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The Muse

by Jessie Burton
The book cover for The Muse by Jessie Burton

I will always have a place in my heart for the young and the fearless….

We follow two distinct time periods and characters which it soon becomes apparent are intimately entwined. The Muse starts in 1960s London and the arrival of Odelle Bastien to England and more importantly the Skelton Gallery. Odelle’s description of London is scarily spot on”…There’s the cold, the wet, the rent, the lack. But-I do try to live”. Odelle is such an interesting character; originally of Trinidadian descent she is so vibrant and so full of potential yet she doesn’t see it. Things for Odelle soon change under the tutelage of the mysterious Marjorie Quick and the arrival, at the gallery, of a lost masterpiece.

This is where the second timeline comes into play; Pre-civil War Spain and the paintings origin. In Spain we are witnessing the stage being set for War and a broken english family on an extended vacation. The young daughter of the family, Olive Schloss, is a aspiring artist and a witness of truth for her family. On describing her mother to Teresa “She’s a Depressive….Smiles in ballrooms and weeps in bedrooms”. Things slowly unravel for Family Schloss; accelerated by both family and political conflict and of course the masterpiece itself.

I loved how the author manages to switch between timelines seeminglessly and no momentum is lost as the books travels towards it close. The characters and the backdrops are so richly woven and believable and I will always have a place in my heart for the young and the fearless, both Olive and Odelle. If you haven’t then You must read this!

Posted on 4th November 2016 in