Pale Morning Light with Violet Swan: A Novel of a Life in Art by Deborah Reed


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Many Thanks to Net Galley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and the author for a chance to review this book.

The title of the book has an enchanted feeling. It made me think of dawn and the first light that creeps thru the windows and the feeling of tranquility or serenity on a good day. Pale Morning Light of Violet Swan transports a reader to that realm of absolute gratification, the writing so unhurried that it leaves us with contentment and bliss.

We meet Violet when she is 93 yrs. old, knowing that her days are numbered and along with Violet we begin a journey to her fire-eaten scarred hands and legs. Her life has always been about art and not about who she is. Extremely private, there are parts of her life that even her son is unaware of. Her grandson Daniel’s request for a documentary on her mysterious life has so far been unsuccessful but an earthquake opens up the fissures in her heart and the locks have been opened and the memories that Violet has kept hidden for decades refuse to be tied up again.

The story is in fact a celebration of life lived to the fullest in spite of the terrible losses and trauma that Violet has suffered. Her son Frank and his wife Penny are also at the crossroads of their life, years together creating such deep resentments that it has boiled over. Daniel returns to this place he has always been happy growing up with a life-altering secret that breathes a new beginning for everyone involved.

I loved Deborah Reed’s exploration of relationships especially motherhood and its varied forms thru Violet and Penny. The use of art and colors and the beauty of the nature by the author adds a bewitching quality to the whole story that some parts of it left me spell-bound. Another first-time author for me, I am so thrilled to have read and for the smile that this book left me with, I am rating it 5stars.



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Blurb

The story of a famous abstract painter at the end of her life—her family, her art, and the long-buried secrets that won’t stay hidden for much longer.

Ninety-three-year-old Violet Swan has spent a lifetime translating tragedy and hardship into art, becoming famous for her abstract paintings, which evoke tranquility, innocence, and joy. For nearly a century Violet has lived a peaceful, private life of painting on the coast of Oregon. The “business of Violet” is run by her only child, Francisco, and his wife, Penny. But shortly before Violet’s death, an earthquake sets a series of events in motion, and her deeply hidden past begins to resurface. When her beloved grandson returns home with a family secret in tow, Violet is forced to come to terms with the life she left behind so long ago—a life her family knows nothing about.

A generational saga set against the backdrop of twentieth-century America and into the present day, Violet Swan is the story of a girl who escaped rural Georgia at fourteen during World War II, crossing the country alone and with no money. It is the story of how that girl met the man who would become her devoted husband, how she became a celebrated artist, and above all, how her life, inspired by nothing more than the way she imagines it to be, will turn out to be her greatest masterpiece.

7 thoughts on “Pale Morning Light with Violet Swan: A Novel of a Life in Art by Deborah Reed

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