Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet - Stephanie Cowell NO SPOILERS

Finished: This book has the momentum of a huge wave. It builds slowly but by the end it crashes down on the shore with a tremendous thunder that shakes you. I did not think the beginning very well prtrayed the relationship between Claude and Camille, but as you follow the story an understnading of their life, their troubles, their sorrows and their advances become real. At the end the tragedy of their life comes crashing down on you. At the beginning I was not entralled by the author's prose, but by the end I felt I had learned so very much about Claude and Camille, about their life and about who they were inside the skin and bones. I had no idea this this was the story of the person who had created the water lilies that I love so much. Anybody who is curious to know why Monet was almost obsessed with painting water lilies should read this book. The book offers a possible answer. The historical events of the times are also woven into the story. You get history - the Prussian French War of 1870, the growth of the Impressionist movement - an intimate knowledge of the lives and struggles of these artists and an understanding of Claude and Camille's love and life. If you are crazy about Monet's water lilies then you must read this book. I am prettyy darned sure you will be surprised at what you find out. There is an author's note at the end, but nevertheless I do end up with some unanswered questions.... of which one is REALLY bothering me! Due to that question not being answered I am giving this book three rather than four stars. There should have been pictures in the book! Although I loved the artists' quotes beginning each chapter, they should have been intertwined into the story. Thank you Laura for sending the book to me. I am very glad I read it!!! Every time I look at one of Monet's paintings I wil appreciate it even more than I had before.

OK, I have only just begun: I have only read 25 pages. It is easy reading. Each chapter is dated. You SEE what Monet sees as he looks out at the Normandy landscapes after quickly discarding caricatures, the art form so popular in Paris of the 1860s. There are family disputes, and maybe he will be inducted into the French army stationed in Algiers. Wow, what timing for me! I just finished The Lovers of Algeria: A Novel. I don't know, maybe he will not go there, but his father and aunt have no intention of paying to avoid this. And Monet has no intention of working in his fathers nautical shop. Ha, as usual, a little blackmail is often common in such happy families. Or shall we politely call it "methods of persuasion"?! Studying in Paris, he has already met the other young painters of the day - Renoir, Cezanne, Manet and Pissaro too. Chapters begin with delightful quotes of these artists. Renoir has said: "When I've painted a woman's bottom so that I want to touch it, then the painting is finished." (page 19)

I really do want to read this book! I have received it as a passport book from Laura. After reading it , I will send it to Virginie. Thank you Laura!!!