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The Painted Girls: A Novel
by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Published: 2013-01-10
Kindle Edition : 368 pages
24 members reading this now
37 clubs reading this now
9 members have read this book
A heartrending, gripping novel about two sisters in Belle Époque Paris.

1878 Paris. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, ...
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Introduction

A heartrending, gripping novel about two sisters in Belle Époque Paris.

1878 Paris. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.

Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modeling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. There she meets a wealthy male patron of the ballet, but might the assistance he offers come with strings attached? Meanwhile Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Émile Abadie, must choose between honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde. 

Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.” In the end, each will come to realize that her salvation, if not survival, lies with the other.

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Invite the author to Skype
by retiredreaderNE (see profile) 06/14/14
Our book group enjoyed a wonderful Skype session with Cathy Marie Buchanan. She is delightful and shared so much with us. For authors who are willing to spend time with fans, I intend to support their books.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
  "Pleasant diversion"by zodejodie4 (see profile) 01/18/15

3.5 stars - I really enjoyed the art & ballet references. The story is also beautifully & well written. It was well worth spending time in this world for a little while. I enjoyed this imagined tale of... (read more)

 
  "Painted Girls"by witchy1 (see profile) 11/14/14

Insightful story of what life is like in the world of ballet ~ probably somewhat true even today!

 
  "Moving Story of Young Dancer"by marialuby (see profile) 10/09/14

I really enjoyed this book as I really connected to the main character's story despite how tragic it was. I also found the book very informative and interesting. It was nice to learn about the ballet... (read more)

 
by alimiller (see profile) 06/19/14

 
  "Great Discussion"by retiredreaderNE (see profile) 06/14/14

While we all agreed that "The Painted Girls" deals with a dark topic, we really liked the book. The discussion ranged from Degas' art to the dismal treatment of young women to the brutal world of the... (read more)

 
  "The Painted Girls is OK"by lizblair (see profile) 04/26/14

Not being a dancer or someone who appreciates art, this book still managed to hold my interest.

 
  "The Ballet world of Paris"by msegrue (see profile) 10/01/13

Great read to understand Paris in the late 1800"s. it is historical Fiction that clearly is very authenitc. Great follow up read after reading Paris, by Edward Ruther ford, a few months earlier.

 
  "Historical Fiction in Paris"by lollygil (see profile) 06/03/13

The book was interesting and moved along well. Our book club spent our meeting in deep discussion, however we all felt the abrupt ending left alot out. We felt the ending was rushed.

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