Monday, August 25, 2014

Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley/Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Read:  June 12, 2014

The mesmerizing and untold story of Eva Gouel, the unforgettable woman who stole the heart of the greatest artist of our time. When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world. A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can't help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves into what will become the first great love of Picasso's life. With sparkling insight and passion, Madame Picasso introduces us to a dazzling heroine, taking us from the salon of Gertrude Stein to the glamorous Moulin Rouge and inside the studio and heart of one of the most enigmatic and iconic artists of the twentieth century.

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Picasso is easily one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, but I think it fair to say his art is more recognizable than the man behind it which is what roused my interest in Anne Girard's Madame Picasso. 

Picking up in 1911, Girard draws readers into the popular salons and glamorous haunts of Paris in the waning years of the Belle Époque to explore a love affair that would forever change the young artist.

I liked several things about this piece, but I particularly appreciated how the author sought to pull back the curtain and really examine the dynamic between artist and muse. This wasn't just an affair in her eyes, it was profound union that made a lasting impression on the painter and I think that really comes through in the narrative. 

I also liked Girard's interpretation of Eva's character and her struggle to hold Picasso's affection. She is a tenacious woman who defies convention, but isn't immune to doubt or indecision and the complexity that lent her allows the reader to truly understand Pablo's attraction. 

Atmospherically, Girard did a wonderful job bringing this period to life. There is an innocence about the grandeur, an air of naiveté that hovers over the city as is comes closer to war. Walls can't talk, but in Madame Picasso one can easily imagine the world they might have witnessed. 

A vivid tale that offers compelling insight to an oft forgotten chapter in the artist's life, Madame Picasso is an absolute must for art lovers and literary aficionados alike. Impossible to put down and brilliantly addicting. 

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It was she who had led him to find himself. Picasso had risen to the challenge God had placed before him without even realizing it. In spite of his fears, in the face of her lengthy illness, and now her impending death, he had not abandoned her. Her steadfast love had helped him to become a noble man, and to be there for her in a way he had not been able to be for Conchita.
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Check Out All the Stop on Anne Girard's Madame Picasso Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, August 26
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Notebook
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 27
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, August 28
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Review & Giveaway at Kinx’s Book Nook
Friday, August 29
Review at Scandalous Women
Review at Curling Up by the Fire
Monday, September 1
Review at A Bookish Affair
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, September 2
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, September 3
Review at Gobs and Gobs of Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing
Thursday, September 4
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Friday, September 5
Review at To Read or Not to Read
Monday, September 8
Review at Book of Secrets
Review & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, September 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, September 10
Review at Books in the Burbs
Thursday, September 11
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, September 12
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Monday, September 15
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Carole’s Ramblings
Tuesday, September 16
Review at She is Too Fond of Books
Wednesday, September 17
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, September 18
Review at One Book of a Time
Friday, September 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Monday, September 22
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, September 23
Review at The Librarian Fatale
Wednesday, September 24
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Thursday, September 25
Review at Kincavel Korner
Friday, September 26
Interview at Kincavel Korner

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