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One of O, The Oprah Magazine’s “Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels That Will Sweep You Away” and LitHub’s “Most Anticipated Books of 2021.” For fans of Amy Bloom’s White Houses and Colm Tóibín’s The Master, a page-turning novel about Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington and the art, drama, and romance that defined her coming-of-age during World War II. 1940. A train One of O, The Oprah Magazine’s “Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels That Will Sweep You Away” and LitHub’s “Most Anticipated Books of 2021.” For fans of Amy Bloom’s White Houses and Colm Tóibín’s The Master, a page-turning novel about Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington and the art, drama, and romance that defined her coming-of-age during World War II. 1940. A train carrying exiled German prisoners from a labor camp arrives in southern France. Within moments, word spreads that Nazi capture is imminent, and the men flee for the woods, desperate to disappear across the Spanish border. One stays behind, determined to ride the train until he reaches home, to find a woman he refers to simply as “her.” 1937. Leonora Carrington is a twenty-year-old British socialite and painter dreaming of independence when she meets Max Ernst, an older, married artist whose work has captivated Europe. She follows him to Paris, into the vibrant revolutionary world of studios and cafes where rising visionaries of the Surrealist movement like Andre Breton, Pablo Picasso, Lee Miller, Man Ray, and Salvador Dali are challenging conventional approaches to art and life. Inspired by their freedom, Leonora begins to experiment with her own work, translating vivid stories of her youth onto canvas and gaining recognition under her own name. It is a bright and glorious age of enlightenment—until the shadow of war looms over Europe and headlines emerge denouncing Max and his circle as “degenerates,” leading to his arrest and imprisonment. Left along as occupation spreads throughout the countryside, Leonora battles terrifying circumstances to survive, reawakening past demons that threaten to consume her. As Leonora and Max embark on remarkable journeys together and apart, the full story of their tumultuous and passionate love affair unfolds, spanning time and borders as they seek to reunite and reclaim their creative power in a world shattered by war. When their paths cross with Peggy Guggenheim, an art collector and socialite working to help artists escape to America, nothing will be the same. Based on true events and historical figures, Leonora in the Morning Light is an unforgettable story of love, art, and destiny that restores a twentieth-century heroine to her rightful place in our collective imagination.


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One of O, The Oprah Magazine’s “Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels That Will Sweep You Away” and LitHub’s “Most Anticipated Books of 2021.” For fans of Amy Bloom’s White Houses and Colm Tóibín’s The Master, a page-turning novel about Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington and the art, drama, and romance that defined her coming-of-age during World War II. 1940. A train One of O, The Oprah Magazine’s “Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels That Will Sweep You Away” and LitHub’s “Most Anticipated Books of 2021.” For fans of Amy Bloom’s White Houses and Colm Tóibín’s The Master, a page-turning novel about Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington and the art, drama, and romance that defined her coming-of-age during World War II. 1940. A train carrying exiled German prisoners from a labor camp arrives in southern France. Within moments, word spreads that Nazi capture is imminent, and the men flee for the woods, desperate to disappear across the Spanish border. One stays behind, determined to ride the train until he reaches home, to find a woman he refers to simply as “her.” 1937. Leonora Carrington is a twenty-year-old British socialite and painter dreaming of independence when she meets Max Ernst, an older, married artist whose work has captivated Europe. She follows him to Paris, into the vibrant revolutionary world of studios and cafes where rising visionaries of the Surrealist movement like Andre Breton, Pablo Picasso, Lee Miller, Man Ray, and Salvador Dali are challenging conventional approaches to art and life. Inspired by their freedom, Leonora begins to experiment with her own work, translating vivid stories of her youth onto canvas and gaining recognition under her own name. It is a bright and glorious age of enlightenment—until the shadow of war looms over Europe and headlines emerge denouncing Max and his circle as “degenerates,” leading to his arrest and imprisonment. Left along as occupation spreads throughout the countryside, Leonora battles terrifying circumstances to survive, reawakening past demons that threaten to consume her. As Leonora and Max embark on remarkable journeys together and apart, the full story of their tumultuous and passionate love affair unfolds, spanning time and borders as they seek to reunite and reclaim their creative power in a world shattered by war. When their paths cross with Peggy Guggenheim, an art collector and socialite working to help artists escape to America, nothing will be the same. Based on true events and historical figures, Leonora in the Morning Light is an unforgettable story of love, art, and destiny that restores a twentieth-century heroine to her rightful place in our collective imagination.

30 review for Leonora in the Morning Light

  1. 5 out of 5

    MarilynW

    Leonora in the Morning Light by Michaela Carter Leonora in the Morning is based on a period in time in real lives of Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington, and other renowned artists and people connected to the art world, during the events surrounding WWII. Because I had very little knowledge of the Surrealist movement other than knowing a little about the work of Picasso and Salvador Dali, I needed the help of the internet to inform me of all the people we meet through Max and Leonora. It was hard for m Leonora in the Morning Light by Michaela Carter Leonora in the Morning is based on a period in time in real lives of Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington, and other renowned artists and people connected to the art world, during the events surrounding WWII. Because I had very little knowledge of the Surrealist movement other than knowing a little about the work of Picasso and Salvador Dali, I needed the help of the internet to inform me of all the people we meet through Max and Leonora. It was hard for me to be invested in these people and by attempting to learn more about their backgrounds and futures, I was hoping I could become more interested in the story that is being told in the book.  The story is told in a sometimes dreamlike way and it was often hard to tell what are hallucinations, dreams, or reality, especially in the case of Leonora. At some point she is in an insane asylum and her drugged state adds to the confusion of what is real or not. But she definitely seems to have had a mental breakdown before she enters the asylum. Does this type of break with reality make the art or does the creation, in the mind, of this kind of art, lead to a more disheveled concept of reality? I never have connected with the work of Surrealists and I think it would have been better if I had continued to know less about their lifestyles than I know now.  Max and his inner and outer circle seem to be immersed in all the trappings of free sex while claiming to sometimes love the sex partners they happened to be with at the moment. Their lifestyles seem so chaotic and with no sense of responsibility. Max and Leonora, together for a few years, seemed content to think someone else will pick up the bill for their meals or their lifestyles. The constant swapping of partners, threesomes, group sex country get togethers, sex with strangers, and all to do with sex, reminds me of the true stories of rocks stars and rock groups. There seemed to be no attempt at something permanent in the life of Max...yes, he might marry a woman or four, but there were always other women in his bed (although he seems to prefer outdoors for sex) and marriage seemed to have no significance to him other than that his future, present, or ex wives might be a source of funds. Mostly I'm going by what I read in this story so I'm not sure how things were for him after he married his fourth wife.  I think this story is best suited for those more knowledgeable of the artwork and the people in it. It's amazing how many of the artists of this style and time made it out of France and the other occupied countries when Hitler was gunning for those he labeled “degenerates”. Because of this book, and the research I did while reading it, I now have a greater knowledge of a lot of the artists mentioned in the story. I read this story with DeAnn and I'm glad I could discuss the story with her. We both stepped out of our comfort zone with this one.  At the risk of appearing prudish, I'll mention a scene in Leonora and Max's country house. Leonora and one of her contemporaries are preparing a chicken dinner so, of course, they have to strip naked to cut up and prepare the chicken so that they don't get splattered with grease. I've never been presented with so many people who are so willing to be naked in groups...I guess I need to get out more...ha ha.  Expected publication: April 6th 2021 Thank you to Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for this ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kerrin P

    Now Available Leonora In The Morning Light is the debut novel of poet Michaela Carter. It is a fictionalized account of the real-life love affair between British debutant turned artist, Leonora Carrington, and German surrealist painter Max Ernst. Max was 27 years older than the 20-year-old Leonora and si still married to his second wife when they began seeing each other. The story is told in alternate narratives focusing mainly on Leonora beginning when they met in June 1937 and on Max beginning Now Available Leonora In The Morning Light is the debut novel of poet Michaela Carter. It is a fictionalized account of the real-life love affair between British debutant turned artist, Leonora Carrington, and German surrealist painter Max Ernst. Max was 27 years older than the 20-year-old Leonora and si still married to his second wife when they began seeing each other. The story is told in alternate narratives focusing mainly on Leonora beginning when they met in June 1937 and on Max beginning in June 1940 when Max is on a train trying to head west out of France. Ernst, a Jew who had lived in France for 20 years, had just left Camp des Milles in Southern France where he was interned after he had been declared an “undesirable foreigner”. He is desperate to get back to his beloved Leonora. By the middle of the novel, the two timelines converge as both Leonora and Max try to escape Europe during the war. This novel will a perfect read for art-history lovers, especially those intrigued by surrealism. The author takes the reader into the minds and creative process of these two artists. The account of Leonora’s temporary mental breakdown during the war is heartbreaking. Max and Leonora’s circle of friends includes many other famous artists such as Man Ray, Leonor Fini, Lee Miller, Paul Eluard, and eventually the American heiress, Peggy Guggenheim who helps financially support many of them. Prior to World War II, this group lived a rather hedonistic lifestyle full of adultery, nudity, and drunkenness. They believed that surrealism “was all about breaking rules, living as no one dared to live.” Apparently, their lifestyles did not hinder their health since Max lived 84 years and Leonora 94 years. The author’s note makes it clear that this is not a story of the Great Man’s Woman. This is the story of the Great Woman. She sees Leonora as a heroine, but unfortunately, I did not see her that way. I personally did not respect the audacious lifestyles of the surrealists. The sections of the novel describing the great lengths their friends went through to help the two escape Nazi-occupied Europe were the most interesting part of the story. 3-stars for me, but I would not want to discourage anyone else from reading it. Just because it isn’t my cup of tea, doesn’t mean it won’t be yours. Many thanks to Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster for my Advanced Reader Copy.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Annette

    Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) was a British-born Mexican artist, surrealist painter, and novelist. London, 1937. Leonora studies art in London, not something her father approves. She is introduced to “these Surrealists – not studying, but living their art.” One of them is Max Ernst, married and twice her age. She is captivated by his persona. When Max’s work is being seen as an immoral mind and having “bad influence on the good people of London,” he needs to leave London. When “Hitler declares Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) was a British-born Mexican artist, surrealist painter, and novelist. London, 1937. Leonora studies art in London, not something her father approves. She is introduced to “these Surrealists – not studying, but living their art.” One of them is Max Ernst, married and twice her age. She is captivated by his persona. When Max’s work is being seen as an immoral mind and having “bad influence on the good people of London,” he needs to leave London. When “Hitler declares Modern Art degenerate,” Peggy Guggenheim makes a bold move to support the Modern Art and the artists fleeing to safety. In Paris, despite the women not being able to fully join the movement of Surrealism, Leonora attends their meetings; followed by display of her paintings. She should be happy, but she feels some emptiness. A heart stolen by a man. Southern France, 1940. Max once welcomed in France, now not so much. “Writers, artists, Jews.” All wanted by the Nazis. “They were enemies in a country that had welcomed them, a country they’d come to love.” From a camp, through an ordeal on a train, now on his feet, Max is making his way home, to freedom and to Leonora. In the first half of the story, we get to know the Surrealist movement and its artists. Surrealism “was about breaking rules, living as no one had dared to live.” They rejected a rational vision of life in favor of the juxtaposition of uncommon imagery. Such artists as Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso make only a brief appearance in this story. I wished they were a bigger part of this story, adding more vibrancy as the story slows down in the middle. It feels stagnant for a moment. In the second half, once Peggy Guggenheim takes part in the story it picks up in pace. Her appearance adds verve. She is an art collector, bohemian and socialite. Leonora has some hallucinations and at some point is taken to an asylum. I wished that this part of her life was just mentioned rather than given a small chunk of this story. When I read about artists I want them to be remembered for their creativity rather than what personally inflicted them. Nevertheless, I applaud the author for creative way of showing it. This story is very ambitious, dealing with a complex artistic movement, complex characters, and complex historical setting of WWII, where some of those artists were Jews. It encompasses a lot and at some moments slows the pace in the second half. Overall, I did enjoy this story and getting to know Surrealism better and its artists. The writing is certainly of a talented writer. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lorna

    Leonora in the Morning Light was a stunningly beautiful historical fiction novel written by award-winning poet and author Michaela Carter about Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. Carter's gorgeous and moving prose shines throughout the pages. The title of the book is taken from the Surrealist painting by Max Ernst in 1940, with its significance beautifully told throughout this story of renowned Mexican artist, Leonora Carrington. At age twenty, she turned her back on her debutante status in L Leonora in the Morning Light was a stunningly beautiful historical fiction novel written by award-winning poet and author Michaela Carter about Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. Carter's gorgeous and moving prose shines throughout the pages. The title of the book is taken from the Surrealist painting by Max Ernst in 1940, with its significance beautifully told throughout this story of renowned Mexican artist, Leonora Carrington. At age twenty, she turned her back on her debutante status in London society. Of English and Irish descent, Leonora thrived on the stories about Ireland told to her by her beloved grandmother as she saw a magical way of seeing the world through the "murmurings of the little people, their ancient tongue misty as the shores of Ireland." Becoming estranged from her father, Leonora ran off to Paris pursuing a bohemian life with surrealist painter Max Ernst. It is through him that she is introduced to many artists part of the Surrealist movement, namely, Andre Breton, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, and Salvador Dali. Told from alternate points of view by Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst, the pacing of the book is riveting. It was a book that I could only put down to research more paintings as they were discussed. During the next few years Carrington and Ernst pursued their art as their lives became more entwined in Paris and their home in St. Martin. However, the threat of Hitler and the spread of fascism throughout Europe began to loom large culminating in the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of Max Ernst as Vichy France began rounding up the Jews. The individual journeys of Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst as they are forced to flee from France during World War II was both heartbreaking and uplifting. I admit that I had no idea who Leonora Carrington was until I began researching her paintings and her life in Mexico where she became one of Mexico's most renowned artists. It was when she saw a piece of art work by Frida Kahlo, that she knew where she belonged, Mexico City. As Leonora Carrington says so beautifully: "This woman, Frida Kahlo, painted her anguish. Raw and plain, without a vestige of disquise it hangs here for everyone to see. She hides nothing. To become the master, she has killed the muse. It is that simple." One cannot read this book without googling all of the beautiful paintings part of the Surrealist movement that become an integral part of the fabric of the story as well. There are some striking interviews on-line with Leonora Carrington well up into her eighties and nineties that are delightful and certainly gives one a taste of the strong individuality and creativity she possessed. In one clip, Ms. Carrington takes on the interviewer's questions about creativity, admonishing her that creativity has to be felt, that one cannot talk nor intellectuallize it, and that one must experience creativity, as she lit another cigarette. A special thanks to Morgan Hoit, Avid Reader Press, and Simon and Schuster for providing me with an Advanced Reader's Copy of Leonora in the Morning Light.

  5. 5 out of 5

    DeAnn

    3.25 Surrealist Art History Stars This novel is highly researched and covers a lot of complex history! From the late 1930s through WWII and beyond, this one shares more about surrealist artists in Europe and their lives. We learn about Leonora Carrington, a Mexican/British artist and Max Ernst, a German artist. I hadn’t heard of either of these artists and spent some time looking up photos of their art. Other famous artists were mentioned as well – Dali, Picasso, and Eluard the writer to name jus 3.25 Surrealist Art History Stars This novel is highly researched and covers a lot of complex history! From the late 1930s through WWII and beyond, this one shares more about surrealist artists in Europe and their lives. We learn about Leonora Carrington, a Mexican/British artist and Max Ernst, a German artist. I hadn’t heard of either of these artists and spent some time looking up photos of their art. Other famous artists were mentioned as well – Dali, Picasso, and Eluard the writer to name just a few. There are alternating timelines, one features time before the war and the decadent lifestyle of these artists and later, when Leonora is battling mental illness and Max is sent to various camps because he is a German man living in France. Later much of this surrealist art is declared subversive by the Germans and many artists are sent to camps. Many artists also seek out the wealthy Peggy Guggenheim and she purchases a lot of art for a future museum and helps some of them escape to the U.S., including Max. Max and Leonora, despite a 27-year age gap, have a love affair and Leonora becomes his muse, appearing in many of his paintings. For various reasons, they don’t have a lasting relationship and yet seem to have difficulties staying out of each other’s lives. While this one was interesting, it seemed long, and I did not find the characters very likeable. I’m not quite sure how to pinpoint how it fell short for me, perhaps too intellectual? If you are a fan of surrealist art and those artists, this may be a big hit for you! Thanks to Marilyn for sharing this one with me. On to the next :) Thank you to Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster for the copy to read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    Leonora Carrington was an artist that I was not familiar with. It is an excellent historical fiction tale of her very interesting life. Lenora wants to be an independent woman, her father does not approve. She meets Max Ernst the artist and much older man, who is married. He introduces her a world that she could only imagine. She meets many artists including Picasso and Salvador Dali along the way. The War is coming and Hitler denounces Jews and artists. They are on the run Leonora purchases an old Leonora Carrington was an artist that I was not familiar with. It is an excellent historical fiction tale of her very interesting life. Lenora wants to be an independent woman, her father does not approve. She meets Max Ernst the artist and much older man, who is married. He introduces her a world that she could only imagine. She meets many artists including Picasso and Salvador Dali along the way. The War is coming and Hitler denounces Jews and artists. They are on the run Leonora purchases an old abandoned stone farm house with funds from her mother. She and Max live in the farmhouse until Max is arrested for being born in Germany. We meet Peggy Guggenheim who helps artists and Jews escape from the Nazi’s. This is a world wind journey written in alternating chapters between Leonora and Max. It is a fascinating story. At the end of the book the author gives a narrative on what happened to the people featured in the book. I have won this advanced copy of this book from Goodreads. It was a very enjoyable read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    “I don’t talk about my art. Paintings are for what is not sayable”. Leonora Carrington might not have liked to talk about her art....but our author, does. Michaela Carter delivers an impressive- thoroughly researched historical fiction novel about a heroine, (Leonora Carrington). We learn about Leonora, a Surrealist Artist, from her upper-class, British childhood and how she rebelled against her snobbish family hierarchy, about her love for drawing and writing, for horses and Irish myth, about he “I don’t talk about my art. Paintings are for what is not sayable”. Leonora Carrington might not have liked to talk about her art....but our author, does. Michaela Carter delivers an impressive- thoroughly researched historical fiction novel about a heroine, (Leonora Carrington). We learn about Leonora, a Surrealist Artist, from her upper-class, British childhood and how she rebelled against her snobbish family hierarchy, about her love for drawing and writing, for horses and Irish myth, about her meeting forty-six-year-old Max Ernst when she was just twenty, and the war intervening in their relationship. This wasn’t a page turner for me. Reading “Leonora in the Morning Light”.... became somewhat of a project—( doesn’t have to be), but I found myself looking up names - dates- places- artists mentioned —constantly referring to google. At times I admit feeling drained. This book took some work for me....because I knew next to nothing about ANYONE mentioned. Yet... personally and truthfully — I’m left feeling personal pride from devoting the extra invested time—rather than resist learning — (‘resistance-to-learn’ is so much easier at times—I’m guilty as the next person)... but why I asked myself? so I could rush to some other sappy or schlocky easier - read - that would make me feel less inferior? “YES....that would have been easier!” But.... some books are worth our extra exploration. We gain something nobody can take away from us. I am ready to move on...BUT I GAINED PLENTY....and have our author to thank for it. There is lovely seductive prose, .....( treat sections of reading for me)... but it was deeper historical facts - the learning process itself - the stopping to visit google - that really paid off. I grew a deeper appreciation for all the research that historical writers go through. I could see it - imagine the months - years - spent of their time. I started to think of how ( as a reader), I’m getting the spoon-feed benefits ( even ‘if’ this book took an extra week longer to read)....compared to probably YEARS of the authors research and compilation. So....I share all this....because I’m guessing this won’t be a book for many. Unless the reader is an art history buff - a history buff in general - or at least ‘willing’ to add a little of your own study when reading this novel... then....I suggest skip it. But....if willing ‘not’ to rush-read (no reason to be in a hurry: we will never read every book we want before we die anyway).... There is a fascinating story inside this novel....written with romantic styling beauty....for: .....the characters and their lifestyles, their talents, their innovative concepts, their passionate love, lust, atmosphere, and the brutal history of war years, lived. Leonora Carrington was vibrant, spirited, visionary, adventurous, loved wholeheartedly, courageous & independent, a feminist before her day, a very talented surrealist artist, and captivating woman! I’m glad I spent time with her......( and Max Ernst the love of her life). Leonora was inspired by many other male artists - the freedom they had - that she, too, wanted. Artists such as: Andre Breton, Pablo Picasso, Lee Miller, Man Ray, and Salvador Dali. Leonora’s paintings were extraordinary— (gorgeous with so much expressive feelings)> no wonder Leonora didn’t want to talk about them... LOOK.... really look at those PAINTINGS.... .....[sorry I’m not a reviewer who knows how to insert photos]. This book didn’t include any of Leonora’s paintings either....(wish it had), but not to indulge in viewing her work online would be a huge miss. Women’s art sold for a fraction of what the men’s art went for. It took women twice as long to make any sort of name for themselves. Leonora felt as though she was one of the lucky ones. She lived long enough to see the world at least begin to notice- her- and other women artists, not only as the inspiration, or an inferior muse. Max Ernst was Leonora’s lover. Leonora could never seem to be interviewed without somebody asking about Max Ernst —the great man—as if she were no more than another Galatea. (a sea nymph). But truth....there was interest in Max Ernst because he, too, was a gifted surrealist artist. They loved each other passionately.....( not an easy breezy relationship- but passionate!)... There individual and joint stories combined are what great movies are drawn from. Juicy - gossipy dramatic stories - quite stimulating at times! Leonora and Max....( when life was good): lovers/ not married: “They devised their own rules. When to work (from ten to two), when to swim (before ten and after two), when to make love (whenever the spirit struck), when and how to clean (naked, in summer the cleaning was always naked)”. Their house was at the edge of town, near a river. Their little house was beautiful—many trees, and stone steps. “The sun squints on the horizon. The river is a deep brownish-green, and the fields are blue fields of lavender, yellow fields of sunflowers”. Leonara and Max....(when life wasn’t so good): “Cher Nora, It is cold here. There’s no heat. Prisoners have lost their toes, fingers. Wrapped in a thin blanket, I sleep on a pile of straw in an oven where once bricks were baked”. ... .... .... .... I am yours, Leonora, entirely— Max”. “He is alive! Leonora wept she was so happy. He was hers ‘entirely’....and alive! Other characters you’ll meet: Marie-Berthe, Chaim Soutine, Nusch Eluard, Paul Eluard, Marcel Dumhamp, Etant Donnes, Dorothea Tanning, Juliet Browner, Jimmy Ernst, Lee Miller, Peggy Guggenheim, Renato Leduc, etc. Leonora Carrington lived to be 94 years old. She created thousands of magical, mystical works of art— drawings, paintings, statues, masks, plays, short stories, and her masterful novel, “The Hearing Trumpet”. Leonora believed intensely in human rights - justice > for people, animals, plants, and the earth itself. “To open yourself to art is to become an initiative of the mysteries to which she is privy”. Thank you ‘Avid Reader Press’, Netgalley, and the ambitious skillful author Michaela Carter.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    LEONORA IN THE MORNING LIGHT BY MICHAELA CARTER This historical fiction was not as accessible reading for me since I had never heard of Leonora Carrington before or her artist boyfriend Max Ernst whom was 26 years older than her while they courted each other in France. They were part of an artist movement during the twentieth century and got separated when Hitler occupied France with Max being sent off to a detention camp twice. She is known as the only woman to have had broken his heart. He was a LEONORA IN THE MORNING LIGHT BY MICHAELA CARTER This historical fiction was not as accessible reading for me since I had never heard of Leonora Carrington before or her artist boyfriend Max Ernst whom was 26 years older than her while they courted each other in France. They were part of an artist movement during the twentieth century and got separated when Hitler occupied France with Max being sent off to a detention camp twice. She is known as the only woman to have had broken his heart. He was an ex pat from Germany and Hitler denounced the Surrealist art movement that they were a part of. It might help if I give a definition of what Surrealism means: A 20th-century avant-garde movement in art and literature that sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images. Launched in 1924 by a manifesto of Andre Breton and having strong political content, the movement grew out of symbolism and Dada and was strongly influenced by Sigmund Freud. In the visual arts its most notable exponents were Andre Mason, Jean Arp, Joan Miro, Rene Magritte, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Man Ray and Luis Bunuel. I have only had heard of Salvador Dali and in the definition above it doesn't include Leonora Carrington or multiple other women that were according to this author's extensive research which I applaud were part of this type of artistic movement. This was definitely a challenge for me because there wasn't any background material until I got to the end. I was surprised that Leonora Carrington who left her home on bad terms with her father who more or less told her not to ever darken his doorstep again. She was from Great Britain and during the time when her and Max were torn apart from his arrests while they were living together she flees to Spain during occupied France by the Nazi's she is put into an asylum and the narrative becomes nonsensical at least to me. I think that this novel could have been better if it wasn't so scholarly written with the author assuming that all of this historical detail to the character's were common knowledge to me at least it was not. I love to learn about real life historical figures but this narrative doesn't fill in any of the blanks or gives enough detail to explain things out so that everyone can educate themselves while reading historical fiction. I have heard who Peggy Guggenheim was and am familiar with Pablo Picasso but he is only mentioned briefly. There was so much of a heavy emphasis on Artists that I have never heard of and their works it just could have been more descriptive for the reader who is interested in learning but maybe others will not have to do further research to appreciate this novel. I think in my humble opinion I have read enough art history that I enjoyed without feeling like the writing is so ambiguous. I can name many author's works that introduced works that I had never heard of before for example "The Girl with a Pearl Earring," or anything else written by Tracey Chevalier, "Claude and Camille" (about Monet's masterpieces), written by Stephanie Cowell, "The Passion of Artemisia" or "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" both written by Susan Vreeland, "The Birth of Venus," written by Sarah Dunant or finally "Leonardo's Swans," written by Karen Essex. These were all written and easily accessible to everybody. In my humble opinion the book "Leonora in the Morning Light," was not anything remotely written for the enjoyment and learning while you read. Henceforth my 3 star rating. I am sure that this book will find its audience with Art History majors but not for the average reader hungry to learn as you are reading it. I sincerely wish this author named Michaela Carter and the publisher all of my best wishes for success for it took talent to write this epic historical novel based on real factual people. Publication Date: April 6, 2021 Thank you to Net Galley, Michaela Carter and Avid Reader Press--Simon & Schuster for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. #LeonoraintheMorning #Michaela Carter #AvidReaderPressSimon&Schuster #NetGalley

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shirley McAllister

    Footprints are face to face with the Firmament The surrealist artists were a different type of artist with a much different lifestyle. They lead a more bohemian lifestyle than most and their art reflected this lifestyle. Much of their art revolved around the human body and the human body to them was art. Sexuality was often expressed in their art often leading critics to deem it to be immoral. At the time just before and during WWII men were considered the artists and women were not so much consi Footprints are face to face with the Firmament The surrealist artists were a different type of artist with a much different lifestyle. They lead a more bohemian lifestyle than most and their art reflected this lifestyle. Much of their art revolved around the human body and the human body to them was art. Sexuality was often expressed in their art often leading critics to deem it to be immoral. At the time just before and during WWII men were considered the artists and women were not so much considered artists at that time. Than Leonora Carrington came onto the scene. A privileged socialite from a well to do family she rebelled against convention and wanted her freedom. She wanted to be an artist, not a wife and mother. She left school and went to Paris with her artist friends. She meets Max at a party, twenty some years her senior, he becomes the love of her life. After the Nazi's invade the art of the Surrealists is considered degenerate art and the artists degenerates. Although Max is from Germany he has lived in France a while, but now he is wanted as an enemy of France for being German and an enemy of the Nazi's for being a degenerate artist. The book has some tones of the war, but the book is about Art, specifically the artist Lenora Carrington. It is about her time with Max, her time with other's and her paintings. The different ways she incorporated mythology, and sorcery into her paintings. A bit of mystical painting of the human body. When she leaves school she is twenty so it is a story of her coming of age and becoming a famous artist . It is about her friends, the other artists, their wives and girlfriend. The love triangles , the tears, the fears and the love. It is more of a love story than a war story. It is a love story surrounded by art in a time of war. It was a good book and I would recommend it to all interested in the world of art. Thanks to Michaela Carter, Avid Reader Press/Simon and Schuster, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and advanced copy in return for my honest review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Leonora in the Morning Light by Michaela Carter is an excellent historical fiction novel that tells the tale of the a fabulous, talented, complex, and complicated artist Leonora Carrington. I have to be honest, I had not heard of her before I picked up this book (I know, I know...shame on me). But I was drawn in from the first page, wanting to learn more. I found out so much about her eccentric, dramatic, event-filled life, but also about Surrealism, her fellow artists, and what life was like for Leonora in the Morning Light by Michaela Carter is an excellent historical fiction novel that tells the tale of the a fabulous, talented, complex, and complicated artist Leonora Carrington. I have to be honest, I had not heard of her before I picked up this book (I know, I know...shame on me). But I was drawn in from the first page, wanting to learn more. I found out so much about her eccentric, dramatic, event-filled life, but also about Surrealism, her fellow artists, and what life was like for many of her colleagues during WWII. It isn’t what we normally think of when we think of victims during this time: artists, painters, authors, and others that were involved with the arts that were considered “different” and against “the normal waves of society”, yet they were outcast and persecuted as well. To see how much she went through, how many fantastic (and sometimes sad and frustrating) things she experienced and went through in the course of just trying to find herself, her passion, and her life was fascinating. I have already begun researching even more about her and her colleagues. The author clearly did her research and presented it in a way that left me captivated. I really enjoyed The Author’s Note at the end to give some closure as well as inspiration for the novel itself. An excellent read. 5/5 stars Thank you EW and Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR, Instagram, and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 4/6/21.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    *special thanks to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review! 3 stars It has become quite popular to have historical fiction books set the stage by having someone interview the main protagonist about their life when they are older. In this case, this fictional novel focuses on a real life artist. The story between Leonora and Max is dramatic and fascinating. This novel made me want to research them both more because I wanted to learn more. This book is bea *special thanks to Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for the ARC copy in exchange for an honest review! 3 stars It has become quite popular to have historical fiction books set the stage by having someone interview the main protagonist about their life when they are older. In this case, this fictional novel focuses on a real life artist. The story between Leonora and Max is dramatic and fascinating. This novel made me want to research them both more because I wanted to learn more. This book is beautifully written and felt elegant, but I felt that it left something to be desired. A lot of it is written as if it were non fiction almost, and while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, I went into it expecting something different. Those parts (mostly the flash forwards) brought me out of the story. I wanted to be swept away and captivated by this story, but it felt very matter of fact. This very well could be due to the fact that I knew very little about Leonora Carrington going into this book. The parts thats weren’t choppy and weren’t in present tense were parts I definitely preferred. It’s just not my preferred style of writing. It was a stream of consciousness that constantly won and loss my attention. The Author’s Note at the end I thought was the perfect way to end this novel.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ginni

    I loved this blend of historical fact and richly imagined detail about Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. I doubt I would have liked it so much if it were a complete work of fiction--the narrative meanders at times, and the artists' hedonism gets really tiresome--but the real-life details and descriptions of actual art shine. Sign me up for more women deciding not to be the "cool girl" anymore and stepping away from toxic relationships even when there is still genuine affection there. Some fam I loved this blend of historical fact and richly imagined detail about Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. I doubt I would have liked it so much if it were a complete work of fiction--the narrative meanders at times, and the artists' hedonism gets really tiresome--but the real-life details and descriptions of actual art shine. Sign me up for more women deciding not to be the "cool girl" anymore and stepping away from toxic relationships even when there is still genuine affection there. Some familiarity with the Surrealists mentioned in the book makes it more fun, but isn't necessary to enjoy the story. Like how extensive knowledge of the Marvel universe lets you spot the Easter eggs in WandaVision but isn't a prerequisite to enjoying the show, you know? (I received this book for free through a Goodreads giveaway.)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This historical novel’s elegant prose is so descriptive that the reader can almost feel themselves a part of Carrington’s nightmarish visions, or, in happier times, engaged in repartee with her artistic friends. Ms. Carter has created a novel with so much detail and historical background that it takes a strong constitution to get through parts of the story. The story of Max Ernst’s internment is all too familiar, but painful to read. LEONORA IN THE MORNING LIGHT introduces a new generation of wom This historical novel’s elegant prose is so descriptive that the reader can almost feel themselves a part of Carrington’s nightmarish visions, or, in happier times, engaged in repartee with her artistic friends. Ms. Carter has created a novel with so much detail and historical background that it takes a strong constitution to get through parts of the story. The story of Max Ernst’s internment is all too familiar, but painful to read. LEONORA IN THE MORNING LIGHT introduces a new generation of women to Leonora Carrington. I knew her name, but not her story and this book is a reminder of the strength it required in the early 20th Century for women to pursue a career, forego family expectations, and “ live their own life,” however imperfect. Netgalleybprovided me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a candid review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Leonora in the Morning Light is a biographical novel based on the life of Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington and focuses primarily on the. years she spent in a love affair with fellow Surrealist artist Max Ernst. There are two timelines here: one that begins when Leonora meets and falls in love with Max and another that begins with Max trying to escape from the Nazis in France. Eventually the two storylines come together and continue; meanwhile, a third voice - Peggy Guggenheim - joins in sinc Leonora in the Morning Light is a biographical novel based on the life of Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington and focuses primarily on the. years she spent in a love affair with fellow Surrealist artist Max Ernst. There are two timelines here: one that begins when Leonora meets and falls in love with Max and another that begins with Max trying to escape from the Nazis in France. Eventually the two storylines come together and continue; meanwhile, a third voice - Peggy Guggenheim - joins in since her story with Max also overlaps timeline-wise. Having really enjoyed Whitney Scharer's The Age of Light a few years ago, this book sort of fleshed out the story of the Surrealist's lives together and friendships. I already knew about Man Ray and Lee Miller who appear frequently in the beginning of this book so it was interesting to see a different perspective of both of them in the period after The Age of Light. Surrealist art has never been something I have connected with but it was fascinating to read about their inspiration and methods and explanations of what is going on in their art. I still can't say I particularly love it, but I appreciate it more now. Later on in the story, Varian Fry, who helped many artists escape from Europe during World War II and is portrayed in Julie Orringer's The Flight Portfolio, makes an appearance while he aids Max's escape so these three books together make a fascinating grouping of books. I struggled a bit with the depiction of the friendships between the artists; there was so much nudity and sex and partner swapping and just straight-up hedonism. I know it's probably accurate but after awhile, I just got tired of people constantly whipping off their clothes for no particular reason (we need to pain? Strip! Cook some chicken? Strip!). For all of this supposed freedom, so many of the artists seemed very lost and unhappy and embroiled in a lot of relational conflict. And although the writer states in her author's note that this is the story of a Great Woman, not the story of a woman in relation to a Great Man, the entire story is primarily focused on what seems to me like Leonora's obsession with Ernst and her lack of confidence in her own talent. The writing style is both confusing and kind of brilliant. Confusing because much of it is very dreamlike and I wasn't always sure what was real and what wasn't. Brilliant because it seems to very much reflect Leonora's creative mind. As she enters a period of losing grip on reality, the narrative reflects this very well. If you are an art lover, particularly of this style and time period, you will most likely love this! Thanks to Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Publication date: April 6, 2021.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ethel

    New York City, 1997 The women is in her 80's walking through the art gallery. This is where she will walk among her art, a retrospective of her artistic life, some 60 years. Flashback to London, June 1937 and we are about to meet Leonora Carrington. Leonora came from a wealthy family, but a privileged life was not what she wanted. She wanted to be an artist. Her father was opposed, but sent her to London, paid for art school and gave her enough money just to get by, living close to that of a star New York City, 1997 The women is in her 80's walking through the art gallery. This is where she will walk among her art, a retrospective of her artistic life, some 60 years. Flashback to London, June 1937 and we are about to meet Leonora Carrington. Leonora came from a wealthy family, but a privileged life was not what she wanted. She wanted to be an artist. Her father was opposed, but sent her to London, paid for art school and gave her enough money just to get by, living close to that of a starving artist hoping she would come home. It was in 1937 that she met Max Ernst, a surliest artist, who she instantly fell in love with. Never mind that he was married, or that he was 26 years older than her, or that he had a series of lovers in his life. Leonora she didn't look back, she had her freedom, albeit a bit of a poor one! Once again, breaking free from her privileged life, she flees to Paris with Max. While there she begins to experiment with her art, finally making a name for herself. She is surrounded with the likes of Andre Breton, Pablo Picasso, Lee Miller, Man Ray and Salvador Dali. However, waiting in the shadows is a war which will spread over Europe, the newspapers declare this group as "degenerates." It's 1940 and both Leonora and Max are forced to flee France, both of them on a journey that will shape them into artists and individuals. He was arrested because of his art by the gendarmerie. On the run from an interment camp, he writes to Peggy Guggenheim to help him escape from the Nazis as she has done for others. In the mean time countries were falling like dominnos as the Nazis moved on, she couldn't wait for Max to return and sold their house to the town barkeeper. With the help of her friends, she manages to escape. However, her father with his wealth and fingers in every pie had spies everywhere, had Leonora drugged when she got to Spain and was put in an asylum. Eventually she managed to escape her father's grip and escape the sanitarium. Leonora and Ernst lived in a different time, they saw the world through their artistic lens and transferred their realism to canvas. It was the front runner of what is know today as Modern Art. Freedom of expression, freedom of the way they lived, through hedonistic times, disapproving times. It was their way of living, no boundaries, no rules. This was an excellent book...it was interesting and like the characters, different, but I must say it was chaotic at times, and at times quite sad. The artistic temperament of the protagonists and those as the supporting cast was very much evident in the writing. I thought the research and character development was well done. My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 4 stars

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lolly K Dandeneau

    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/ 𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐚𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐬𝐥𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠. Leonora Carrington hungers to abandon the trappings of her upper class future, seduced by the freedom of the surrealists, knowing she will disappoint her parent's expectations. Finishing schools and approved suitors be damned, she will have a bohemian life where every desire is explored, to hell with what others think! She longs to trust her gut, and her 'uncons via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/ 𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐜𝐤𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐚𝐬 𝐢𝐟 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐬𝐥𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠. Leonora Carrington hungers to abandon the trappings of her upper class future, seduced by the freedom of the surrealists, knowing she will disappoint her parent's expectations. Finishing schools and approved suitors be damned, she will have a bohemian life where every desire is explored, to hell with what others think! She longs to trust her gut, and her 'unconscious appetite' just like the surrealists. No one understands her quite as Max Ernst does, the German surrealist whose paintings have mesmerized her since she first set eye upon them. No lover can unleash the passion within her, make her simmer, soar quite like this older, wildly fascinating man, despite the 27 year age difference between them. After meeting at a dinner party, Leonora plunges into a scandalous love affair with the married man, despite her father's feelings, that he and his art are immoral. It is with shock that their daughter, who will never be a well behaved woman as her station demands, informs her parents she is moving with Max to Paris, that he will leave his wife and become her lover. Her father cuts her off without another pence ever again, tells her she will die penniless and that her shadow shall never again darken his door! It's not marriage she wants, it is the experience of following her passions, the call of freedom and the warm embrace of Max. For a while, she will come alive under Ernst's penetrating gaze, learn about the many forms of love through his friends, and feel emotions stir inside her that incite fear and pleasure. No one will challenge her like Max, and she is just as intoxicating to him. What if he ever left? How could she go on? In his circle, people like Lee Miller, Man Ray, Andre Breton and lovers people share between them, such unconventional living is a fire in her blood. The company of freedom loving souls is an endless source to her artistic mind, a place she feels most like her real self unlike the stuffy world her parent's would trap her in. Even dreams have their nightmares, she hadn't accounted for Max's violently angry, deeply devout wife Marie-Berthe, who refuses to make escape easy for the pair. That is only the beginning of the obstacles fate will put in their path. The beautiful paradise the lovers find when they settle into a home in Saint-Martin is marred by the horror of Max's arrest. Leonora carries on as best she can, working on her paintings and keeping hope alive, her heart warmed only by letters from Max. When he comes back, something has changed about him, deadened inside by being captive. Germany is invading, the world has gone mad and Max is taken a second time- this is where everything falls away. Leonora will be brought to her knees with the waiting, wasting into a shell of herself. Darkness and ugliness seem to be the only thing on the horizon, the Paris they knew is unrecognizable, everyone is fighting to get their visas, to flee to the safety of other countries. She is steadfast in her love, waiting always for Max, until she surrenders the freedoms she fiercely clings to, loses it all, including possibly her sanity when her father has her locked up in a Spanish asylum. Max, she knows, was on his way to an internment camp and now, could be anywhere. She has no way of knowing that he fled and was trying to return to her, his beloved. Salvation comes, but it isn't Max. They both make choices influenced by the dangerous times and desperation that drive them further from each other's arms. Not all marriages are for love. Sometimes, fate takes the strongest of us all and leaves us fragile. Peggy Guggenheim helps artists, labeled degenerates and enemies, escape to America. Max is is dire need of her protection, but what is the cost for them both? When Max and Leonora are once again in each other's orbit, everything that has happened since they last saw one another has changed them both, maybe even their love. Who is she without Max? How will she ever learn where he ends and she begins, must they remain intertwined for all eternity? What about the others who are left cold by the glow of Max and Leonora's love? In truth love, just like man, is never an island. How can either of them make a life worth living? Max is free to experience whatever tickles his fancy, but often at the expense and pain of the women who love him. He may have helped Leonora tap into her artist's heart, but there was already a master within her soul waiting to be released. She will become a great artist in her own right, making thousands of works of art before her death, living to the ripe age of 94. Their love will be stretched as if on a torturer's rack before fate is through with them. For a time, they will carry each other in their hearts, but love- is it enough? This isn't really Max Ernst's story, it's Leonora's, who in the end may be the wiser lover, despite her youth. Perfect for art lovers and an engaging story about the resilience of one woman who would fight to live the way she wanted, unapologetically in a time it simply wasn't done. Publication Date: May 1, 2021 Avid Reader Press

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lori Sinsel Harris

    This book was fantastic! Being a student of art as well as an artist myself, I was immediately captivated when I read the blurb for this book. I had to read it, and I am so glad I did. Although I am a realistic graphite artist, really into hyper-realism, I have always been fascinated with the movement of Surrealism and the artists that made up the movement. I cannot even begin to have half the imagination they did, I have to have something solid in front of me, not just a whimsical dream in my This book was fantastic! Being a student of art as well as an artist myself, I was immediately captivated when I read the blurb for this book. I had to read it, and I am so glad I did. Although I am a realistic graphite artist, really into hyper-realism, I have always been fascinated with the movement of Surrealism and the artists that made up the movement. I cannot even begin to have half the imagination they did, I have to have something solid in front of me, not just a whimsical dream in my head. This is why I have always envied them, their creativity, imagination is beyond the realm. So being able to read this story, even though it is a fictionalized account of the love affair between two of the original surrealist artists Lenora Carrington and Max Earnst, was quite a pleasant experience for me. This is a story of a debutante, presented at the king's court, turned into a bohemian artist, living the lifestyle of breaking all the rules as this is the surrealists manifesto, that rules were to be broken, they were to live outside the rules of conformity with a society that they did not agree with. Twenty year old Lenora meets Max who is 20+ years her senior and married while studying art in London. Lenora falls for Max and becomes involved with him and his circle of friends, fellow artists, Man Ray, Fini, Andre Breton, (whose manifesto is said to have begun and set the stage for the surrealist movement). When Max is deemed a degenerate by the government, the group flees to Paris where they set up in pre-war Paris. Living their free lifestyle until Hitler and occupation thwart their freedom. This story told so much, Lenora and Max were separated when he is sent to a detention camp, Lenora has a mental breakdown and spends time in a institution, the situation seems hopeless for both of them. I don't want to give spoilers, but their love story is a tragic one, as were so many during that time of war and terror. They both went on to become famous artists of their time, and both lived very long lives. I will not say more, you have to read for yourself what they encountered. I thought this book was beautifully written. The quality of writing was to me magical and mystical. More like reading poetry or delving into someone's inner dreams. Maybe that is it, there is a dreamlike quality to the writing. I can't explain it any better, but I thought it was beautiful. Michaela Carter knows how to use the English language to invoke dreamlike images, almost lyrical in quality. That may be it, lyrical, musical in tone. Anyway I would recommend this book to any art fan, or historical fiction reader interested in art and the time period of WWII Paris. I loved all about this book I give 5 stars, I read nothing that would detract from a 5 star rating. Thank you to the publishers at Avid Reader Press and to NetGalley for the ARC of this novel, I am giving my honest review in return. #LenoraintheMorningLight #NetGalley

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paige Green

    Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: Leonora in the Morning Light Author: Michaela Carter Book Series: Standalone Rating: 2/5 Recommended For...: historical fiction fans Publication Date: April 6, 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction Recommended Age: Can’t recommend, DNF-ed Publisher: Simon Schuster Pages: 416 Synopsis: 1940. A train carrying exiled German prisoners from a labor camp arrives in southern France. Within moments, word spreads that Nazi capture Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own. Book: Leonora in the Morning Light Author: Michaela Carter Book Series: Standalone Rating: 2/5 Recommended For...: historical fiction fans Publication Date: April 6, 2021 Genre: Historical Fiction Recommended Age: Can’t recommend, DNF-ed Publisher: Simon Schuster Pages: 416 Synopsis: 1940. A train carrying exiled German prisoners from a labor camp arrives in southern France. Within moments, word spreads that Nazi capture is imminent, and the men flee for the woods, desperate to disappear across the Spanish border. One stays behind, determined to ride the train until he reaches home, to find a woman he refers to simply as “her.” 1937. Leonora Carrington is a twenty-year-old British socialite and painter dreaming of independence when she meets Max Ernst, an older, married artist whose work has captivated Europe. She follows him to Paris, into the vibrant revolutionary world of studios and cafes where rising visionaries of the Surrealist movement like Andre Breton, Pablo Picasso, Lee Miller, Man Ray, and Salvador Dali are challenging conventional approaches to art and life. Inspired by their freedom, Leonora begins to experiment with her own work, translating vivid stories of her youth onto canvas and gaining recognition under her own name. It is a bright and glorious age of enlightenment—until the shadow of war looms over Europe and headlines emerge denouncing Max and his circle as “degenerates,” leading to his arrest and imprisonment. Left along as occupation spreads throughout the countryside, Leonora battles terrifying circumstances to survive, reawakening past demons that threaten to consume her. As Leonora and Max embark on remarkable journeys together and apart, the full story of their tumultuous and passionate love affair unfolds, spanning time and borders as they seek to reunite and reclaim their creative power in a world shattered by war. When their paths cross with Peggy Guggenheim, an art collector and socialite working to help artists escape to America, nothing will be the same. Review: I had to DNF this read at 30%. I will try this book again in the future, but the way that the story is told is very confusing and off-putting to me. It’s hard to tell what’s truth and what’s a hallucination. Verdict: It’s ok, just confusing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gerrie

    Leonora in the Morning Light by Michaela Carter is the beautifully rendered story of Leonora Carrington, a painter whose art was inspired by the giants of the Surrealistic movement. From the book’s beginning, a retrospective exhibit of 60 years of Leonora’s paintings, the reader is made aware that this is a formidable, world weary 80 yr-old woman who fiercely champions the place and value of female artists’ works in the male-dominated world of Modern art. She believes in being the creator of the a Leonora in the Morning Light by Michaela Carter is the beautifully rendered story of Leonora Carrington, a painter whose art was inspired by the giants of the Surrealistic movement. From the book’s beginning, a retrospective exhibit of 60 years of Leonora’s paintings, the reader is made aware that this is a formidable, world weary 80 yr-old woman who fiercely champions the place and value of female artists’ works in the male-dominated world of Modern art. She believes in being the creator of the art, not merely a muse for someone else’s inspiration. Then the reader is plunged into the world of 20 yr-old Leonora, the free-spirited daughter of a wealthy domineering British father and his Irish-born wife. Her father opposed her interest in art as a career, but her mother supported her dream, and also fed her imagination even more by telling her tales of the mystical Irish Sidhe as she grew up. When she meets the German Surrealist Max Ernst, her life changes; she moves to Paris with him and willingly loses herself in the world of the Surrealists and their bohemian lifestyle. Juxtaposed to this tempestuous love story is the drama and ugliness of WWII, the occupation of France, and the war’s effect on their lives, as Max is a German Jew and, according to the Nazis, is a purveyor of “degenerate” art. Although most of this book focuses on the six years of Leonora’s and Max’s great romance and art, it is a riveting tale that feels larger and more encompassing in its scope, given its detailed historical perspective of wartime Europe and the US. The book is filled with imagery and fluid movement between reality and imagination, memories and fantasies. The writing is elegant and evocative; at times the tone is sultry and erotic (Leonora’s voice) or gritty and raw (Max’s voice). The author is an award-winning poet and that lyrical element is evident in her prose. After I got into the rhythm of Carter’s writing, I found myself immersed in the imagery and illusions in Leonora’s mind. I thought the prose actually mirrored the surrealistic images swirling in Leonora’s head. I recommend this book to readers who like historical fiction focusing on artists and art history; readers who are interested in female trail blazers; and readers who enjoy lush and highly imaginative lyrical writing. Thank you to Avid Reader Press and NetGalley for the ARC. This is my honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the advanced copy of this book! Leonora in the Morning Light is a historical fiction move set during World War II. It centers around artist Max Ernst and his love affair with another artist, Leonora Carrington, as they try to escape Europe. This book wasn’t bad—the writing was good, and I liked how it went back and forth between Leonora’s view and Max’s view, but it just wasn’t really of interest to me. It was historical fiction, right in my favorite time period, Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the advanced copy of this book! Leonora in the Morning Light is a historical fiction move set during World War II. It centers around artist Max Ernst and his love affair with another artist, Leonora Carrington, as they try to escape Europe. This book wasn’t bad—the writing was good, and I liked how it went back and forth between Leonora’s view and Max’s view, but it just wasn’t really of interest to me. It was historical fiction, right in my favorite time period, but too much of the art world for me and I found myself struggling to stay interested. In the first third of the book, there was a lot about Leonora’s introduction to Max’s art world social group—which involved a lot of random nakedness. It wasn’t especially graphic or anything and that kind of stuff doesn’t normally bother me but it just didn’t seem necessary to me. Like who are these people that take off their clothes and cook chicken with their friends? I understand that maybe this is something these people did, because these were real people at the time, but there were just several instances of these random trysts with friends and to me it took away from Max and Leonora’s story, rather than adding to it. Leonora seemed to have some interesting “visions” or dreams and sometimes it was hard to know what was real, what she was envisioning, and what was like mental illness. And while I understand that this must have really been a struggle for her, as I know the author researched Leonora’s life, I guess for me I felt like maybe the author could have written this in a different way. It made it a little confusing for me and I found myself skimming some of those parts that I realized were like hallucinations. As I said, the book wasn’t at all bad, just not really my interest. If you are interested in art/artists, you would probably enjoy this.

  21. 5 out of 5

    LoneStarWords Deb Coco

    There are things that aren't sayable. That's why we have art. Leonora Carrington • This book was so well written, researched I am not sure that my review can do it justice. I have to admit that I had never heard of Leonora Carrington but I am always searching for books that bring art into the story line and when it is combined with history I usually find my historical fiction niche. • Leonora in the Morning Light is really the perfect recipe for a compelling read. Carter brings to life many of the ar There are things that aren't sayable. That's why we have art. Leonora Carrington • This book was so well written, researched I am not sure that my review can do it justice. I have to admit that I had never heard of Leonora Carrington but I am always searching for books that bring art into the story line and when it is combined with history I usually find my historical fiction niche. • Leonora in the Morning Light is really the perfect recipe for a compelling read. Carter brings to life many of the artists we have heard of but don't know much about (Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Salvador Dali, the infamous Peggy Guggenheim and of course, Leonora Carrington - around whom the action circles). Carter crafted a story around this piece of World War 2 history that combines love and art and she taught me so much about a part of the war I knew little about. • Hitler believed the art of the Surrealists to be "degenerate" and many of the artists were put into internment camps and their works confiscated. Leonora Carrington was a London socialite who entered a relationship with Max Ernst and Carter tells us the story of their love affair, his imprisonment and eventual escape, and the artists who helped them along the way. I could not put this book down yet also felt incredibly sad as I read it - the writing is so strong and the dialogue feels authentic; it's hard to believe this happened not that long ago. • Leonora's story is one of a woman with rich artistic talent of her own at a time when she was both overshadowed by men and by world events. Her art is now recognized and valued but her journey is absolutely unbelievable; I love books that give voice to someone whose history is lesser known. • If you too love well researched historical fiction, run and grab this today and thank you Avid Reader Press for this gifted arc!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Roxanne

    A well-researched novel that encompasses some difficult times in our history. It covers a love story between two surrealist artists, Leonora Carrington and Ernst Max. Leonora meets Max in 1937 when she is twenty and he is 47. Leonora is from a wealthy English family but is bucking the norms for young ladies of her time and studying art in London. Max is German, on his second marriage, and living in England. Max, Leonora and their artistic friends are unlike any people I have ever known. They see A well-researched novel that encompasses some difficult times in our history. It covers a love story between two surrealist artists, Leonora Carrington and Ernst Max. Leonora meets Max in 1937 when she is twenty and he is 47. Leonora is from a wealthy English family but is bucking the norms for young ladies of her time and studying art in London. Max is German, on his second marriage, and living in England. Max, Leonora and their artistic friends are unlike any people I have ever known. They seem to live life in an unconscious, chaotic, dreamlike way that is perfectly infused within this novel. The reality of the war is almost like an annoying mosquito to Max and Leonora as they are fully immersed with their art and each other. Eventually they are separated and while Max seeks to reunite, Leonora moves further from reality and descends into madness appearing to have a mental breakdown. This part of the story fascinated me because it was difficult to read and understand. Perhaps that is a good rendition of losing your mind? I looked up Max and Leonora’s art on the Internet and found that Micaela Carter did a great job describing it. As a bonus, you get an explanation of what the art might have meant to the artist. That helped me understand their work a little better. I did not know anything about surrealism prior to reading this novel and enjoyed learning something new. I also enjoyed reading about this time of history from their artistic perspective. It was definitely different than the other love stories from WWII that I have read. One other discovery… I am not a fan of surrealism art. I guess I’m grounded too much in reality. Thank you to Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss for this ARC.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Hall

    Historical fiction isn't my usual reading choice, but if you offer me something about the Surrealists ofc I'm going to read it. And I felt a duty to read this particular story: I'm a huge proponent of elevating and celebrating underappreciated women in history, but I realized as soon as I heard about this book that I knew zilch about Leonora Carrington besides having vaguely heard her name. This is a very "internal" book, in that it covers just a few key years in Leonora's life, and a lot of the Historical fiction isn't my usual reading choice, but if you offer me something about the Surrealists ofc I'm going to read it. And I felt a duty to read this particular story: I'm a huge proponent of elevating and celebrating underappreciated women in history, but I realized as soon as I heard about this book that I knew zilch about Leonora Carrington besides having vaguely heard her name. This is a very "internal" book, in that it covers just a few key years in Leonora's life, and a lot of the book's action stays very much in the heads of Leonora, Max Ernst, and Peggy Guggenheim. Michaela Carter's prose is very lush and and poetic, and her writing style gives the story a very dreamlike feeling. There's a huge supporting cast of Surrealist figures (shoutout to my boy Buñuel's late cameo) and their lives are very richly drawn in relatively limited pagetime. There's a part of me that wishes this was a bigger/broader story encompassing more of the artists and their movement, but honestly my dream book in this regard would probably wind up being about 1,000 pages long. The publisher's note in my ARC notes that she decided she had to publish this story because it made her want to learn everything about the people and events in it, and this story has definitely also had that effect on me; catch me in 2022 filling in all my knowledge gaps on the Surrealists. Overall do recommend for anyone who enjoys historical fiction, anyone who's interested in the Surrealists, and anyone wanting to find a new women's history rabbit hole to fall down! *I received an advance copy in a GoodReads giveaway*

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mary G.

    In 1937, Leonora Carrington is a British socialite and painter dreaming of making a name for herself in Paris. She falls into the Surrealist circle when she meets leading artist Max Ernst, and she begins to make her art bigger and bolder than ever before. But when the Nazis label Surrealist art as degenerate, Max is imprisoned and arrested. Leonora in the Morning Light traces Leonora and Max's stories through the tumultuous Second World War, showing how art and love change our lives. I love art h In 1937, Leonora Carrington is a British socialite and painter dreaming of making a name for herself in Paris. She falls into the Surrealist circle when she meets leading artist Max Ernst, and she begins to make her art bigger and bolder than ever before. But when the Nazis label Surrealist art as degenerate, Max is imprisoned and arrested. Leonora in the Morning Light traces Leonora and Max's stories through the tumultuous Second World War, showing how art and love change our lives. I love art history, and I am sad, but not surprised, that I'd never heard of Leonora Carrington. Art history is incredibly male-dominated, so I love when writers focus on women's stories in art. As Carter wrote in her author's note - Leonora is not the great man's woman in this story - she is the great woman. I loved seeing Leonora grow up and mature in her life and art over the course of the novel. Her fight to be taken seriously was very powerful. Carter's writing style has a touch of surrealism to it - in certain scenes, you can't tell what exactly is happening due to the dreamlike quality, which fit well with the time period. I loved the references to real paintings by Carrington, Ernst, and others in the story. I also appreciated that the WWII background of the story did not overshadow Leonora's main narrative of self-discovery. This is a wonderful novel that spans multiple genres, and art history and historical fiction fans should add this to their TBR!! Thank you to Avid Reader Press/Simon and Schuster for providing an ARC on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Review posted to Instagram and Goodreads on 4/6/21.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Renee (some kind of a library)

    Thank you to the publisher for my ARC. Leonora in the Morning Light felt like an indulgence every time I picked it up. Very rarely does a book have so many of the things I fall for: historical fiction (leading up to and during WWII), artists/art world, a coming of age story line, a love story that is once in a lifetime. Each time I entered into the world of Leonora and Max I felt transported into their circle. There is quite a lot to touch upon in this book. It takes you across Europe during the Thank you to the publisher for my ARC. Leonora in the Morning Light felt like an indulgence every time I picked it up. Very rarely does a book have so many of the things I fall for: historical fiction (leading up to and during WWII), artists/art world, a coming of age story line, a love story that is once in a lifetime. Each time I entered into the world of Leonora and Max I felt transported into their circle. There is quite a lot to touch upon in this book. It takes you across Europe during the start of WWII. Through relationships and lovers, leaving behind regrets and a feeling of melancholy. It dumps you at the steps of an asylum for a bit, watching through the window as Leonora finally comes back to herself after an insufferable trauma. Further still across the ocean to America, finally (FINALLY!). To the streets of NYC and then the deserts of the wests where there is peace. And at its close, Mexico, where Leonora is able to create in a way she wasn't able to with her heart tethered to Max. The imagery you encounter in this story, specifically through Leonora and how she views the world around her, was so beautiful and perfect. I found myself really sinking into Leonora's psyche at times, envisioning her lonely days in France with the cats and goats, immersing herself in the mud of the river. Feeling her struggle as she chooses herself over the love of her life. Leonora in the Morning Light unfolds in a way that will have you completely invested in Leonora and the person Leonora becomes at the end of the story. I wish I could know her in real life. She's a character I won't soon forget.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kristin (Always With a Book)

    Thank you Avid Readers Press for the gifted copy. When I first heard about this novel, I was intrigued and I'm glad I decided to read it. I love historical fiction and love learning about new people and that's exactly what I got from this book. I will be the first to admit that I had no idea who Leonora Carrington was prior to reading this book but I found myself completely drawn in to this story once I started reading it. I loved how the author was able to give us so much detail and while I know Thank you Avid Readers Press for the gifted copy. When I first heard about this novel, I was intrigued and I'm glad I decided to read it. I love historical fiction and love learning about new people and that's exactly what I got from this book. I will be the first to admit that I had no idea who Leonora Carrington was prior to reading this book but I found myself completely drawn in to this story once I started reading it. I loved how the author was able to give us so much detail and while I know there was some blending of fact and fiction - this is historical fiction after all - I still feel as if I learned quite a bit. I think the author really highlighted quite well just what life was like for artists during WWII. It wasn't as if they were victims persay, yet they were still considered outcasts. I feel I could experience their lives as artists, the struggles they had due to their lifestyle as well as living in Europe during WWII. I also appreciated learning a bit about surrealist artists and their work. Again, not knowing much about art and the art world, I found this to be quite interesting. Being in their world for just a little while was quite a trip. Even the writing in certain sections had a dreamlike quality to it, which certainly fit the surrealism theme. This book spans genres - touching on both historical fiction and art history and I definitely felt like I walked away learning quite a bit. I enjoyed the book quite a lot and now am itching to go visit a museum to see some of Leonora's works of art. I love when I read something that leaves me wanting more. Don't you? You can see all my reviews at: https://alwayswithabook.blogspot.com

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brooke

    Art, alcohol, adultery. That’s what this book is about. I had a hard time staying invested in the characters because there were so many of them. Not knowing hardly anything about Surrealism, surrealist artists, or their lives, this book was difficult for me to follow. While this had some interesting points in the story, I felt bogged down with the names, places, and descriptions of paintings that I have never heard of before. The parts of the story that were more about the artists’ lives was muc Art, alcohol, adultery. That’s what this book is about. I had a hard time staying invested in the characters because there were so many of them. Not knowing hardly anything about Surrealism, surrealist artists, or their lives, this book was difficult for me to follow. While this had some interesting points in the story, I felt bogged down with the names, places, and descriptions of paintings that I have never heard of before. The parts of the story that were more about the artists’ lives was much more enjoyable for me. I don’t know much (or really anything) about the characters who are real people. But there was so much drinking and swapping spouses and blatant, knowing affairs and crude moments that I was uncomfortable through a lot of the story. Cringe-worthy, if you will. Maybe that was common for that time period and that group of people, I don’t know. But it was not something I expected to read about so often in this book. The description of the book mentions no such thing, and it was definitely unexpected. I hate to give this only 3 stars because I do think the writing was good and there were some great descriptions. I just think I am too naïve to this subject to fully understand what was happening. I would recommend this book to someone who is more versed in surrealism and art in general. Unfortunately, I think this book will only be perceived well by a very specific audience, and I am clearly not part of it. Thank you to NetGalley and Avid Reader Press for the advanced copies of this book. All opinions are my own.

  28. 5 out of 5

    indulge.your.shelf

    🖼🇫🇷Art and Paris.  A backdrop of WWII.  A romance between a much older man, Max Ernst, and 22 year old Leonora Carrington, a coming of age artist who faces the most difficult hardship of her life in Paris as it falls under Nazi occupation.  All of the above inclined me to read this book and ultimately not put it down until the last page.  We meet several well-developed, eccentric characters who are passionate about Surrealism. These relationships of the story are drenched in layers of intrigue a 🖼🇫🇷Art and Paris.  A backdrop of WWII.  A romance between a much older man, Max Ernst, and 22 year old Leonora Carrington, a coming of age artist who faces the most difficult hardship of her life in Paris as it falls under Nazi occupation.  All of the above inclined me to read this book and ultimately not put it down until the last page.  We meet several well-developed, eccentric characters who are passionate about Surrealism. These relationships of the story are drenched in layers of intrigue and emotion as Carter vividly interweaves each of their lives. I was so invested in all of the characters from beginning to end. We even have a brief encounter with some well-known artists, including Pablo Picasso. Max also faces the hardship of his life as a German Jew living in Southern France.  He is declared an "undesirable foreigner" and sent to a camp.  The story is told in alternating narratives of Max and Leonora as they both try to escape the horrors of the war and get back to each other.  What happens over this period of time will have you flying through the pages to find out.  I applaud Michaela Carter for the several years of work and research she put into this beautiful novel.  It's been blurbed by Oprah Magazine as one of the "Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels That Will Sweep You Away." It certainly swept me away, and I will be thinking about this one for years to come. Coming April 2021 Thank you @avidreaderpress for this wonderful ARC. 🌿🌿🌿

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    I’m not well informed about Surrealism but the few artists I know of were all male. Accordingly, upon reading the description of Leonora in the Morning Light I was eager to read about a less well-known female Surrealist artist, Leonora Carrington. This historical fiction novel alternates between Leonora’s and Max’s perspectives, blending the story of their love affair with their art, while simultaneously introducing other Surrealists . . . artists, poets, and authors. Taking place primarily in F I’m not well informed about Surrealism but the few artists I know of were all male. Accordingly, upon reading the description of Leonora in the Morning Light I was eager to read about a less well-known female Surrealist artist, Leonora Carrington. This historical fiction novel alternates between Leonora’s and Max’s perspectives, blending the story of their love affair with their art, while simultaneously introducing other Surrealists . . . artists, poets, and authors. Taking place primarily in France, the advent of WWII and the incursion of the Nazis into Paris significantly affects Leonora and Max’s relationship. The novel is rather slow paced and I was often frustrated by the alternating narratives and the alternating timelines. I could tell that the point was to show how events in the late 1930s tied-in to their lives in the early 1940s but sometimes that just served to interrupt the action, leading me to jump ahead to read Max’s (or Leonora’s) chapters one after the other for greater continuity of action. Despite the descriptions of Leonora's art provided in Leonora in the Morning Light, I didn’t really get a sense of Leonora’s artistic growth. It was only after I went online (https://surrealism.website/Leonora%20...) to look at the pieces of her artwork that are named in the novel that I was able to see how her artistic abilities developed, starting with her Self-Portrait, the Horses of Lord Candlestick, the Meal of Lord Candlestick, and her Portrait of Max Ernst. We mostly see Leonora through Max’s eyes; even in Leonora’s chapters, she evaluates her actions and thoughts by: what would Max think. It is not until the last chapter when she is in Mexico that she truly starts to think independently. Shortly before leaving for Mexico, she tells Max that it’s too late for them; Max replies “But I -- I finally found you.” Leonora’s response shows that she’s finally coming into her own: “Yes, you did . . . and so did I.” Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pascale

    Disclaimer: I received an Advance Reader's Copy from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I only became aware of Leonora Carrington when her short stories were re-issued recently. Her work is strange and beautiful, and it was oh so lovely to be able to read a fictionalized account of what her life might have been. I'm not certain to what degree Carter has been faithful to history, but what she presents is entirely plausible in my mind, and the research must have been quite extensi Disclaimer: I received an Advance Reader's Copy from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I only became aware of Leonora Carrington when her short stories were re-issued recently. Her work is strange and beautiful, and it was oh so lovely to be able to read a fictionalized account of what her life might have been. I'm not certain to what degree Carter has been faithful to history, but what she presents is entirely plausible in my mind, and the research must have been quite extensive. I particularly appreciate the attention that she paid to Leonora's work, and her vision as well as the development of all the Surrealist movement members who pass through the pages. I had no knowledge of Leonore Fini or of Max Ernst and am thrilled to discover that there is surrealist art that I can understand - I can appreciate Breton, Dali and Picasso, but I don't understand what it is I am meant to be seeing. My one complaint is that the story opens in the not so distant past when Leonora is speaking with a reporter, and then we are transported in the pre-WWII era, I would have liked to have the novel close as it began with Leonora making observations on her life. I was completely engaged with the novel and experienced a great many emotions along with Leonora and Max. I'm very greatful to have found this gem.

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