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Lisette's List    by Susan Vreeland order for
Lisette's List
by Susan Vreeland
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Susan Vreeland states she is a passionate lover of art, and in Lisette's List she shows us what that means. Lisette, a Parisian, must visit a village in Provence to care for her husband's grandfather. It's very inconvenient because she just got a job as a gallery apprentice, and what do they know in Provence about art or anything for that matter?

Well, it turns out grandfather Pascal has quite a collection of paintings, along with wonderful stories about the artists. Lisette, who wants to learn what makes a painting great, begins her study here in this place of ochre mines and interesting neighbors. And while she learns, so do we - everything from how paints are actually made, to how they are applied, why the separate pieces in a still life are arranged the way they are, how to begin to judge a painting, and what it means to move from a rational to an emotional response to a work.

Besides all this there is the war to contend with. Lisette's husband is adamant that she stay in Provence - Paris is not safe, but even the village feels the effects with shortages and possible collaborators. Yet there are small joys and wonderful acts of courage, so that Lisette learns not only about painting but about herself. A charming read.

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