The story of a famous abstract painter at the end of her life—her family, her art, and the long-buried secrets that won’t stay hidden for much longer.
Ninety-three-year-old Violet Swan has spent a lifetime translating tragedy and hardship into art, becoming famous for her abstract paintings, which evoke tranquility, innocence, and joy. For nearly a century Violet has lived a peaceful, private life of painting on the coast of Oregon. The “business of Violet” is run by her only child, Francisco, and his wife, Penny. But shortly before Violet's death, an earthquake sets a series of events in motion, and her deeply hidden past begins to resurface. When her beloved grandson returns home with a family secret in tow, Violet is forced to come to terms with the life she left behind so long ago—a life her family knows nothing about.
A generational saga set against the backdrop of twentieth-century America and into the present day, Pale Morning Light with Violet Swan is the story of a girl who escaped rural Georgia at fourteen during World War II, crossing the country alone and broke. It is the story of how that girl met the man who would become her devoted husband, how she became a celebrated artist, and above all, how her life, inspired by nothing more than the way she imagined it to be, would turn out to be her greatest masterpiece.
"Reed finely balances the cavalcade of revelations with a poised, multilayered portrait of a complex life."—Booklist "Gorgeous, luminescent, and imbued with hope, meet Violet Swan, ninety-three years old, and with a heck of a story to tell. Be prepared to be spellbound.” —Rene Denfeld, best-selling author of The Child Finder “A beautiful, shimmering, heart-lifting testament to the power of memory and love and art.”—Margaret Renkl, author of Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss “A poignant and evocative portrait of an artist who transforms loss into tenderness, brush stroke by brush stroke. Violet, well into her nineties, is haunted by secrets and sorrow follows her, as Deborah Reed so beautifully describes, 'like a tired child asking to be lifted into her arms.’ When Violet’s small coastal town is riven by an earthquake, she turns to the canvas to finally tell her own story, and a family defined by silences finds their way home.” —Apricot Irving, author of The Gospel of Trees —