The Muse: A Novel by Jessie Burton (Epub)


Ebook Info

  • Published: 2017
  • Number of pages: 416 pages
  • Format: Epub
  • File Size: 2.42 MB
  • Authors: Jessie Burton


On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harboring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . . .

Seductive, exhilarating and suspenseful, The Muse is an unforgettable novel about aspiration and identity, love and obsession, authenticity and deception – a masterpiece from Jessie Burton, the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist.

User’s Reviews

Review “A complex, vividly drawn tale… The intricate way in which Burton pulls the two plots together is unexpected and impressive, a most original story about creative freedom, finding one’s voice, and the quest for artistic redemption.” — Publishers Weekly“[A] smart blend of literary and commercial fiction with intriguing characters and a compelling mystery at its center… Burton creatively infuses historical fiction with mystery in her exploration of the far-reaching consequences of deception, the relationship between art and artist, and the complex trajectory of women’s desires. — Booklist“A simmering historical love story” — Glamour UK“Like its predecessor, this is a tale with a refreshingly feminist slant, interested in the slipperiness of meaning” — Daily Mail (UK)“[A] rich palette of ideas and emotions… The novel excellently explores the writing process itself.” — Independent (UK)The Muse is a brilliantly realised story, and the parallel narratives are perfectly balanced, propelling the story forward at break-neck speed… Jessie Burton can expect more awards to soon be coming her way. — Sunday Herald, Scotland“If you read and loved The Miniaturist, Burton’s enchanting bestseller set in 17th-century Amsterdam, The Muse arrives just in time for the end of summer… Love, war, desire, and art―it’s all here.” — Elle“The Muse… asks us to pay close attention, given the unexpected paths that wander variously through time, race, global politics and art history…[A] well crafted tale that draws you in, and in the end, respects you as a reader.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune“Jessie Burton meticulously reconstructs two different worlds… and ruminates on the nature of truth in art.. Told with remarkable care and evident research… A serpentine tale about art, truth and artistic ambition… [A] beautifully constructed story of art, ambition and the sacrifices one makes in the pursuit of both.” —

Reviews from Amazon users, collected at the time the book is getting published on UniedVRG. It can be related to shiping or paper quality instead of the book content:

⭐ A stunning book, fascinating page-turner. Literary brilliance disguised as a rollicking beach read. Easily the BEST novel I’ve read in a decade. The mysteries, the characters, the perfectly articulated settings. Jesse Burton’s language is exquisite – never too much, yet lush with unique turns of phrase. She masters dialect without seeming condescending, and juggles two separate timelines without a bobble. Wonderful insights into the creative process, the challenge of producing new work in the face of fame, and the emotional toll of sacrificing recognition of the self for recognition of the work. I am such a fan!

⭐ I’m a tough critic. So it’s saying something that I liked this book. The writing is good, a definite plus. The characters were good without being overdrawn. They are quirky, interesting people, one of the two main characters trying to subvert the bias against female painters. It took me a few chapters to get to the “I have to know what’s going to happen” stage, but I would definitely recommend this book for the story, the characters, and what it has to say. I just wish writers of literary novels would NOT spend the last ten pages tying up all the loose ends. Tie things up with elegant brevity

⭐ Even though The Muse has one literary element that has gone stale for me ( a then-and-now construct where a young current-day character unravels a mystery revealed from the past), I found this to be a good read. Burton’s characters, although flawed, are likeable and believable. The setting of pre-revolutionary Spain seen through the eyes of a female artist is intriguing; however, the narrative of modern-day Odelle’s insecurities and triumphs seems to lack the detail and vitality of 1930s Olive and Teresa. Although not as mesmerizing as Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch,” “The Muse” is worth reading.

⭐ A jumble or juggling of famil history told through the experience/curiosity of an unrelated young Afro-Carribean woman in London 1967. Dealing with racial barriers of the time, creative identity as a writer, work at a prestigious museum brings her into a mystery that tangles the Spanish civil war, art dealing, a painting with uncertain provenance and authorship. The act of making art and whether it is fed or suffocated by love, ego, public value deftly explored.

⭐ From the blurb:England, 1967. Odelle Bastien is a Caribbean émigré trying to make her way in London. When she starts working at the prestigious Skelton Institute of Art, she discovers a painting rumored to be the work of Isaac Robles, a young artist of immense talent and vision whose mysterious death has confounded the art world for decades. The excitement over the painting is matched by the intrigue around the conflicting stories of its discovery. Drawn into a complex web of secrets and deceptions, Odelle does not know what to believe or who she can trust, including her mesmerizing colleague, Marjorie Quick.Spain, 1936. Olive Schloss, the daughter of a Viennese Jewish art dealer and an English heiress, follows her parents to Arazuelo, a poor, restless village on the southern coast. She grows close to Teresa, a young housekeeper, and Teresa’s half-brother, Isaac Robles, an idealistic and ambitious painter newly returned from the Barcelona salons. A dilettante buoyed by the revolutionary fervor that will soon erupt into civil war, Isaac dreams of being a painter as famous as his countryman Picasso.Raised in poverty, these illegitimate children of the local landowner revel in exploiting the wealthy Anglo-Austrians. Insinuating themselves into the Schloss family’s lives, Teresa and Isaac help Olive conceal her artistic talents with devastating consequences that will echo into the decades to come.Rendered in exquisite detail, The Muse is a passionate and enthralling tale of desire, ambition, and the ways in which the tides of history inevitably shape and define our lives.———————————————————–This book was so boring, so drawn out, and so full of the Spanish Civil War it really ruined it for me. The pieces fit together, but very oddly.Carribean girl, Odelle Bastien, 26, came to London from the Port of Spain (Trinadad) with her bff and roommate, Cynthia Morley, 5 years ago. They worked together in a shoe store until Odelle got a letter from The Skelton Institute of Fine Art offering her a typing position on a trial basis. She’s thrilled to be working in an art gallery.Margaret Quick, 50’s, is her boss. Very glamorous and different. Edmund Reede, 60’s, is the director. Pamela Minamore, 21, is the receptionist who becomes a friend.After her bff’s wedding, Odelle meets Lawrie Scott, a university drop-out, who shows her an unusual painting – the only thing his mother left him after her suicide 2 weeks ago. He later beings it by the Skelton to have it appraised. Quick flips out the minute she sees it and runs away in the pouring rain.There’s a backstory set in Malaga, Spain, in the mid-1930’s with a visiting family, the mother, Sarah Schloss, a beautiful Englishwoman and condiment heiress suffering from mental illness, likely bipolar, the absent father, Harold Schloss, a Jew from Vienna, and an art dealer, and their 19-year-old artistic daughter, Olive Schloss, who keeps her paintings private, especially from her father who doesn’t believe women can be great artists. Olive also writes poetry.They are quickly greeted by neighbors, Teresa Robles, 16, who becomes their maid, and her brother, Isaac Robles, 26, who’s a rebel and believes himself to be an artist; however, it’s been Olive’s paintings that have been receiving high praise and acclaim, much to his embarrassment. Her father has unknowingly been selling them to Peggy Guggenheim in London as Isaac’s paintings.During the Spanish Civil War, some terrible things happen, all of which I didn’t care about, then the family finally decides to leave. The girls go to London. Harold goes to Paris.In the 1967 saga, they’re trying to ascertain provenance of the painting Lawrie claims his mother has always owned. There’s a good twist and then a possible twist. Not everything is made clear.I didn’t like the storyline, didn’t understand why the girl from the Carribean was part of the story. It was all just weird. I loved The Miniaturist by this author, but didn’t like this one, except for the cover.

⭐ I’m not eloquent enough to write a review that expresses how good this book it, how good the writing is. This is the most I’ve enjoyed a book in years. The struggles these women go through is so beautifully conveyed. I was completely enraptured and couldn’t pull away. Their personalities are so different as well as their loves and struggles I’m sure every woman will identify with one of them if not a bit of all them. Yet I can’t imagine the difficulty of the times this is set. Such a breathtakingly beautiful read that I’m certain I will read again one day.

⭐ Here’s a delicious combination — historical fiction set during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s interwoven with a surprisingly well-crafted mystery. I simply inhaled THE MUSE. Awarded four stars on Goodreads, but 4.5 is probably more accurate.As a fan of her previous novel, The Miniaturist, I looked forward to picking up Jessie Burton’s THE MUSE. And I wasn’t disappointed. This historical novel takes place in two time periods — the late 1930s and the late 1960s. What ties the two together is a painting.1936: A family of wealthy Austrian ex-pats (Harold, Sarah, and daughter Olive Schloss), living in Spain, meet a brother and sister (Isaac and Teresa Robles) who are sympathetic to the left-leaning forces struggling to change the country’s right-wing government. Isaac is an amateur artist and Teresa a teenager. In need of money to live, the two are hired by the Schloss family to cook, clean, and do odd jobs. Only their involvement with the Schlosses expands quickly.1967: Trinidad born Odelle Bastien, a fledgling writer/poet, is thrilled when she lands an entry level job at an art gallery in London. Even better, one of her bosses, Marjorie Quick, seems to take a shine to Odelle. But it turns out there may be an ulterior motive in Quick’s interest. Odell also meets an attractive young man who has inherited a painting from his recently deceased mother. And what could be more natural than asking the experts at Odelle’s gallery for help in assessing its value?I won’t divulge more about the plot, except you should expect romance, infidelity, betrayals, family secrets, and unexpected violence to touch all these lives. And while you try throughout to figure out how the story will be resolved, you’ll be proved wrong again and again, until you arrive at the surprising end. VERY highly recommended.

⭐ I did not expect many of the situations presented in this gripping drama set during the Spanish Civil War and present day England. The story moves back and forth wending it’s way to finally knitting the characters lives together in an unexpected finale’s piece de resistance.

⭐ Love this author and her ability to show the strengths and weaknesses of each character. By weaving two stories together, separated by time, it feels a little like time travel….my favorite genre of books. A little slow to start, but then I could not put it down . A mystery, a drama, and a history lesson…all in all a terrific read!

⭐ I really liked this book. The two storylines converge at the end for a surprise. I love lots of detail in books, to try to visualize the specific time period, and this book provides a lot of that. The characters are interesting, and you can make a connection with them. I did not want to put it down!


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