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The Paris Winter
A dark and powerful tale of deceit and revenge from a masterful storyteller.
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What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

Created: 02/18/16

Replies: 14

Posted Feb. 18, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

Posts: 130

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What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

I found this engrossing, wonderful language and descriptions, interesting characters and historical details, but usually a book of this quality has some obvious messages or questions raised, and I am having trouble seeing any here, beyond something obvious like "dare to be different even if you are a woman..." Am I missing something, or is this just about entertainment, suspense?


Posted Feb. 18, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jackies

Join Date: 08/10/12

Posts: 7

RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

Things are not always as they seem. Surely Maud thought her good fortune was almost too good to be true. Her first realization was when Sylvie stole the jewelry, that maybe something was amiss.


Posted Feb. 18, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joycew

Join Date: 06/13/11

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RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

I don't think it was deep enough for a theme. The first half was slow, then the pace picked up but it seemed contrived. Too much was thrown into it. There is stalking, a stake out, a moratorium to not buy diamonds from Morel, a stabbing death in self-defense and a suicide. A little over the top for me.


Posted Feb. 18, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

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RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

I suppose she was showing three women living lives not acceptable at the time for women. Tanya marries the man she loves, an American no less, not acceptable to her noble Russian relatives--not why Daddy let her go to Paris. Yvette, who has nothing, finds a way out of the ghetto where she had to protect herself and her virtue with a knife. She does what she has to do to escape. And Maud, whose stepmother and father were abusive and/or neglectful, finds a way to get to Paris and become an artist. So, the author is celebrating the independence of women and, I guess, is urging her readers to take their lives into their own hands. Guess I can't relate--since I was brought up to be independent--both parents urged us to go into whatever field that interested us and expected us to succeed.


Posted Feb. 18, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

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RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

I think that this book was a tour de force of women taking charge of their lives. Some were rich, some far from it and some were kind and caring and some were self centered and selfish and self important. Even Tanya's imperious old auntie does an about turn after Tanya chose her own husband and asked for help taking charge of her life.


Posted Feb. 19, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
JLPen77

Join Date: 02/05/16

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RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

joyces, katherinep, thanks. I think you're right, a message here is definitely that women need to take charge of their own lives, which does mean willingness to challenge conventions/expectations at times. I think that is still true today, even if we do have more freedom (or, some of us do). I wasn't raised to take charge... there was the unspoken assumption that as a strong student, I should get a college education, but no expectation that I should plan for a career, or for taking care of myself. No teacher or guidance counselor (as they were called then) ever raised that a possibility... not even in the 60s! Now I realize this is why I was paralyzed with indecision about even choosing a major. Nearly 50 years later, I've had two careers, and having been widowed twice, I've been forced to learn to take care of myself. In today's economic climate in the US, women must work even if they do have partners, so the expectations of working have changed, at least, but not necessarily the expectations of taking charge of our own lives -- demanding raises, equal pay for equal work, a career as opposed to a job, a partnership instead of handling most all of the domestic responsibilities, taking time for oneself, etc. I sense this is more common now, certainly for my daughters, but I wonder how true it is for women in poverty or with less education, in America at least where there is no social safety net compared to Europe. So maybe that makes the author's inclusion of women on all socio-economic levels more important, part of her message, not just a plot device.


Posted Feb. 20, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeannew

Join Date: 04/23/11

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RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

I hadn't really thought about it, but I guess the theme of taking charge of your life does stand out, as does playing the hand you're dealt. There's also some feminism here, as Maud, Sylvie and Tanya must deal with society's expectations and are able to overcome them with help from each other. All three end up happier for it.


Posted Feb. 21, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyl

Join Date: 04/15/12

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RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

I agree that one of the themes is about becoming your own person despite disadvantages you might have to surmount. I think it is also about moving on and being willing to change your life if that is necessary to live a more fulfilling life.


Posted Feb. 22, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 149

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RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

I don't think there is a dominant theme in this book. What I came away with was a renewed interest in art and a vow to attend a gallery soon.


Posted Feb. 23, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeannewny

Join Date: 01/10/16

Posts: 20

RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

It was a good book. I enjoyed it very much. I think that the book pointed out to us that things aren't always what they seem and we can't/shouldn't trade one problem for another blindly. Maud was having a hard time taking care of herself early in the book when she was offered the job as a companion to Sylvie. She chose to look away when confronted with the drug use of Sylvia because of the comforts she enjoyed. All three of these girls had issues of one type or another but with the caring they received from the others were able to prevail.
As they say...no man is an island.


Posted Feb. 24, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lynneb

Join Date: 08/23/11

Posts: 70

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RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

I would agree with those who express a theme of women exercising their independence despite the culture of the times. It is a good example of women who were facing different circumstances in economic wealth, class, and upbringing but still banded together to help one another and succeed at becoming independent and successful. The story's purpose however would seem to be primarily of entertainment and a fine example of historical fiction.


Posted Feb. 24, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alisonf

Join Date: 01/31/13

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RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

This was a juxtaposition of independent women in a society with expectations that did not necessarily fit them. They were independent and their relationships show they all had issues. I enjoyed the historical look at the art world during a historical time which provided a setting for the independent woman theme.


Posted Feb. 25, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyh

Join Date: 06/25/13

Posts: 147

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RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

I think of this book as a historical novel. I believe the author wanted to show us the problems women in that period had, no matter what place in society. I also felt is was a history lesson for that time in Paris. I enjoyed the book, probably because I enjoy history. I love having the internet so I can look information about the time period.


Posted Mar. 01, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Navy Mom

Join Date: 04/12/12

Posts: 183

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RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

Strong women can change their own circumstances and live the lives they want. The author showed us three women from completely different backgrounds who didn't have much in common on the surface. But they all were striving to find themselves, make their own decisions, and carve out a place for themselves that was different than what society had already determined for them. And they made these changes with the help of other women.


Posted Mar. 09, 2016 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
amberb

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 77

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RE: What do you think is the theme in this book? What do you think the author wants us to "take away" from it?

I also thought of this book as a historical novel, and it made me want to learn more about the time period & the Paris Flood, and especially to look at the works of female artists during that time.


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