From the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Miniaturist comes a captivating and brilliantly realized story of two young women—a Caribbean immigrant in 1960s London, and a bohemian woman in 1930s Spain—and the powerful mystery that ties them together.
England, 1967. Odelle Bastien is a Caribbean émigré trying to make her way in London. When she starts working at the prestigious Skelton Institute of Art, she discovers a painting rumored to be the work of Isaac Robles, a young artist of immense talent and vision whose mysterious death has confounded the art world for decades. The excitement over the painting is matched by the intrigue around the conflicting stories of its discovery. Drawn into a complex web of secrets and deceptions, Odelle does not know what to believe or who she can trust, including her mesmerizing colleague, Marjorie Quick.
Spain, 1936. Olive Schloss, the daughter of a Viennese Jewish art dealer and an English heiress, follows her parents to Arazuelo, a poor, restless village on the southern coast. She grows close to Teresa, a young housekeeper, and Teresa’s half-brother, Isaac Robles, an idealistic and ambitious painter newly returned from the Barcelona salons. A dilettante buoyed by the revolutionary fervor that will soon erupt into civil war, Isaac dreams of being a painter as famous as his countryman Picasso.
Raised in poverty, these illegitimate children of the local landowner revel in exploiting the wealthy Anglo-Austrians. Insinuating themselves into the Schloss family’s lives, Teresa and Isaac help Olive conceal her artistic talents with devastating consequences that will echo into the decades to come.
Rendered in exquisite detail, The Muse is a passionate and enthralling tale of desire, ambition, and the ways in which the tides of history inevitably shape and define our lives.
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 painter in 1930s Spain, and Odelle, a Trinidadian poet in ‘60s not-quite-liberated London. The Muse explores the heroines’ nascent creative careers, raising 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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Interesting story that starts slowly but just as I was just about to put it down, starts to flame. I enjoyed it.
A bit of a slow start but then so hard to put down!!!!! Fell in love. I felt so many emotions while reading.
I enjoy books that bounce between eras this was done wellI liked it alot