#1 National Bestseller and New York Times Bestseller
Paris, 1878. Following her father’s sudden death, Marie van Goethem is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant wage she is trained to enter the famous Ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work—and the love of a dangerous young man—as an extra on the stage. Marie is soon modeling in the studio of renowned artist Edgar Degas, who will immortalize her image forever, while Antoinette must make the choice between a life of honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a willing young woman—that is, unless her perilous love derails her completely.
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.
Praise for THE PAINTED GIRLS
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The struggle of three sisters in 19th-century Paris blossoms into the rich history of Marie van Goethem, model for Edgar Degas's controversial statue, Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen, in Buchanan's new novel (after The Day the Falls Stood Still). When their father dies, teen sisters Antoinette, Marie, and Charlotte are left to fend for themselves, since their mother's meager wages often dissolve into absinthe. Knowing their best chance for advancement lies in the ballet, Antoinette, an extra at the Op ra, get her sisters auditions. Both are accepted as "petit rats," but to everyone's surprise, bookish Marie actually shows talent for dance, and pays for food and private lessons by modeling for the mysterious Edgar Degas. Meanwhile, Antoinette, who has been guardian to her sisters, begins a love affair with mile Abadie, a young man of questionable character. As Marie's modeling for Degas leads to the interest of a patron of the ballet, mile is arrested for the murder of a local tavern owner, driving a wedge between the devoted sisters. Though history loses track of mile Abadie, implicated in three murders, and Marie Van Goethem after Degas's statuette is criticized as "ugly" with the "promise of every vice" on the girl's face, Buchanan captures their story in this engrossing depiction of belle epoque Paris.
A great read! In some instances the author describes this era in Paris with such detail and precision, you can easily imagine the stench of the slums and the taste of absinthe on your tongue. It brought me there. Loved it.