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Bristol Public Library to Host Book Signing for National Author Katherine Keenum

October 28, 2013

On Monday, November 4 from 10 AM until noon in the J. Henry Kegley Meeting Room, the Bristol Public Library will host author Katherine Keenum for a reading and book signing for her book Where the Light Falls. Where the Light Falls is a stunning debut novel of one woman’s struggle with love, art, and ambition during a revolutionary era in Paris, the City of Lights. A beautifully written and evocative tale set in the most influential and artistic cities of the world, and as poignant and alluring as the work of Edith Wharton and Henry James, this powerful love story will captivate readers from the very first page. There will be copies of Where the Light Falls for sale during the reading and signing. For more information, contact Doris Stickley on 276-821-6148.

Inspired by actual events in author Katherine Keenum’s family history, this novel originated when she learned her great-grandmother had been expelled from Vassar College for helping her roommate elope and then escaped to Paris to study art with Corolus-Duran. Coming across a Vassar Catalogue from 1879 which contained proof of the dismissal, Keenum realized the depth of the story — so full of adventure, love, and scandal — that she began writing her own version which was to become Where the Light Falls.

In Where the Light Falls, protagonist Jeanette Palmer gets kicked out of Vassar in the winter of 1878 for what seems to be the scandal of the century, and her life is turned upside down. With her dreams of becoming an artist rapidly deteriorating, she decides to risk everything and move to Paris at the dawn of the Belle Époque, where her behavior is likely to be less damaging to her prominent family’s reputation. Paris attracts artists from everywhere including Jeanette who finds herself riveted by the life and people of Paris. Amid the city’s great Bohemian neighborhoods and artists’ studios, Jeanette meets an American Civil War veteran named Edward Murer. As she begins to achieve artistic success, Jeanette’s relationship with Edward begins to flourish—but he is plagued by addiction and personal demons. Just as the world opens its arms to Jeanette, she finds herself torn between pursuing a burgeoning career and following her heart.

Katherine Keenum holds a PhD in Medieval Studies from the University of Texas. She is a former editor of the Publications Program for the Council on East Asian Studies at Harvard University and has also taught writing at Yale. Just as she was about to leave on her first national book tour for Where the Light Falls, Keenum developed health issues that delayed the tour. She is now back on tour and is well into her second novel which is based on a great-aunt who was the personal assistant of Edward Stratemeyer, the man who created the Hardy Boys books. Ms. Keenum also has a personal connection with Bristol through her sister Janet Smith who lives here.