This grand romance could use a lot more passion…
The story begins in 1857 and is interspersed with “interludes” wherein the aging Claude Monet reflects back on his early life, when he is first drawn to the lure of painting. Despite the efforts of his family and a brief stint in the military, Claude is determined to return to Paris and paint, and when he does he meets Camille Doncieux whom he asks to model for him. That relationship between the two as they attempt to build a life together as well as the struggle to become a successful painter is the basis for the book, and since not much is known about Camille, author Stephanie Cowell has ample wiggle room to put her own spin on it.
Unfortunately, despite a lot of hype and great expectations this one just didn’t quite cut it for me. I was expecting a great passionate love story and instead I got something a bit too light. I didn’t find any depth or emotions with any of the characters, just stuff like this,
‘He sought her in bed that night, parting her legs and moving into her. She clung to him. “You’re not empty at all,” he said. I shall fill you with all that I am.”
“I shall give you all that I am.”
Only love me, I am the sea.”‘
I didn’t pick up on much chemistry between the two, and instead of feeling great love and passion between them the author had to tell me it was there. But then I found a lot more telling then showing in this – especially with all those letters. This was a light, easy read but if you’re expecting an in-depth, all-encompassing look at Monet and his relationship with Camille I suspect you’ll be disappointed. I had a lot of fun reading about some of Monet’s works and how they came about (do go and look them up on the net), and a big thumbs up on the quotes from Monet and his fellow impressionists at the beginning of each chapter. This is a good book, it is just not a great one.
My copy courtesy of Amazon Vine.