Where the Light Falls: A Novel of the French Revolution

We rated this book:


Where the Light Falls is a lovely novel. It succeeds in making personal and vivid an event turned banal by history books and the passage of time. The French Revolution now feels to us like something distant and removed, but Where the Light Falls executes movingly the main task of historical fiction: making long-past historical events feel immediate and urgent. Though it does have its failings. The beats are often predictable–for example, a character pausing to reflect on how content they are is a sure sign disaster is about to strike. And it doesn’t quite stick the landing in the end–the resolutions to the various story lines are, in some cases, largely predictable or, in others, a little absurd.

But overall, the book intimately captures the terror of trying to survive the many upheavals of the revolution. Most vivid is an execution that takes place near the middle of the story, made harrowing by the intensity with which the book depicts its many layers of human tragedy. I still find it affecting.

Whether or not you find the French Revolution interesting, this book will succeed at drawing you into its terrifying, brutal, and frequently unjust events. Despite its faults, it will likely leave you with new and deepened insight into a story you thought you already knew.

Reviewed By:

Author Allison Pataki • Owen Pataki
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 384 pages
Publisher The Dial Press
Publish Date 2017-Jul-11
ISBN 9780399591686
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue April 2018
Category Historical Fiction


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