Spotlight: Learning to See.

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Publish Date: January 22, 2019

At a time when women were supposed to keep the home fires burning, Dorothea Lange, creator of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century, dares to be different. Now, in this riveting new novel by the author of The Other Alcott, we see the world through her eyes…

In 1918, a fearless twenty-two-year old arrives in bohemian San Francisco from the Northeast, determined to make her own way as an independent woman. Renaming herself Dorothea Lange she is soon the celebrated owner of the city’s most prestigious and stylish portrait studio and wife of the talented but volatile painter, Maynard Dixon.

By the early 1930s, as America’s economy collapses, her marriage founders and Dorothea must find ways to support her two young sons single-handedly. Determined to expose the horrific conditions of the nation’s poor, she takes to the road with her camera, creating images that inspire, reform, and define the era. And when the United States enters World War II, Dorothea chooses to confront another injustice—the incarceration of thousands of innocent Japanese Americans.

Learning to See is a gripping account of the ambitious woman behind the camera who risked everything for art, activism, and love. But her choices came at a steep price…


“Elise Hooper’s Dorothea Lange is magnetic!…This is a winning novel from the first page.” – Devin Murphy, national bestselling author of The Boat Runner and Tiny Americans

“Written with grace, empathy, and bright imagination, LEARNING TO SEE gives us the vivid interior life of a remarkably resilient woman. Dorothea Lange’s story is about passion and art, love and family, but also about the sacrifices women make—and have always made—to illuminate the truth of the world.” – Danya Kukafka, national bestselling author of Girl in Snow

“A powerful and timely view of America told through the lens of Dorothea Lange, a fascinating woman whose photographs shone a light on the nation’s forgotten and abandoned…Detailed and thoroughly immersive, Learning to See grips the reader and highlights an important period in American history.” – Chanel Cleeton, author of Next Year in Havana


Amazon || Barnes & Noble || Indie Bound || Harper-Collins

1926361t70bnztsmwAlthough a New Englander by birth, Elise lives with her husband and two young daughters in Seattle and teaches literature and history. Her first novel was The Other Alcott, which was about Louisa May Alcott’s sister, May.




1926361t70bnztsmwThese are some of Ms. Lange’s photographs. I absolutely love her work, it’s so moving and poignant. I thought it would be perfect to include some to share with you. You should look them up if you’re interested.


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