I received a free copy for my honest review.
About the Book:
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
A mesmerizing tale of art and passion in Belle Époque France.
As a woman, aspiring sculptor Camille Claudel has plenty of critics, especially her ultra-traditional mother. But when Auguste Rodin makes Camille his apprentice—and his muse—their passion inspires groundbreaking works. Yet, Camille’s success is overshadowed by her lover’s rising star, and her obsessions cross the line into madness.
Rodin’s Lover brings to life the volatile love affair between one of the era’s greatest artists and a woman entwined in a tragic dilemma she cannot escape.
About the Author:
Heather Webb grew up a military brat and naturally became obsessed with travel, culture, and languages. She put her degrees to good use teaching high school French for nearly a decade before turning to full time novel writing and freelance editing. Her debut, BECOMING JOSEPHINE, released January 2014 from Plume/Penguin. Her forthcoming novel, RODIN’S LOVER, will release in winter of 2015.
When not writing, Heather flexes her foodie skills or looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world.
I went into this novel not knowing anything at all about Camille Claudel. My passion for art tends to pieces earlier in history. I was fortunate enough to visit the Rodin Museum when I visited Paris but cannot recall anything about Ms. Claudel’s art- it was a long time ago. That being written I did find this tale fascinating. She was obviously very talented in a time when women were supposed to do nothing more than marry and have a family. She fought against this tradition to pursue her art and fortunately had a bit of support from her father. Her mother seems to have not cared for her at all – at least as how she is portrayed in this book.
The story is shared by Camille and Auguste Rodin yet he comes off far more sympathetically. He of course, came down through history far more well known – I’m sure most people with even limited knowledge of art will know something of Rodin, if only of The Thinker. I wanted to know more about Camille – and perhaps the source material was just limited, I don’t know. She did suffer from a mental illness and according from the author’s note historians are unsure as to what exactly it was – schizophrenia or bipolar disease.
I found the portrayal of that aspect of Camille to be well done. She was presented with wild mood swings and an inability to truly connect and make friends. This made her a very unsympathetic character at times. Rodin comes off almost angelic in comparison. I doubt either character was as bad or as good as portrayed. I felt a little left down with the end of the book. It didn’t cover all that much of Camille’s later life. I think it would have interesting to know how she her disintegrating mental health impacted her work. I’m off to the google! All in all though it was a book I enjoyed and I’ll look forward to the next read from Heather Webb
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