Wow! I absolutely LOVED this book. As has happened recently with a couple of other novels, I started reading and got quite a way into it before realizing that these characters were real people (except I already knew that Degas existed, lol). So then I go off on long internet research, googling like a madwoman.
This was so beautifully written and tells such a sad story. It's one of those where you feel like screaming at certain characters to WAKE UP! I had never given much thought to all the little dancers that Degas painted and where they might have come from and why they were there at the Opera. Fascinating! A wonderful weaving of face and fiction and conjecture. I just have to give it 10 stars!
Much gratitude to the BCer who gave me the B&N gift card used to purchase this - otherwise I might have missed it! And to be able to fulfill another wish is icing on the cake.
1878 Paris. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.
Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modeling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. There she meets a wealthy male patron of the ballet, but might the assistance he offers come with strings attached? Meanwhile Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Émile Abadie, must choose between honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde.
Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.” In the end, each will come to realize that her salvation, if not survival, lies with the other.
Released 1 yr ago (4/19/2016 UTC) at Winchester, Massachusetts USA
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
On its way - finally - to bookstogive via the wishlist tag game. I'm so sorry for the long delay. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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