Natalie Conway should be thrilled at the prospect of covering the Cannes Film Festival. She's desperate to revive her struggling career, she's passionate about movies, and Cannes is the heart and soul of cinematic glamour and tradition, the place where film legends are born, made, or left withering on the vine.
But Cannes is in France, and going to France means facing painful memories of Nattie's brief childhood in Paris and the bizarre accident that killed her mother and forced her mother's lover, Michel Claudel, to ship Nattie off to the New Mexico desert to live with a father she had never met. So France is Nattie's personal nightmare -- but with the bank foreclosing on her house in Los Angeles, it is a nightmare she must finally face.
The moment she sets foot in Paris, Nattie's past hits her with the force of a mistral wind. Long-forgotten sights and fragrances and the melody of the language stir up hazy recollections of her mother and Claudel. And then she's whisked away to Cannes and engulfed by the film festival, juggling movies, celebrities, her demanding editor, a seductive ex-lover, and a reckless starlet hell-bent on providing juicy copy.
When Nattie discovers a mysterious link between her mother and a mercurial French director named Jacques Vidanne, she turns to the only man she can trust, with questions that may be too painful to answer. Accustomed as she is to digging into the lives of movie stars, she finds that digging into her own life threatens to unravel her reality. In the end, she must make a choice -- to move forward toward her future or to remain in the shadow of her past.
The Lumière Affair is filled with delicious insider movie dish from a seasoned celebrity journalist, but it is also the tender and charming story of a woman's journey to find herself. From California to Corsica, you will fall in love with Nattie Conway and root for her -- all the way to the Martini Shot.
Sara Voorhees is a nationally syndicated film critic who has written more than four thousand movie reviews for television and print and has interviewed almost every major celebrity in Hollywood. This is her first novel.
"The Lumière Affair is a splendid mystery -- a tangled tale of family and fame that stretches from the high desert of New Mexico to the absurd and sublime world of the Cannes Film Festival. Whether it's secrets or film stars, film critic Sara Voorhees knows of what she writes. This is a juicy read that touches the heart, and a story exceptionally well told."
-- Tony Hillerman, author of The Shape Shifter
"The Lumière Affair is terrific. Lively, several ways smart, with an adorable protagonist and a wonderful emotional perceptiveness, always alive in a headlong way that made me put everything else aside once I started it. Sara Voorhees brought me back to the Cannes Film Festival in all its silly, overpitched detail. This book reads like the wind, flies off the page, and never lets you down."
-- Jay Carr, film critic for The Boston Globe and host of NEC TV's The Screening Room
"The Lumière Affair is a treat for readers who love movies, for movie fans who love mysteries, and for all of us who have struggled to solve the puzzles of our own childhoods. A captivating book."