Claude & Camille by Stephanie Cowell
ARC, Paperback, 352 pages
April 6, 2010
Genre: Art Historical Fiction
Source: Received from Crown Publishing for HFBRT April Event (Thanks!)
Claude Monet was a struggling young artist who was part of a burgeoning movement – living from sale to sale of his artwork, collaborating with his fellow painters: Frederic Bazille, Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley. Camille Doncieux was a flowering young woman from the upper crust of society who was set to follow the path laid out for her by her parents – the way all respectable young women should. When these two accidentally cross paths, both of their lives change in ways that they could never imagine.
I loved the way that this story was framed – there are sections from the past lives of Claude and Camille, each laid out with dates, and interludes of Claude’s later life in his beautiful home/garden in Giverny. There are intimate details revealed in the interludes that explain parts of the back story. From the very beginning, which is set in one of the interludes, you get the feeling that there is a great sadness in Claude’s life – something which happened that he is held responsible for. You can feel his pain and sadness, and even though you know that something terrible is going to happen and you think you are prepared for it, I would be very surprised if you don’t shed a few tears upon the reveal.
I was never a huge fan of Monet’s artwork – I can appreciate it, but I’m not a fan of the Impressionist movement as a whole. Not being a fan, I had never thought to consider looking up anything about his life, but after reading this novel, I was very interested in the life of Claude and Camille. While parts of the novel are fictionalized for the sake of the story, I thought that it only added to the allure of Monet. I know that the beautiful cover was initially what drew me to this book (this is not the current cover, but I am so thankful to have received the ARC copy with my favorite cover) and I am so glad that I picked it up – one of my top reads so far this year.
This was a beautifully written story and this would be one of those books that I would read again. I am going to move Marrying Mozart by Stephanie Cowell up my TBR list because of how much I enjoyed this book.
You can visit Stephanie Cowell at her website or blog for more information about her previous works and upcoming events.
To whet your appetite more for Claude and Camille, you can watch this beautiful book trailer:
5 out of 5 stars!
Also up today at HFBRT:
Author Guest Post at Hist-Fic Chick
Special Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court