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Book Review: The Muse

February 12, 2019

Hi all! So, I am still crushing my New Year's Resolution! I was super excited to read this week's book! I love Jessie Burton; she's seriously an amazing writer! You can read all about why I picked this book here! I loved this book for so many reasons! Read on to find out why!

 

The Muse is a multiple point of view book following Odelle Bastien in London in the 1960's and Olive Schloss in Spain in the 1930's. The story begins in 1967 with Odelle, a woman from Trinidad, getting a job at the Skelton art gallery, where she meets the quirky Marjorie Quick. She works as a typist but dreams of being a writer. Things change when she meets Lawrie, a man with a very famous painting. The gallery is thrilled to have it, but Marjorie is not. 

 

The painting is thought to be painted by Issac Robles, a rare find. Confused by Marjorie's reaction Odelle begins to dig into the history of the painting, growing more confused when Marjorie claims the painting was not, in fact, painted by Issac Robles. 

 

Trying to find proof of Marjorie's theory, Odelle discovers that Marjorie is dying of cancer. Unfortunately, Marjorie passes before the gallery of Robles' paitnings opens. After discovering the truth, Odelle decides to keep quiet what she's learned. 

 

The sections of the novel that focus on Olive's point of view start with her family moving to Malaga, Spain in 1937. Her father, a prodigious art seller, and her mother a manic depressive, leave Olive mostly to her own devices. She meets Theresa and Issac Robles, who take over the care of their finca. The attractive Issac is commissioned by Sarah, Olive's mother, to make a painting of her and Olive. Unbeknownst to Olive's family, Olive is a magnificent painter. When Issac goes to show the family his painting, it's been switched for one of Olive's. Her father, Harold, is amazed, and decides to sell it to Peggy Gugenheim. Olive convinces Issac to claim it as his own so she can continue to paint and get her work out there. 

 

Shortly after, Olive and Issac begin an affair, and Olive continues to paint. But, the political unrest in the area soon puts their relationship under strain.

 

In a vicious turn of events, Issac is forced into hiding and his sister Theresa is tortured in the town square. Olive, needing to see Issac, convinces Theresa to tell him where he is. She goes to the hut he's hiding out in only to find him also having an affair with her mother, Sarah, and that Sarah, is pregnant. Sarah leaves, and Olive and Issac and shot by political agitators. Theresa goes to England with Sarah, while Harold goes to Paris.

 

 

I seriously loved this novel! It brought up so many interesting questions on art and the artist. It was a fascinating read! I loved getting to know both Odelle and Olive, and finally getting to the moment where their story finally converged. While it did leave me with some questions at the end, I was still completely satisfied with the ending!

 

I really loved that I wasn't able to guess the ending! I've read enough books that I can usually guess how a book will end; but not this one! The last four chapter or so threw me for a real loop! I love when I never see the ending coming!

 

Plus, Burton's style is just linguistically beautiful. Her writing just flows! I highly recommend picking up her other novel, The Miniaturist! It is just as amazing as The Muse! You will not be disappointed with either!

 

I'm giving this book an enthusiastic 5 out of 5!

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