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The Painted Girls Paperback – Deckle Edge, Dec 25 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; 1st Edition edition (Dec 25 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1443412341
  • ISBN-13: 978-1443412346
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

Sketched in rich detail and teeming with suspense. The Painted Girls is hard to put down. (The Globe and Mail)

Buchanan weaves real and fictional characters and their stories to create a rich stew of drunkards, deceivers and ne’er-do-wells, seasoned by the occasional soft-hearted soul, who change the lives of the sisters. (Toronto Star)

The reader is completely absorbed in the struggle of Marie to rise above her circumstances. . . . [A] convincing, heartfelt story. (National Post)

History, coming of age and the art of Degas’s beloved dancers are woven together in this enchanting novel. Utterly captivating. (Vincent Lam, author of The Headmaster's Wager and Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures)

You will be swept away by The Painted Girls. Wonderfully imagined and masterfully rendered . . . [it] will change the way you see the world of ballet, art and the lives it portrays. (Shilpi Somaya Gowda, New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Secret Daughter)

“Buchanan paints the girls who spring from the page as vibrantly as a dancer’s leap across a stage. . . . A captivating story of fate, tarnished ambition and the ultimate triumph of sister-love.” (Washington Post)

“Based on historical figures and incidents, this novel of family, romance, degradation, and fulfillment delivers great atmosphere and fully-realized characters.” (Boston Globe)

“Richly imagined. . . . Amid the glamour of tutus and art emerges a surprisingly gritty story of survival in the gutters of Belle Époque Paris.” (Entertainment Weekly)

“Belle époque Paris springs to life under the sure hand of Cathy Marie Buchanan. . . . In this book I found a lovely braiding of the real and invented, a seductive world I did not want to leave.” (NPR)

“Buchanan achieves all that historical fiction asks for in The Painted Girls.” (Vancouver Sun)

“Buchanan’s prose is as haunting as it is elegant.” (Harper's Bazaar)

“Two impoverished sisters in Belle Époque Paris enter the world of the ballet (Degas) and theater (Zola) but also face temptations that can lure young women in the demimonde.” (USA Today)

“In The Painted Girls, a carefully researched, deeply imagined historical novel . . . the Belle Époque comes to vibrant, often aching life.” (Chicago Tribune)

“A dark valentine to Belle Époque Paris.” (Vogue)

“As two sisters’ paths converge and spiral out of control, Buchanan powerfully . . . depicts their efforts to navigate the slippery ethical terrain facing them in an era when a young woman’s most lucrative asset was her body.” (Bust Magazine)

“There’s no doubting or denying that Buchanan is a writer, born and made-a masterful narrator who can start with historical people and places and overlay them with powerful stories from her imagination.” (Costco Connection)

“A realistically robust portrait of working-class life in late nineteenth-century Paris. Guaranteed to appeal to fans of Tracy Chevalier, Susan Vreeland, and Melanie Benjamin.” (Booklist)

“The struggle of three sisters in 19th-century Paris blossoms into the rich history of Marie van Goethem, model for Edgar Degas’s controversial statue, Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen . . . Buchanan captures their story in this engrossing depiction of belle époque Paris.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Buchanan does a masterful job of interweaving historical figures into her plot, but it is the moving yet unsentimental portrait of family love, of two sisters struggling to survive with dignity, that makes this a must-read.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Fascinating. . . . Meticulously researched.” (Quill & Quire)

“In this compelling tale, we meet fictionalised Marie Van Goethem (one of the young dancers who posed for Degas) and her sister, whose journeys out of the Paris slums evoke the light and dark of the Belle Époque.” (Good Housekeeping)

“[Buchanan] treats her girls with far greater care than do their contemporaries, seeing worth in them despite their misjudgments and calamities.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“We know some, but not all, details of Marie’s life. To provide a full story, those details have been vividly and believably embroidered by Toronto author Cathy Marie Buchanan in a gritty and compelling new novel titled The Painted Girls.” (Ottawa Citizen)

“History, coming of age and the art of Degas’s beloved dancers are woven together in this enchanting novel. Utterly captivating.” (Vincent Lam, author of The Headmaster's Wager and Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures)

“You will be swept away by The Painted Girls. Wonderfully imagined and masterfully rendered . . . [it] will change the way you see the world of ballet, art and the lives it portrays.” (Shilpi Somaya Gowda, New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Secret Daughter and The Golden Son)

“Buchanan writes masterfully about the hard life of two sisters in 19th-century Paris. . . . A wonderful tale, beautifully told.” (Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plans)

“Part mystery, part love story, The Painted Girls breathes heart and soul into a fascinating era of the City of Lights. One can’t help but be drawn in by this compelling and lyrical tale of sister love and rivalry.” (Heidi W. Durrow, author of The Girl Who Fell from the Sky)

“Historical fiction at its finest. . . . Buchanan also explores the uneasy relationship between artist and muse with both compassion and soul-searing honesty.” (Melanie Benjamin, author of Alice I Have Been and The Aviator's Wife)

“Sisters, dance, art, ambition, and intrigue in late 1800s Paris. The Painted Girls offers the best of historical fiction: compelling characters brought backstage at l’Opera and front and center in Degas’ studio. This one has “book club favorite” written all over it.” (Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters)

“Beautiful and haunting. From the first page, I was swept up and enchanted.” (Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot)

About the Author

CATHY MARIE BUCHANAN is the author of The Day the Falls Stood Still, a New York Times bestseller, a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection and one of the Canada Reads Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade. She holds a B.Sc. (Honours, Biochemistry) and an MBA from Western University. Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario, she now resides in Toronto.

WEB: CATHYMARIEBUCHANAN.COM

TWITTER: @CATHYMBUCHANAN


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, the cover/design is lovely. Perfect gift material. I enjoyed Ms Buchanan's first book, The Day the Falls Stood still so I eagerly read this new one.

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan is a richly detailed story portraying the dark netherworld behind the pretty tutus in Edgar Degas’ paintings. The story seamlessly shifts between the perspectives of the two van Goethem sisters, Antoinette and Marie (Degas’ muse for Little Dancer Aged Fourteen). Reading it, I fell completely into Paris, 1879, and the world of the “petit rats” struggling to elevate their lives through the arduous and elevated work of ballet. Heartbreaking, lyrical, beautiful and a very satisfying read.
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Format: Paperback
I have to confess that initially this book held no appeal for me (aside from the beautiful cover). I don’t have much interest in Paris or the ballet but it is so well written that I was engaged from the beginning. I found myself thinking and worrying about the characters throughout the day and I couldn’t wait until the evening when I would have time to read again. Whether you know Paris or not, you will be amazed at how well researched this book is. Cathy has clearly done her homework and the details of Paris and the Opera bring the story to life. Get a copy of this book and prepare to escape to the Belle Epoque.
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Format: Paperback
Ms. Buchanan's meticulous research lets you quickly slip into late 1800's Paris. Life in the city is grubby and dangerous with rare glimpses of beauty. The ballet world is less than glamorous when seen through the eyes of the young girl who models for Edgar Degas . Her story of family, survival and a love of dance will make you want to scan through images of the Little Dancer aged Fourteen to see if you can catch the look of determination in her features that must have inspired the author. A lovely story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The lives of the three van Goethem sisters are about to change drastically, when their father dies. There is Antoinette aged 17, Marie almost 14 and Charlotte aged 7. Without their father's wages and with only the small amount of money that their mother earns as a laundress, who has an addiction to Absinthe, they are behind in their rent. They will certainly be evicted if they don't find a way of coming up with the money.

It is Paris in the 19th century on the rue de Douai, the poorest street in all of Paris, where the van Goethems live in a lodging. The two main characters in this story are Antoinette and Marie. They take turns in telling their stories.

Antoinette has been just dismissed from Ballet classes at the Paris Opera for arguing with the dance Director and told never to return. Antoinette takes over as mother to her sisters. The sisters are uneducated, poor and too young to get jobs. Their mother stands up and tells Antoinette to take her sisters, Marie and Charlotte, to the Opera Ballet Dance School to be trained to enter the famous Ballet. That is their only chance of making some money and getting out of their situation. They are accepted into the school.

In the meantime, Antoinette gets herself a small walk-on part in a play, which has been adapted from Emile Zola's masterpiece L'Assommoir. She will be playing an ignorant and poverty stricken laundress with a few words. Zola's novel is about poverty in the working-class Paris among the common and ignorant people sweating it out as laundresses etc. The Heroine in this story is named Gervaise and the story tells of her decline into destitution, alcoholism and death. Antoinette meets up with a bushy-haired man named Emile, who also has a small part in the play.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Painted Girls is Cathy Marie Buchanan's second novel and like her first, it was a read I couldn't stop but I was sad when I knew it was coming to an end! This story takes place in the 1880's in Paris, and is about 3 young sisters who basically take care of each other during some very difficult and dangerous times, when they are forced to make decisions which will affect their lives forever. Their love and loyalty to one another helps to guide them and the author makes you feel this, right from the start. Historical fiction is my favourite type of writing and in The Painted Girls, the author creates a story of mystery in amongst my learning of the Paris opera and the artists of this time, including the famous painter and sculpture Edgar Degas.

I would highly recommend this novel about love, determination and loyalty. I can hardly wait for Cathy's next book! - read less
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Format: Kindle Edition
I loved this book. I found myself completely drawn into the book to the point where I couldn't put it down, much to the chagrin of my family. Buchanan describes the setting, time period in such vivid detail I felt transported to belle epoque Paris! The book has so many wonderful themes for discussion-poverty, family ties/strife, survival, culture of the time period (art, dance). I highly recommend this book, especially for book clubs or any lover of historical fiction.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really liked it but felt that the author never quite fully explored the characters -- it could have been so much better
The plot was great, but there was much color that could have been added to this book -- I only felt it scratched the surface of its possibility
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