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Claude & Camille : a novel of Monet
Cowell, Stephanie.
Adult Fiction COWELL

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Behind every great artist stands a woman driving him to inspiration, aspiration, and desperation, according to Cowell (Marrying Mozart), who bases her latest novel about an artist and his muse on the life of Claude Monet. Beautiful bourgeoise Camille Doncieux leaves her family and fiance for Monet, whom Cowell depicts early on as a rebellious young man trying to capture in his paintings fleeting moments of color and light before he matures into the troubled genius whose talent exceeds his income. In an art world resistant to change, Camille remains Monet's great love as he and fellow unknowns Renoir, Pissarro, and Bazille struggle to make ends meet, but, eventually, parenthood, financial pressure, long separations, career frustrations, and romantic distractions take their toll, and even after Monet finally achieves commercial success, the couple still faces considerable difficulty. While glimpses of great men at work make absorbing reading, it's Camille who gives this story its heart. A convincing narrative about how masterpieces are created and a detailed portrait of a complex couple, Cowell's novel suggests that a fabulous, if flawed, love is the source of both the beauty and sadness of Monet's art. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

One winter's day, a young, frustrated Claude Monet waits for a train on his way to boot camp; through the crowd, he spies a lovely young woman in tears. Captivated, he sketches her face before she disappears with her mother and sister into the bustle of the station. A few years later, he has not forgotten the girl's beauty and is stunned to meet her again in a Paris bookshop. Her name is Camille Doniceaux, and she is destined to become Monet's first wife and greatest muse. Moving through war, illness, prosperity, and poverty, Cowell (Marrying Mozart) writes the couple's love story with an eye for perspective as skilled as any painter's. By novel's end, readers are left with not only the satisfying drama of life among the Impressionists but also a greater appreciation for Monet's art and the driving forces behind it. VERDICT Though the plot occasionally cries out for greater detail, the story of Claude and Camille's complex and engrossing relationship compensates. Fans of Tracy Chevalier, Susan Vreeland, and Sarah Dunant will want to check out this rich, artsy read. [Ebook edition available: ISBN 978-0-307-46323-4; highlighted in AAP's Librarians' Spring 2010 Sneak Preview.]-Leigh Wright, Bridgewater, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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