Released June 15, 2016, by Rebelight Publishing, this beautifully written, lush piece drops you into tumultuous and breathtaking late 19th century Paris.
Sixteen year old Gabrielle dreams of becoming an artist but her ambitious parents agree to an arranged marriage to an aging Baron. In protest, she runs away from her provincial home of Laval to Paris, the City of Light, intending to live with her grandmother and pursue her passion for art.
Her bold plan disintegrates as she arrives in Paris to discover her grandmother has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Alone in the capital, Gabrielle wonders who to trust: her new artist friends or the handsome but irritating stranger she met on the train, who just might be stalking her.
Gabrielle’s pride, ambition and impulsive nature thrust her into Paris’ underbelly of betrayal and abuse. Will she find the courage to begin a new life on her own terms? You’ll have to read the novel to discover her fate!
Available online at Indigo Chapters, Barnes and Noble and Amazon, and in independent book stores everywhere
The Art of Rebellion has appeared on Calgary’s Top 10 Bestselling Fiction list for four weeks, most recently as #5, alongside literary heavyweights JKRowling and Kristin Hannah!!
The Art of Rebellion is now at the Louvre Museum, Paris (See News for Details)
Tim Wynne-Jones, multi-award winning author of adult, young adult and children’s literature:
“I came to love the central character [in the Art of Rebellion], a dedicated painter in a world not quite ready to accept women artists, a naïf at risk of being swept up by the demi-monde of fin-de-siècle Paris, but determined to make her way and leave her mark.”
Angela Ackerman, bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus:
“Brenda … does a brilliant job of drawing readers into a textured, authentic world of art and culture during a time when women chafing under the dominance of men in society fought for change, fairness, and freedom. In The Art of Rebellion, sixteen-year-old Gabbi, artistic, passionate, and headstrong, refuses to have her life bartered away in an arranged marriage to an older man, and recklessly travels to Paris to stay with the family’s black sheep, her Grand’Mere. However, pursuing her dream of becoming an artist and finding her missing activist grandmother exposes Gabby to the ugly and dangerous side of a modern world. But in the midst of repression, sexism, and betrayal, she also discovers friendship, support, and something she never expected – the possibility of love.”
HISTORICAL NOVELS REVIEW, November, 2016
“This charming book of manners (think a French Jane Austen) is entertaining, well-written and surprising. A delightful read.”
Ryley Reads, YA blogger: 4 star review:
One of the major themes in this book was feminism, or really just treating women like people…And the part that terrified me the most about this book, is that when you get down to it, not a lot has changed from 1900 to 2016…There is just so much character development within Gabbi…Overall, this is a historical fiction that reads as a modern day novel. There were points where I forgot it was a historical fiction because so many of the issues are still prevalent today.
Nine Amazon 5 star reviews:
*****This book is a thrill ride. I was captivated with Gabbi from the first paragraph and joined willingly in her escapades and missteps. I cheered out loud at her fortitude and despaired at her naivety. Be prepared for some surprises. I put this book down only to calm my nerves and take a quiet breath. Plan plenty of time to read the last 60 pages. Once you start chapter 27, you won’t be able to put the book down until you reach the conclusion.
*****Gabbi takes us on a fast paced, courageous ride as she attempts to fulfill her dreams. The twists and turns in this story keep us, the readers, cheering for our heroine throughout her journey.
***** I was entertained and enchanted. The young female protagonist provides a timeless portrait of a teen’s struggle to forge their own identity independent of his/her family tempered with an appreciation of the support family provides. The setting (early 20th century Paris) is sure to awaken the travel bug and has the added benefit that the reader is certain to learn a few things about history without even realizing it.
*****So I sat down with this book on the beach and one sunburn later I was still immersed in the adventure of a remarkable girl with a passion for art, living in Paris during the “Belle Epoch” What a beautifully written book.
*****This book is an exquisitely layered work of art! It’s appropriately thought provoking for younger readers to understand, but also sufficiently captivating for older adults to appreciate. The author’s gift with words (even the occasional French ones) is magical and perfectly complements the time period….I really hope there is a sequel as I would love to continue to follow Gabrielle’s journey…
*****I entered this book knowing it was a “first novel” and was blown away by the way the storyline captured me. I’ve been to Paris and Montmartre and at times felt like I was walking alongside Gabbi — 100 years ago. I ended up buying another 5 copies to share with my children, family & friends — and have recommended it to my book club. I ended the book looking forward to the sequel? Will Gabbi make it safely to Canada? Will she stop in Montreal or ???
*****A well-written sketch of a teen who wants her independence in France of 1900…This is a moving novel about the yearnings of a young woman, about the growing feminist movement, about changing times and of course, about love. Leahy’s prose is rich, descriptive, bright. Gabbi sees everything through an artist’s lens, in texture, in brushstrokes, in colour. She’s a realistic, complicated character who is put through experiences far beyond her years. Leahy’s research is thorough and she does an excellent job of weaving it in through the dialogue and the plot.
*****This beautifully written story will appeal to anyone who has had to sacrifice to fulfill a dream…This historical fiction is weaved together with such rich description and pros you feel as though you are living in 1900 Paris, fighting for your own dream. It is a must read for anyone who loves a YA book with a strong heroine.
Seven GoodReads reviews – 4.7 /5 Stars
*****This book’s plucky protagonist kept me engaged, along with a fast-moving plot. It was such a fun read and I learned about a time and place I knew little about. Feminism, art and romance all entwined into a fantastic YA novel.
*****Great history wrapped up in a story of courage and hard lessons. Explicit detail of fashion and Parisian life at the turn of the century. Gabrielle is headstrong and far too trusting and has to get herself out of some sticky situations.
*****The Art of Rebellion is a beautifully written and engaging story about a young woman’s artistic passions in a time when society expected women to marry and bear children, not pursue their dreams…Gabbi takes us on a fast paced, courageous ride as she attempts to fulfill her dreams. The twists and turns in this story keep us, the readers, cheering for our heroine throughout her journey…This YA story will appeal to anyone who reads the genre and anyone who loves historical fiction.
Indigo Chapters reviews – 5 stars
*****I loved this book!…I loved the spunk of the main character but also enjoyed reading about what Paris was like during this time: Suffragettes, the art movement and the World Expo. It was that juxtaposition between the old city and the new modern movements that I found really interesting. This book was a quick read and I cannot wait for the next book in the series!