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With Violets [Paperback]

Elizabeth Robards

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Book Description

Oct. 10 2008

Paris in the 1860s: a magnificent time of expression, where brilliant young artists rebel against the stodginess of the past to freely explore new styles of creating—and bold new ways of living.

Passionate, beautiful, and utterly devoted to her art, Berthe Morisot is determined to be recognized as an important painter. But as a woman, she finds herself sometimes overlooked in favor of her male counterparts—Monet, Pissarro, Degas.

And there is one great artist among them who captivates young Berthe like none other: the celebrated genius Édouard Manet. A mesmerizing, breathtaking rogue—a shameless roué, undeterred and irresistible—his life is a wildly overgrown garden of scandal. He becomes Berthe's mentor, her teacher...her lover, despite his curiously devoted marriage to his frumpy, unappealing wife, Suzanne, and his many rumored dalliances with his own models. For a headstrong young woman from a respectable family, an affair with such an intoxicating scoundrel can only spell heartbreak and ruin.

But Berthe refuses to resign herself to the life of quiet submission that Society has dictated for her. Undiscouraged, she will create her own destiny...and confront life—and love—on her own terms.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (Oct. 10 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061579122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061579127
  • Product Dimensions: 20.2 x 13.6 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #406,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

“With deft brush strokes, Elizabeth Robards creates a wonderfully vivid portrait of the Second Empire and the dawn of Impressionism.” (Tracy Grant, author of Beneath a Silent Moon)

“Set among the beauty and majesty of Paris at the height of its articits period, Robards’ novel weaves the story of passion and lust among the historical events. A masterpiece in itself, With Violets is a delightful novel.” (Times Record News (Wichita Falls, Texas))

About the Author

Award-winning author Elizabeth Robards formerly lived in France and has studied art and writing. She earned a degree in journalism only to realize reporting "just the facts" bored her silly. Much more content to report to her muse, Elizabeth has found Nirvana doing what she loves most—writing contemporary and historical women's fiction full time. She loves to travel—and when she can't, her imagination transports her all over the world.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating story paints an image of great love Jan. 27 2005
By Evelyn A. Sechler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Once I started reading WITH VIOLETS I could not put it down. Elizabeth Robards fascinates with a look into "what may have been" a great love story between master artist Edouard Manet and Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot.

While Morisot was a woman ahead of her time, with artistic passion, and the spirit to join Monet, Renoir, Cezanne and others as part of the Impressionist movement, history hints that she & Manet may have been more than fellow artists. Manet painted no other subject as often as Morisot, who served as a model for fourteen Manet portraits.

WITH VIOLETS begins with an engaging encounter between the two at the Louvre, and quickly draws you into the complexities of their love affair in 19th century Paris. The story embraces so many family members and friends that you not only feel the passion between Edouard and Berthe, but also the emotions of those witness to the attempt to veil the deep love that they cannot deny each other.

Vibrant language paints a story of passionate love between a married man, and a woman who seems willing to chance everything to be with him. Was Edouard's wife truly the former mistress of his father, and his loveless marriage only for reasons of family honor? Can Berthe risk her place among fellow artists, and bring shame upon the family who has encouraged her to buck convention and be the artist that she was born to be? Add in the intricacies of family, war and the Impressionist movement, and every page is riveting.

So much history is weaved into the love story that I found myself wanting to know more about the artists, and now look at their paintings with questions about what the eyes of the model and the strokes of the artist are telling me. While WITH VIOLETS is beautifully written historical fiction, the romantic in me wants to believe that Elizabeth Robards may be sharing a love story that truly was.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars author good; publisher should be embarrassed Oct. 16 2009
By lisatheratgirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This was a good story, especially for those who like historical fiction and are getting tired of Tudor England. The author did the research on Belle-Epoque Paris and the Impressionists. The characters came to life for me. I learned some things about the artists, particularly Manet and Morisot, and the history of the period that I didn't know. But Harper-Collins--you should be mortified to send copy to print like this! Typos on almost every page, wrong words inserted, punctuation omitted. Dates transposed so we have 1896 when it should be 1869! My boss would put us through a meat grinder if we sent such a mess to the printer! You have no excuse for such sloppiness and you hurt the author's credibility along with your own! Hire some copy editors!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing work of fiction Nov. 20 2004
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In 1868 in the Louvre, Berthe Morisot practices painting by copying the masters. Usually she is accompanied by her sister and her mother, but today she is alone except for her friend Rosalie Riesener. Another friend, Monsieur Fantin joins the two young women and introduces them to renowned artist Edouard Manet. He flirts with Berthe and even changes her drawing slightly though she lectures him for doing so.

Berthe is attracted to Edouard, but is horrified to learn her new admirer is married to pianist Suzanne. The budding female artist also meets Edouard's brother Eugene; soon the siblings compete for the affection of Berthe. Will she choose the single brother, the famous married brother, or neither brother?

WITH VIOLETS is an intriguing work of fiction that provides insight into an interesting late nineteenth century artist (Berthe that is) and her relationships with the Manet brothers. Berthe is the focus of the story line as she seems attracted to Edouard but ultimately marry Eugene. Did she love Edouard or was that hero worship? Genre fans will gain a taste for Left Bank Paris during the impressionist period as Elizabeth Robards paints a delightful portrait of an impressionist artist ahead of her times.

Harriet Klausner
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Book needs editing! Did anyone proofread it? Feb. 2 2009
By Voracious Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As I read With Violets, I felt as though I were reading an early version, only partially edited. Some chapters were fine, but in others, the grammar was so bad that it interfered with the story. I actually wrote to the author and publisher asking if I got a defective copy. This might have been a good book if they waited until it was ready to be published. You'll be tempted to take a red pen to it and send it back. I can't understand why Harper Collins would have released it like this.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressions March 21 2009
By S. Deeth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The cover of the paperback version of "With Violets" is bright and inviting with a white-dressed figure reclining off the edge of the page, holding violets in her hand. Something in the sharp-edged flowers or speckled grays on the dress is reminiscent of the era Robards is writing about, the time of the French impressionists, putting me in the right mood to read.

The book transports you to a very real depiction of Paris in the 1860s, introducing the reader to wonderful characters with complicated lives and loves, and inviting you to ponder fascinating mysteries of human relationships, history and art.

As evidence of how much I enjoyed the book, I found myself looking up the main character, Berthe Morisot, on the internet as soon as I finished reading. I found a painting by her of a woman in a white dress that matched the book's cover, and another painting, by Manet, of Morisot holding a bunch of violets. As I read the articles I felt like I was reading about real people who I'd already come to know through Robard's novel.

With Violets is written in the first person, giving it an immediacy that draws the reader quickly into the era. And Robards' language, right from the start, splashes the colors of impressionism onto the page. As Morisot becomes aware of Manet in the room behind her (on page 2), she describes "patterns of speech reverberating like a symphony of color... One timbre dark and rich as umber shadows. The other, vibrant as vermillion." It sounds completely natural in the context of a young woman with paintbrush in hand, and gives an immediate insight into the way the artist thinks and experiences the world.

Sometimes the switches in tense in the book startled me, but they soon became part of the flow -- a story told in vivid colors, unmixed, placed side by side like the paintings she describes. And just occasionally there were words or turns of phrase that seemed to miss the mark (but perhaps I'm too English). Touches of French, and French phrasing, are unobtrusively placed, and well-paced, giving background and flavor. And the world of Morisot and Manet is fleshed out beautifully with references to world events. I was fascinated to realize how little I had considered where the impressionists fitted into the timelines of revolution, war and politics.

At the end of the book, Avon gives a two-page "author insight," where Robards describes the awe and respect she holds for Morisot and Manet, which led her to sketch a love story of what might have been. I'd have to say, she's done a wonderful job, and I'll look forward to reading more by her. Meanwhile, if you're looking for more than your average romance, where relationships and the historical world are painted with breadth and depth, then I would certainly recommend you try "With Violets" by Elizabeth Robards.

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