This biography explores many of the questions that have surrounded Berthe Morisot since her death, such as the rumour that she was descended from the 18th-century French master, Fragonard; the true nature of her relationship with Edouard Manet and her decision to marry his brother Eugene; and why, in spite of political and cultural connections, did she find happiness and public recognition so elusive? Morisot, one of France's most distinguished female painters, was born in 1841 and grew up within a cultured, well-connected Parisian family during the Second Empire. Tutored by Guichard and Corot, Morisot and her sister developed their artistic skills by copying old masters at the Louvre and by working in the open air. They both exhibited at the Salons of 1864-8, and Berthe became determined to defy convention by becoming a professional painter. Fiercely independent and avant-garde, she contributed to most of the Impressionist exhibitions of 1874-86. Edouard Manet became her greatest mentor, and Morisot enjoyed the friendships of Renoir, Degas, Monet, Fantin-Latour and Whistler.