The Age of Light
Book Review - The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer
I chose The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer as my February Book of the Month Club selection. The brief description read, “Love, lust, and jealousy collide in this racy bohemian art world of 1930s Paris.” It had crossed my radar a few times and piqued my interested, but somehow it hadn’t made it on my schedule to be read. So when I saw it AGAIN on Book of the Month, I knew it was a sign that I should read it. And I am SO glad that I read it.
The Age of Light is about the real-life model turned photographer, Lee Miller and her relationship to fellow photographer, Man Ray. You all know how much I LOVE reading about real women in history (ahem, Alva Vanderbilt, Jennie Churchill, Consuelo Vanderbilt, and fellow photographer Dorothea Lange…just to name a few recent ones!) I had never heard of Lee Miller before, but like the other women listed here, she was strong, talented, and paved a way for women who would follow behind her. The story focuses primarily on how Lee meets Man Ray and the professional and personal relationship that developed between them. He was both a mentor (teaching her how to develop film) and lover to Lee. He saw that she was talented and encouraged her to practice photography, but also saw himself as the photographer and Lee as the assistant, even when she was taking photography in new directions never before explored.
I thought Whitney Scharer did a wonderful job bringing to life that “racy bohemian art world of 1930s Paris” mentioned earlier. The scenes that took place in an opium den were especially vivid - I felt like I was there. I listened to this book via Audible with Therese Plummer narrating (stay tuned tomorrow for my feature of Therese!) So part of my getting so lost in the story should be attributed to Therese’s performance. I really felt like everything I love in a book came together in The Age of Light: 1) I learned about a new historical figure; 2) The glamour and romance of the art world and 1930s Paris; 3) A strong female lead; 4) A story I could really get lost in.