve her goals in the best way possible. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case by the end of the novel.
► I didn’t know what to expect when Man Ray entered the novel. I knew that he and Lee were going to fall in love, but other than that I had no thoughts. I disliked him more than Lee. He was manipulative and greedy. He only wanted Lee for sex and her innovative ideas. He always acted like he loved her and didn’t want her to work with anyone else because they had such a great bond. When Lee wanted to work in a movie another person was making he was angry with her and then turned around and said she could do it. He would build her up and then break her down. Lee took all of the mental and emotional abuse for the majority of the story. I’m not sure what that type of abuse does to a person, but I would hope that whoever goes through that can leave the relationship. It’s not worth staying even if “love” is involved.
► The side characters are well developed. You meet quite a few people, and you can get a solid first impression. I hate when you meet side characters and never learn a single thing about them. I enjoy the connections between each personality because it’s always different with each person.
► I understand that I didn’t love the main characters, but I did enjoy the writing. Scharer has this way of words that makes me turn the pages. There are beautiful descriptions and sharp dialogue. There is also some steamy romance integrated. I know that there is quite a bit of romance considering this is supposed to be historical fiction. I didn’t mind it, and it does mention in the synopsis that she finds a romantic relationship with Man Ray. I don’t think that it took away from the story too much. I think if you are interested in the novel, then you should pick it up!
►I will include a trigger warning for rape/sexual abuse. It’s a tiny part in this novel, but it does get brought up in a few other situations. If you are at all hesitant about that topic then maybe skim those parts or don’t pick this up.
► Overall I did enjoy this novel. I borrowed this from the library, but I would consider buying it in the future. I will pick up future stories from Scharer. This did not exceed my expectations, but it came pretty close!
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