Susan Vreeland is an American author who incorporates her passion for art into her novels. With Lisette’s List, we are transported to Provence during World War II, where Lisette and her husband arrive from Paris in order to care for her husband’s aging grandfather, Pascal. In his younger days, Pascal knew the great artists Pissarro and Cezanne, and in exchange for frames he crafted, collected seven works of art. During his last days, Pascal shared his stories about the paintings and the artists with Lisette, and asked her to keep both in safekeeping.
I had notions when I first picked up this book, that the main character would be something of a Rose Valland – the famous assistant at the Jeu de Paume museum who, by carefully noting all the paintings the Nazis were stealing, helped France to retrieve their great art collection after the war. While nothing as grand and dangerous as Valland’s escapades, Lisette did seek to retrieve Pascal’s collection which disappeared during the war. And Lisette’s List, was not a list of paintings, but rather a list of life goals that she set out achieve.
I enjoyed this novel, as I do most of Vreeland’s works, but it was a little slow to start, and the background of the war and it’s consequences to the characters, felt less important to the story than the art itself. And yet it was a very important part of the story and should have been fleshed out more.
3 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2014