Author: Anne Girard
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Published by Harlequin MIRA
Formats: eBook, Paperback, 432 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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About the book
The mesmerizing and untold story of Eva Gouel, the unforgettable woman who stole the heart of the greatest artist of our time.
When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world.
A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can't help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves into what will become the first great love of Picasso's life.
With sparkling insight and passion, Madame Picasso introduces us to a dazzling heroine, taking us from the salon of Gertrude Stein to the glamorous Moulin Rouge and inside the studio and heart of one of the most enigmatic and iconic artists of the twentieth century.
A consuming and intense read, as it can be expected from a novel based on the love life of the most extraordinary artist of the 20th century: Pablo Picasso.
Founder of the avant-garde artistic movement known as Cubism, the Andalusian painter depicted reality from a multiplicity of viewpoints: he chose a subject, he analyzed it, dissected it, and reproduced it on canvas in the abstract form of simultaneous perspectives. Art critic John Berger identified the essence of Cubism in these words -- "The metaphorical model of Cubism is the diagram: the diagram being a visible symbolic representation of invisible processes, forces, structures." Picasso's life, moods, sensuality, obsessions, ideological questions are symbolized in his art, but they are hidden in the allegorical and distorting mirror of broken images.
In those invisible aspects of reality, in those hidden patterns of the artist's life, Anne Girard found the narrative power source for her novel, Madame Picasso. The story's concern with the untold truths about Picasso's inspirational muse and lover, Eva Gouel, is heartfelt and soul-stirring: it shows in Girard's atmospheric and moving prose, in her evocative and visually accurate descriptions, in the narrative framework that is as historically sound as it is imaginatively vivid.
Picasso was famed for honing his lover skills on a copious number of women: the frantic and ambivalent nature of his artwork extended to other areas of his life, bringing the alluring quality of his brooding sensuality from the canvas to his personal affairs. Girard's historical novel immortalizes the avant-garde artist in a turn-of-the-century Paris (1911-1914), when his stardom was on a consistent rise and his love life was on a turbulent path with married and statuesque Fernande Olivier. A fortuitous encounter with Moulin Rouge costumer, Eva Gouel, left an indelible mark on the existence and artistic inspiration of the bohemian painter and sculptor. Strangely enough, Eva became the subject of several Picasso's Cubist works, but among his classically sketched portraits there is no trace of her. What the author argues with the lush and shimmering strokes of her pen, is that the innocent and petit country girl with massive blue eyes, auburn hair, fiery and independent heart, might just have been the biggest love of his life, and that Picasso's devotion and desire to protect her, through their most incandescent love trysts as well as during the darkest hours of her life, are concealed behind his enigmatic creations.
The seductive and intellectually pulsing environment complementing the love story is portrayed with a plethora of historical references to the remnants of La Belle Epoque (the bohemian poets, the literary salons, Guillaume Apollinaire, Max Jacob, Gertrude Stein, Alice Toklas, the Salon des Independants, the Moulin Rouge) that beautifully enhance the unrestrained and sweeping nature of Eva and Picasso's relationship.
"For many of us, conformity is impossible."
***Review copy graciously offered by the Publicist in exchange for an unbiased and honest opinion.
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Praise for Madame Picasso
"Early twentieth century Paris and Picasso's lost love come to enchanted, vivid life in Madame Picasso. With a deft eye for detail and deep understanding for her protagonists, Anne Girard captures the earnest young woman who enthralled the famous artist and became his unsung muse." - C.W. Gortner, bestselling author of THE QUEEN'S VOW
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About the Author
Anne Girard was born with writing in her blood. The daughter of a hard-driving Chicago newsman, she has always had the same passion for storytelling that fueled his lifelong career. She hand-wrote her first novel (admittedly, not a very good one) at the age of fourteen, and never stopped imagining characters and their stories. Writing only ever took a backseat to her love of reading.
After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature from UCLA and a Master's degree in psychology from Pepperdine University, a chance meeting with the acclaimed author, Irving Stone, sharply focused her ambition onto telling great stories from history with detailed research. "Live where your characters lived, see the things they saw," he said, "only then can you truly bring them to life for your readers." Anne took that advice to heart. After Stone's encouragement twenty years ago, she sold her first novel. When she is not traveling the world researching her stories, Anne and her family make their home in Southern California. When she is not traveling or writing, she is reading fiction.
Anne also writes historical fiction under the name Diane Haeger. For more information, visit www.dianehaeger.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Madame Picasso Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, August 26
Review at Historical Fiction Notebook
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 27
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Notebook
Thursday, August 28
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Review & Giveaway at Kinx's Book Nook
Friday, August 29
Review at Scandalous Women
Review at Curling Up by the Fire
Monday, September 1
Review at A Bookish Affair
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, September 2
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, September 3
Review at Gobs and Gobs of Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing
Thursday, September 4
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden's Court
Friday, September 5
Review at To Read or Not to Read
Monday, September 8
Review at Book of Secrets
Review & Giveaway at Mina's Bookshelf
Tuesday, September 9
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, September 10
Review at Books in the Burbs
Thursday, September 11
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, September 12
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Review at The Book Binder's Daughter
Monday, September 15
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Carole's Ramblings
Tuesday, September 16
Review at She is Too Fond of Books
Wednesday, September 17
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, September 18
Review at One Book of a Time
Friday, September 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Monday, September 22
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, September 23
Review at The Librarian Fatale
Wednesday, September 24
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Thursday, September 25
Review at Kincavel Korner
Friday, September 26
Interview at Kincavel Korner