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

Published: 2020-10-06T00:0
Paperback : 320 pages
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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 ...

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Introduction

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, Pale Morning Light with Violet Swan is the story of a girl who escaped rural Georgia at fourteen during World War II, crossing the country alone and broke. 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 imagined it to be, would turn out to be her greatest masterpiece.

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Discussion Questions

1. Violet is a complicated character. What do you see of yourself in her? Would you be surprised if you found out that your own grandmother had lived a similar life?

2. Why do you think the author chose to have Violet’s career be in art? In the context of this book, what about art can be applied to life and nature?

3. The Swans keep a lot secrets from each other. Why do you think Violet reveals some things and not others? What are the implications for her, her son, and her grandson? Have there been similar surprises in your own family?

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