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This book of historical fiction tells the back story surrounding the creation of Edgar Degas sculpture Little Dancer Aged Fourteen and lets us into the lives of the struggling Van Goethem family of model Marie and her sisters Antoinette and Charlotte. This popular book is worth the wait! Belle époque Paris comes alive not only with the lives of the dancers hoping to move up the ranks of the Ballet at the Paris Opéra, but through the writing of Émile Zola’s masterpiece L’Assommoir. It reminded me of the summer literature class I took reading French writers of this period, a good thing.
posted Jul 14, 2013 at 6:58AM
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Marie van Goethem
Antoinette's younger sister; greiving the recent sudden death of her father; her mother is an alcoholic; fears her family will be evicted soon; goes to the Paris opera where she throws her self into ballet; finds her image immoralized in a painting; meets a wealthy patron of the ballet.
Antoinette van Goethem
Maria's older sister; greiving the recent sudden death of her father; her mother is an alcoholic; finds work as an extra in a theatrical production; must choose between honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to young women in Paris.