From Jessie Burton, author of the million-copy international bestseller The Miniaturist, comes a glittering, seductive and utterly enthralling novel about art, identity, and the hidden power within us all . . .
"A complex, vividly drawn tale ... a most original story about creative freedom, finding one's voice, and the quest for artistic redemption." Publishers Weekly
A picture hides a thousand words . . .
On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn't know she had, she remains a mystery - no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.
The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come an artist and revolutionary, Isaac Robles, and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . . .
Seductive, exhilarating and suspenseful, The Muse is an addictive novel about aspiration and identity, love and obsession, authenticity and deception - a magnificent creation and a story you will never forget.
PRAISE FOR THE MINIATURIST
"The next big thing ... Incredibly well-written, beautifully plotted ... If you tore through Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, you'll love it." Evening Standard
"A fabulously gripping read that will appeal to fans of Girl With a Pearl Earring and The Goldfinch, but Burton is a genuinely new voice with her visceral take on sex, race and class" The Observer
"The kind of book that reminds you why you fell in love with reading" S. J. Watson, author of Before I Go to Sleep
"Utterly transporting, The Miniaturist is one of those rare debut novels that excels in every regard." Hannah Kent
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Jessie Burton follows up The Miniaturist with this tender, evocative meditation on the artistic ambitions of two brilliant women: Olive, a Jewish poet in 1930s Spain, and Odelle, a Trinidadian painter in ‘60s not-quite-liberated London. Exploring the heroines’ nascent creative careers, The Muse raises questions about race and class—and the idea of making art for its own sake. Burton easily slips into her characters’ skins, creates interesting tableaux of historical art scenes and spins an enticing mystery. Like All the Light We Cannot See, this novel is a rich literary pageturner.
Burton's second novel (following The Miniaturist) is a complex, vividly drawn tale centering on a mysterious painting from 1930s Spain brought to a London art institute in 1967. The author brings together two striking story lines one involving Trinidad-born Odelle Bastien, who works in late '60s London at a posh art institute where she becomes the prot g of an eccentric office manager, Marjorie Quick, while adjusting to life in a new country. The other thread centers on Olive Schloss, a young Viennese woman whose family settles in a mansion in Spain in 1936. Olive's aspirations to be a painter are quashed by her father's misogynistic views toward women artists. Her life is overturned by the arrival of Isaac and Theresa Robles, local siblings who come to work at the mansion; he is a passionate revolutionary and artist, and she is a maid, but also a lost teenager looking for connection. The intricate way in which Burton pulls the two plots together is unexpected and impressive, a most original story about creative freedom, finding one's voice, and the quest for artistic redemption.