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Finerman's debut novel chronicles the life of Victorine Laurent, whose beauty and ambition to "conquer Paris" leads her to become the favorite muse of Edouard Manet. Victorine poses for a portrait that will "change the direction of art forever," and the sexually charged painting indeed shocks the Grand Salon and helps Victorine capture the attention of the duke de Lyon, an adviser to Emperor Louis-Napoléon. The duke requests that Victorine become his mistress exclusively, and when she agrees, she must balance her feelings for Manet with her relationship to the duke and her rising notoriety. Finerman's juxtaposition of actual and fictional events and characters is far from seamless, and Victorine is too perfect to be believable. More attention to character and less to wardrobe would have lent needed depth. (July)
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Mademoiselle Victorine plunges the reader into the volatile mix of art and political intrigue in 1860s Paris through the fascinating person of Victorine Laurent, whose rapid, determined rise from dancer to courtesan of kings exposes the lives and passions of her time. Mademoiselle Victorine rides the Parisian whirlwind, taking the reader so deep into the heart of that glittering and dangerous era that putting the book down will not be an option.
- Pamela Aidan, author of An Assembly Such As This
“As vivid, bold, and seductive as a Manet painting…brings to life the tinseled, tawdry art world of Second Empire Paris.
- Eleanor Herman, author of Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge
“Finerman cleverly weaves her touching story, populated with colorful, artistic characters, through a period in the political and artistic history of France that is rich with drama.”
¯Susanne Dunlap, author of Emilie’s Voice and Liszt’s Kiss