Paris, 1929. Former Vogue model Lee Miller has moved to the City of Light to pursue her dreams of becoming a photographer, "to make art instead of being made into it." An arresting beauty, Lee was her father's favorite subject for his photos, but she wants more out of life than modeling. When she meets the artist Man Ray, she is drawn into his Surrealist circle, becoming first his assistant and then his lover and muse.
In her debut novel, The Age of Light, Whitney Scharer charts the unfolding of Lee and Man's passionate, tempestuous relationship. Lee relishes the chance to learn new photographic techniques, developing her artistic eye and gaining confidence. But while she cares deeply for Man, her growing artistic ambitions threaten his fragile ego and make her feel stifled, until ultimately she will have to choose between him and her work. Scharer inserts brief flashes forward to Lee's work as a journalist and photographer during World War II and in postwar Germany and Eastern Europe, though she leaves an unexplained gap of almost a decade.
Scharer vividly evokes the bohemian swirl of 1930s Paris: endless parties and secret opium dens, artists intent on their own work and wildly jealous of their compatriots. Both Lee and the reader are swept up in the artistic scene, but the story underneath is much more interesting: a woman learning to claim her place in the world, to find and capture not only light but "the feeling of being alive." --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams