This is obviously based on fact, but how true to life it is difficult to tell unless you are a Monet scholar. However, it made for a good story, especially of the differences between culture in France, UK and America at the time, and gave some interesting insights into Monet's method of painting and the inspiration that drove him. Feminists will be horrified by the lives of the women involved, and their sacrifices.
Monet’s Angels by Jennifer Pulling is quite simply, the best book I have read so far in 2017. It is a page-turner and one finds oneself drawn into the intrigues and mysteries of pre-war France. Monet, genius that he is, is high-maintenance and demanding. Blanche, his step-daughter gives up a very promising career as an artist in her own right, to take care of him, and the running of the house. Into this set up, various characters are woven with a deft hand, each one interesting in their own right. Jennifer’s description of Giverney is spell-binding, so much so that one could almost smell the roses, and the other wonderful flowers that Monet had planted there. She painted with words, what Monet painted with pastels. It is truly a mesmerising book with characters that are real and credible. I can’t wait for the sequel to see what happens to Judith, Robert, and Blanche, herself. A riveting read.
I highly recommend Monet's Angels: the characters are well rounded, totally believable and come alive on the page. You feel with and for them. This book perfectly captures the atmosphere of that time and circle of artists, ex-pats and local people. It is full of a painter's point of view, you almost see and smell the garden that so much inspired Monet and you understand his seeing the world as a play of light and colour. I was also touched and deeply moved by the enduring theme of the women who sacrifice their own lives, careers and dreams for the men in their lives.
I have just read Monet's Angels and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is extremely well written and all characters well drawn. The author has a wide knowledge of the artist's work and shows real insight into his personality and talent. His relationship with his step-daughter Blanche is particularly well drawn, and the familiar garden comes vividly to life. The character of Judith, the author's own invention, is a way of adding a romantic and convincing interest to the story. She is a fascinating girl and no wonder she gets into trouble with men. She adds a bit of raciness to spice up what might otherwise be a fairly academic book. One really feels sorry for her at the end.
I recommend the book to all students of Monet - you will get far more out of this than your tutor can give you!.
My wife read Monet's Angels and loved it, which is perhaps not surprising as it is not just a really well researched book, but a page-turner as well, and she is very much in the target market. The more surprising thing is that I thought it was great too, and I'm just a bloke!
Reading 'Monet's Angels' threw me into the early 20th Century of Giverny. I felt I was there enjoying the garden and the art. I loved Judith's character and how she flamboyantly arrives disrupting the household and the rivalry between her and Blanche adds tension. The other characters dip in and out gently and of course Monet's presence is formidable and moving. A lovely read!
I have never been to Monet's Giverny but this book whets the appetite! I do admire the research that has gone into this beautiful book. To combine such detail - the strokes of the brush, the complex mix of paints as well as the palette of colours in the fabulous garden and then add a riveting and elegant tale of sacrifice, loss and love. This book is not all about women, there is Claude Monet himself with his failing eyesight and irascible temper, Robert, the ex-pat who one would like to know more of. I have lived in France and feel that Jennifer Pulling has caught the atmosphere of the nearby village and its characters. A mesmerizing book, one is left wanting more.