Title: The Painted Girls
Author: Cathy Marie Buchanan
Source: Bought used
The book is set in Paris in 1878. The Van Goethem are dealing with the sudden death of their father and trying to get their lives in order. The girls find out that they are behind on the rent and are close to being evicted. The money their mother earns is disappearing as she spends her earnings on absinthe. The oldest girl, Antoinette finds work as a stage extra for the stage adaptation of L’Assommoir while Marie, the middle girl finds work at the Paris Opera where she will be trained to enter the famous ballet.
Antoinette is struggling to hold the family together. She cares for Marie and Charlotte and attempts to keep their home. As she works as an extra she meets a dangerous boy named Emile Abadie. Antoinette is not a likable character for the majority of this novel. She can be very selfish and she get herself into dangerous situations. The story of Emile Abadie is a true story which added a lot of intrigue to this story. The story of Marie Van Goethem is also a true story. The author used the known facts she could find about her and used it in her story. She decide to mix the story of Marie and Emile. The story of Marie is also very fascinating. She starts off as this very shy, quiet girl but as the story progresses she becomes more bold and takes more risks. I enjoyed the historical aspects that were included in this story, the story was very detailed and well researched.
The plot has a lot of twist and turns but the pace of this entire novel is quite slow. It took me longer than I thought it would to read this, there was lots of information and names to process. I also did some research after reading this to find out more information about the characters. The story is told though the eyes of Marie and Antoinette, alternating each chapter to provide the reader with a look at Marie's life as she starts her training with the ballet while Antoinette is working and falling in love with Emile. The ending of this novel did not suite the rest of it. It felt like throughout the novel they struggled and worked as hard as they could to scrape a life out for themselves but the ending brought everything together a little to nicely. Overall this was a very good historical novel and I quite enjoyed starting my year off reading it.