Could I have loved this book any more!!?? I don’t think so! I’ve been done listening a little over a week now and Antoinette and Marie are still haunting my every thought! Cathy Buchanan has truly MASTERED the historical fiction genre with this one– taking just enough historical fact and blending it oh, so perfectly with a lovely fictional story that has it all. Art! Ballet! Family tragedy! Sisterhood! Betrayal! Murder!
I certainly recommend the audio if you have the chance (it was just magical) but the trade paperback featured at Indigo is also a stunner for those that still enjoy the feel and smell of a book! Funny story– I had to nip into to Indigo to read the last 3-4 chapters in paper. The audio file was “returned” to the library with only 19 minutes to go!! And, it was at SUCH A CRITICAL PART!!!! It was so beautifully bound and laid out that I ended up buying it for my Mum for Mother’s Day (hope she hasn’t suddenly figured out the Internet and read this!). Ms. Buchanan must be so SO proud that the audio narration, featuring Cassandra Campbell, Julia Whelan and Danny Campbell, is one of Blackstone Audio’s Earphones Award Winners (March 2013). Well deserved indeed!
Little Dancer Dance, winged scamp, dance upon the wooden lawn, Love that alone– let dancing be your life. Your skinny arm in its chosen place Balancing, holding your weight in flight Taglioni, come, princess of Arcady! Nymphs, Graces, come you souls of yore, Ennoble and endow, approving my choice, This new little being with impudent face. May she for my pleasure know her worth And keep, in golden hall, the gutter’s breed. – Edgar Degas
The Painted Girls tells the life story of Marie VanGoethem– who was the real life model for Edgar Degas’ most famous piece of work, Little Dancer Aged Fourteen— and her sister, Antoinette. They start out as close sisters and “Petits Rats” of the Paris Opera Ballet and end up in places neither of them would have ever expected.
I cannot even come close to describing in words how beautifully this book was so I made a Video Book Review featuring the paintings of Degas and images from the 19th century internet archives. The Chieftains provide the musical accompaniment. 5 ENTHUSIASTIC stars from me! Gush! Gush! GUSH!!! Click below to watch then run out and get this book!