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The Painted Girls

Cover: 'The Painted Girls'

Staff Review: "The Painted Girls" by Cathy Marie Buchanan


Set in 1878 Paris, this book tells the story of the van Goethem sisters as they struggle to survive extreme poverty following the death of their father and the descent of their mother into severe alcoholism. Antoinette loses her place on the opera stage and must find a way to help her family survive. Marie, with encouragement from Antoinette, takes her place on the opera stage and finds additional employment as a model for the artist Edgar Degas. The sisters' lives intertwine with those of the people around them with some frightening consequences. Each must make her own way in order to survive, but their separate paths threaten to tear their bond apart. Can they survive the circumstances that life hands them?

This fictional work is based on the lives of real people including Edgar Degas and the van Goethem sisters. Buchanan took the facts that were known about their lives and filled in the gaps. 

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

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