The Girl from the Lighthouse

The Girl from the Lighthouse

4.31 (16 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Girl From the Lighthouse tells the compelling story of Emma Dobbins. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she was raised by her father, a lighthouse keeper at Point Conception in California, where early on she discovers her artistic talent. At the age of 17, Emma travels to Paris with a chaperone, to attend art school but is separated from the chaperone when the chaperone becomes ill. Emma arrives alone in Paris with no money, no language skills, and no friends. A chance meeting with a young working girl in the train station becomes her first Parisian friend. The setting is Paris in the 1860s-70s, the start of the Belle Èpoque. France soon is involved in the Franco/Prussian War and the Commune Uprising; difficult times for Emma and all Frenchmen. Initially rejected by art schools, her determination keeps her moving toward her goal in the art world, where the Impressionists are starting to change the world. Frenchmen fall in love with her beautiful face and lustrous dark hair. Some wanted to paint her, others to court her, but either way, she does not abide by the rules they try to impose on her. Emma grows into an accomplished artist but never gives up her own principles... even when someone steals something precious to her. The story is told in the first person, present tense, allowing the reader to enter the story and feel a part of it as it unfolds, sharing with Emma her highs and lows, loves and rejections, all focused in the art world of Paris. The novel is filled with vivid characters, both fictional and real people, and the story unfolds gracefully from the 1870s until 1912, just prior to the start of WWI
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Product details

  • Paperback | 428 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 24mm | 626g
  • English
  • 0979755298
  • 9780979755293

Review quote

With The Girl from the Lighthouse, Willard Thompson has once again both captured my imagination and taught me. I was immediately drawn into Emma's world by Mr. Thompson's use of both the first person and the present tense. Emma is a strong and memorable character who transforms from California girl to Parisian artist over the second half of the 19th century. Mr. Thompson gives us a window into the art world of Paris during the Franco/Prussian War, the Commune Uprising, and the advent of Impressionism. I was engrossed in Emma's story, as well as the historical events and people that affected her life. Thank you, Mr. Thompson!

Jo Halderman, Author of In The Shadow of the White House

With The Girl From the Lighthouse, Willard Thompson sets his new story in Belle ÉpoqueParis. Emma, the eponymous girl from the lighthouse, comes to Paris planning to study art, but she has no money, speaks no French, and is laughed out of the École des Beaux-Arts(Allow a woman study art.

Emma's efforts to develop her talent require her to navigate a turbulent period in French history - the Franco-Prussian war, the siege of Paris, and the Paris Commune.

Against this backdrop, Emma meets and works with artists whose paintings have been rejected by the Académieand who struggle financially while trying to develop a new style of painting. Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, and others would later become giants of Impressionism -- but, like Emma, their work brought them little money or contemporary recognition.

Emma succeeds in her quest because of a personality formed in the remote California lighthouse where she was raised by her father and three lighthouse keepers.

James Patillo, author of Killing the Hangman and Skim

In The Girl from the Lighthouse, Mr. Thompson has fused history, art history, and personal struggle into a heady cocktail that will intoxicate the reader.

The novel is a cinematic sweep through Paris of the late 19th century, a dynamic and vibrant immersion that makes me feel I am actually on Paris streets, in its parks and cafés, with all the exciting tumult of the time around me.

Kia McInerny, author of Bond Hunter and Max in Filmland

Through the eyes of Emma Dobbins, a young American artist, Willard Thompson takes us back to the era of the Impressionist painters in Paris and the rarefied company of Morisot, Degas, Bazille and other artists in the late 1800s. Her ups and downs as a beautiful young model help her career when women were rejected at the art schools in Paris. Thompson has beautifully captured the socio-political ambiance of the period through the adventures and misadventures of his heroine and tells her story with great charm and skill.

Mary Tonetti Dorra, author ofDemeter's Choice
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Rating details

16 ratings
4.31 out of 5 stars
5 44% (7)
4 50% (8)
3 0% (0)
2 6% (1)
1 0% (0)
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