By Cathy Marie Buchanan
The inspiration for Degas’s sculpture and paintings is explored through this fictional account of nineteenth-century Paris during “La Belle Époch.” Impeccable research and history provide a background for the compelling story of two sisters, their hopes, their dreams, and, harshly, their realities.
Thrust into poverty by the death of their father and the alcoholism of their mother, with yet another younger sister to support, the two girls search for work however they can find it. Modeling brings in a few extra coins, so desperately needed, but leads Marie down the path to her own devastation. Antoinette too is driven to find money to realize her dreams; this story portrays her love and loss in an all-too-real fashion.
While based in history, the fictional aspects of The Painted Girls are what bring it alive and create a lasting impression. If you appreciate texture and depth in your reading, this book will bring you inside its nineteenth-century world and captivate you.