One of the Best Books of the Year: Parade, Glamour, Real Simple, Refinery29, Yahoo! Lifestyle. "A startlingly modern love story and a mesmerizing portrait of a woman's self-transformation from muse to artist." --Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere
"I'd rather take a photograph than be one," Lee Miller declares after she arrives in Paris in 1929, where she soon catches the eye of the famous Surrealist Man Ray. Though he wants to use her only as a model, Lee convinces him to take her on as his assistant and teach her everything he knows. As they work together in the darkroom, their personal and professional lives become intimately entwined, changing the course of Lee's life forever.
Lee's journey of self-discovery takes took her from the cabarets of bohemian Paris to the battlefields of war-torn Europe during WWII, from inventing radical new photography techniques to documenting the liberation of the concentration camps as one of the first female war correspondents. Through it all, Lee must grapple with the question of whether it's possible to stay true to herself while also fulfilling her artistic ambition--and what she will have to sacrifice to do so.
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A Gorgeous, Moving, Must-Read Novel
I knew very little about Lee Miller before diving into this delightful debut novel (thanks NetGalley and Little, Brown). I was immediately drawn in, not just by the exquisite language and Scharer's gift of storytelling, but also her ability to send you right into the mind of Miller. Scharer squeezes your heart, and inflames your senses with every move that Miller makes. It was only afterward when I wanted to know more about Man Ray and his enchanting lover that I found Scharer took a few liberties with Miller's history, but all for the good of the story itself. I devoured this gorgeous book and all of the decadence of Paris in the 1930s, the bohemian lifestyle of these artists and Miller's complex transformation into a woman of her own that underlies it all. This book left me in tears on the last page. The impression of this novel is one I will carry with me for months and years forward.