A Cruel Calm: Paris Between the Wars
by Patricia Daly-Lipe


Xlibris, 2010. ISBN 978-1-450-04470-7.
Reviewed by Susan M. Andrus
Posted on 10/14/2011

Fiction: Historical; Fiction: Romance

Elisabeth (Libby) Whitaker, a young socialite from a wealthy Washington, DC family, married her husband out of convention rather than love. As a spoiled young woman, she had everything, yet had little character or ambition. She went with the flow and allowed events to engulf her doing little or nothing to direct their course.

Yet, she observes and drops names as if other people's stories are much more interesting than her own. She reports on life in Paris during the 1920s where she and her new husband moved after their wedding. Libby encountered many of the intellectuals gathered there in her social circle, and she reported their likes, dislikes and activities like a true journalist. Even Joseph Campbell, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and Charles Lindbergh crossed her path.

Since marital problems appeared early in her marriage, Libby had an affair with a count and eventually became pregnant. As events unfold, Libby gradually takes a little more interest in her own destiny, and makes choices that lead her in a different direction although not leading to her ultimate happiness.

A little unbelievable, but certainly telling the story of the lull between the two great wars, A Cruel Calm contains some nice storytelling as well as some weak editing that would otherwise have made this a great book for a high school history class.

Read an excerpt from this book.


Patricia Daly-Lipe, an author, artist and speaker, grew up on both coasts of the country, spending an equal amount of time in California and Washington, DC. Daly-Lipe has written five books. This fictionalized story is based on her mother's life. Daly-Lipe rescues thoroughbred horses, and lives in La Jolla, California with her husband, Steele Lipe, MD. Visit her website.

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